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Short film: The Ballad of the M4 Carbine


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Andrew Price writes:

It's always been a dream of mine to create an animated short, and with this year's Blender film festival close by I couldn't think of a better time.

The M4 Carbine has been the weapon of choice for US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001, and is still used today. The meaning of the film is open to interpretation, but I've always found an interest with the war in the middle east and our involvement with it. I wanted the film to be politically evocative, yet aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to watch.

[...] as a bonus for being a Blender Guru reader, I'm giving you the M4 Carbine model free. This includes all materials, textures, node setups, bullet shells, muzzle flashes, tracers and smoke effects from the short.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. The M4 model itself looks amazing, I really love the chaos as the target sheet is being peppered. I wasn't sure of the significance of the Union Jack as we brits use the Enfield SA80. But anyway nice little movie there. Good job.

  2. I guess a rocket launcher finally was out of the question because of the title.
    Great job!

    I assume the prompt is to calm the anti-gun trolls.

  3. I am just not sure if a weapon is something to be proud of, but even so your short is was pretty well done. I liked the camera angles and all the post productions that you've done.
    Congratulations. It looks awesome.

  4. Nice short! Unique theme. Only thing I didnt like were the tracers :( you should have made them light the target on fire :)

    Ignore the banter of the ignorant and the fearful.

  5. i thought the most shocking thing about it was "made in israel". are m4's really made in israel? now THAT'S provocative when it comes to the us's adventures in the middle east. but if they are NOT made in israel... i would say this is a highly problematic short film.

    yep... you got a problem.

    american company as far back as you can go almost....

    not much that's left for "interpretation" then. the author's point is made rather heavy handedly and blatantly i'd say.


  6. "It’s always been a dream of mine to create an animated short.."

    m4? a gun? why a animated short wit a gun?
    .. i would even prefer modelling a metric M4 nut, much nicer and more useful in reality...

  7. Absolutely amazing! love the sound effects, visual style, the tracer bullets, the impacts etc... The songs also fits perfectly. I would like it if you gave some more details, like the renderer used, how you added the impacts on the target etc... maybe make a making of vid :D And thank you for the generous donation :)

  8. What I like about this, is how it can be interpreted in many different ways.

    I personally found this not celebratory at all. At first I thought it was contemplative and somber. At the end I found it terrifying.

    The piece is thought provoking and conceptual.

  9. @Zecc

    Sarcasm ? Why.

    It is beautiful made with blender but making a movie with it
    you can use premiere or kdenlive or something else even blender itself was just wondering no sarcasm
    absolutely not.

  10. A nice piece of work, good use of symbolism. The shot where the camera goes from the barrel around to the side of the gun broke my suspension of belief but I have yet to put my finger on why. That could be seen as a good thing though to be reminded that what you are seeing is not real for a moment.

  11. Great video...excellent combination music and film.
    The fire effect of the guns is crazy :)

    The song is "the funeral" from "Band of horses"


  12. The weapon effects and flash lighting with sound well done.

    The overall lighting in the scene might need some more work (depending if you wanted to add a tad more realism. Also adding some burst fire .. pause.. then continue fire on the guns would add a more war like engagement, rather then continuous fire.

  13. The implementation is quite pleasing to eyes; the content and the overall glorification of it is what I find abhorrent.

  14. I'm disappointed in Andrew and lost some respect. Didn't know he was a war hawk.
    Don't know how someone can love a killing weapon so much as to put that much time in it.
    Just being honest here.

  15. Cool short. No problems with the glorification of war over here, though I'll agree there are dubious things about how the current one is going. The fact that you're getting these posts means you succeeded in evoking emotion, so your short was successful.

    I'll agree though that non-synchronous bursts of fire would give it a more chaotic and realistic feeling (even with the stylization). I don't think a real M4 can fire that long without seizing. Are they supposed to recoil in those mounts? It looks sort of odd that they don't. And kudos for putting the other flags in there too. Nice music choice as well!

    And I'd like to vote for a making-of vid too!


  16. Awesome. As a beginner with Blender I'm just reveling in Andrew Prices skill level.
    I like the dark, questioning view and agree with +peter that it's not celebratory.
    And this guy has an equally awesome Web site, just subscribed to his feed.

  17. A rifle is not just a killing weapon. To focus on one aspect of the machine and then to judge the creator of the animation because of either that one aspect, or one use it is put to, is both narrow minded and judgemental.

    A rifle is a precision machine. A symphony of parts moving around controlled chaos. Tight tolerences and forces focused at a distance. Cradling the explosion against your cheek and yet not letting it throw you on your butt . . . many people find that invigorating.

    We positively comment on videos involving lightsabres, sci-fi battles, and other 'designed to kill' weapons. Other than the paper target (they aren't an endangered species are they? :) ) was their any violence depicted?

    As for loving a killing weapon, soldiers are trained to love their weapon. It will not only help them protect themselves against the enemy, but their squad-mates and their family back home.

    War is terrible. Any sane soldier hates it. But until you can guarantee that no one else will attack your country, until you can guarantee that every single person on the face of the earth, living and yet to live, will be peaceable . . . a prudent people are prepared.

    Judge the video on its technical merits, not on the political views of its author.

  18. Good job, I especially love the synchro with the music when the fire begin.
    About the meaning of this film : in my opinion this video is NOT a glorification of war.
    This movie could be very ironic. It uses a long time to glorify weapons (half of the movie) and then it shows the stupidity of using them. What are the real reasons to shot anonymous people, how many bullets for this poor result, inequality between the protagonists, etc. and finally you can see that no matter how many bullets you use the mannequin is always up !
    Sure, the behind movie message isn't clear because everybody have a different opinion... but it seems to be the goal !

  19. I think some people need to snap out of it!

    A gun, especially this one, servers no other purpose than to kill. There is a drastic difference between a country defending it's sovereignty and super powers walking across the earth taking what they want. Andrew don't be simple and think that there is something admirable about what's being done in the middle east.

    I respect the skill that it took to put this together but REALLY use a bit of judgement as to your subject matter. Also I think Blendernation should use better judgement itself when it comes to posting.

    There's nothing MORE horrible than war and death, these conflicts are not movies or video games but real people fighting and dying!

  20. I don't understanding the meaning of the short.
    Does it mean that Israel is fighting a proxy (puppet) war on behalf of those three countries?

  21. @Greydesk
    "A rifle is not just a killing weapon"
    I couldn't agree more, I think It'd serve as a decent croutch for a midget (not trying to offend midgets). And the killing weapon tecnically is the bullet, so yeah, I guess a riffle is just a precission machine, much like a clock.

  22. Great style and some really good effects there. Some materials on the gun looked to clean, the DOF pull focus could have been more exagerated too. Loved the flares and smoke, but the flame efect from the muzzel seemed a bit repetative (not enough variation).

    P.S. I didnt get it either, but I can see the art.

  23. I love it whenever there is something made in Blender that involves a gun, these discussions always bog down into endless drivel about weapons and whether or not it's "political" correct. Some people need a reality check.

  24. Okay so to people saying that Rifles aren't made for killing or that they are more than just killing machines
    that is wrong. The sole purpose of a rifle is to kill, that would be like saying an Ice cream machine wasn't made to get ice cream to people. Though I have absolutely no argument with the film itself and so now on to my review of the film. This was pretty awesome I did enjoy this very much, Great model. The music (as many others have said)
    was perfect for the short and I envy your skill sir.

  25. @Greydesk
    Here here..

    Those of you who live in a free society owe quite a bit of that freedom to the instrument of destruction presented in that video and its predecessors.

    A weapon is in instrument of destruction, which is exercised when an individual willingly or stupidly utilizes that destructive potential. Without the individual its is still an instrument of destruction, but one that offers no threat in it self.

  26. I have several points for you all:

    1) I think it's funny the way some people complain whenever somebody models a realistic weapon (a M4 usually), but yet are completely quiet about every other depiction of a weapon or violence created with Blender. I call "BS" on that. I think those people should really think over if they are pacifists or just vocal about a few political issues. Either way, I think this forum is the wrong place for that and should be focused on craftsmanship rather than ideology.

    2) The Blender community is a big. Many, many things are being created with Blender that many of us wouldn't care for. That's just the way it is and it's time to be mature about it and appreciate Blender as a great Open Source tool that is there for everyone to use as the see fit.

    For the artist,

    The video was well made. I have some observations:

    a) Tracers leave a long streak to your eye (persistence of vision). Your tracers look like the way a video camera capture tracers, which is different from the way the human eye sees them.

    b) The rate of fire is slow compared to the real M4. Only one version of M4 has full auto and it empties the magazine very quickly (I think about 2 seconds, but it's been a long time for me). Between a and b, you've actually modeled the video game version of the weapon rather than the real version. For the rate of fire, you should use the real rate, then apply slow motion for dramatic effect.

    b) Content-wise, it seemed like you wanted to say something, but didn't really want to commit to saying something. Associating the rifles with the flags seemed to be the only message. I think the piece would be strong if you worked out what it is you really wanted to say and then say it. Maybe blending real video overlays as a montage with the 3D scene would focus the message.

  27. Sry, I don't like the short and I find its message rather sad. A gun is simply a device made to kill creatures (both humans and animals) - to end their lives. I say that because I think some people tend to forget about the sole purpose of weapons. You're saying it's open to interpretation. I don't think this is true. The way you're putting the gun into scene - artistically and aesthetically - is glorifying. In the beginning you are staging the gun (even this building or barrack looks like a stage, and so does the dramatic lighting) You're presenting every little detail of this perfect machine that is free of flaws, without signs of usage. It's so close, it's almost intimate. But you don't show one of them, no it's three of them to demonstrate their superiority. Their opponent - a cardboard man. Without personality, without a face, put in the dirt, lit with this infernal red light. And while the gun was presented in every tiny detail, the "enemy" is just shown in wide shots. A rough contrast between these two parties.

    As the stage lights turn off, the music rises and the guns start to fire - with none pulling the trigger. Hundreds of round flying through the air, hitting the target and its surrounding area for about 35 seconds. At a cadence of approx. 700rpm this would require every gun to have a magazine holding more than 400 rounds. And I hardly doubt this gun would withstand the thermal stress of 35 seconds of continuous fire. But that may be considered a minor flaw compared to the muzzle flashes which come in 3 nice colors: white, red and blue (looks familiar?).

    After 35 seconds everything is over. The disco-like show with the strobe-light and the rhythmic beat stopped. The opponent looks like a piece of swiss cheese. Like a gun would drill clean holes into cardboard. After more then 1000 rounds there would have been not even a part of the stand remaining. So you're not even hiding the human factor by reducing weapon and target to mere objects. You also blank out the true damage done by weapons by literally minimizing its impact.

    Finally you show 3 flags enthroning over that barrack. It's interesting that the flags appear only in this final shot. When you take a look at the barracks before, you will never find any flags on the roof. So with the faceless devilish enemy in the desert on the one side and the superior weaponry under the flag of the US and its coalition of the willing on the other side, the situation you are depicting is quite obvious. But the premise is unsharp. Either you're just glorifying weapons and war in general and you're proposing that the faceless enemy in the desert can just be defeated by raw gun power or you're showing that despite all their superiour weapons the enemy in the desert cannot be defeated. But by the way you're glorifying the killing machine only the first premise would fit.

    By the end of this analysis I watched the short several times, and I still think it's sad that you decided to show your skills and the possibilities Blender has to offer with such a questionable message.

    Sorry to say it like that. Maybe I misunderstood your story. But if you intended another effect you should have been thinking more about the artistic devices you use.


  28. nice short, missing characters hurt it a little in my opinion, but I completely understand the extra work involved.

    Regarding the critics, nowhere in the film did I get the impression the author was a violent being. If anything I felt the opposite. Also this site is dedicated to all things blender, I do not want any kind of censorship. I for one don't want to see fluffy bunnies and unicorns all the time. The world is a dark place, humans and nature make it so, deal with it.

    @spark, I believe it is open to interpretation, I did not see the film in that light at all.

  29. Technically speaking great modeling and animation. Wish I could build something even close to this level. But I too find the theme bit odd. Ballad for a weapon, whose sole purpose is to kill someone... Is that really something to glorify?

  30. We all watched terminator, star trek, die hard, james bond etc and loved it! I hope the gun discussion is now over.

    At times it looked like there is live footage composited in. I take your word for it that it is done 100% with Blender internal. The final shot with the flags waving in the wind looks like live footage. So props to your light and shading skills.

  31. how'd you get the bullet holes to pop up in the target sheet and how'd you get it to flutter like paper?

  32. How about just avoiding REAL WORLD events!

    By making this short and spending such an incredible amount of time doing it, this really shows how desensitized people are becoming. Go crazy with your space wars, fantasy, and post apocalyptic themes. Just don't be so ridiculous as to call this art! Technique yes, ART now way!

  33. I blame all this on the Blender UI, its seems to gather people with a particular dislike to modern weaponry. :)

  34. I really can't think of it as anything near of praising war.

    Can't people get the criticism if it isn't explicitly written as such? I'm really shocked to see how many people found it to be in favor of war and killing people instead of the opposite.

    When he says "I’ve always found an interest with the war in the middle east and our involvement with it.", his interest in the middle east war doesn't mean he likes it. Al Gore has interest in world's pollution. It doesn't necessarily mean he is promoting the pollution. "I wanted the film to be politically evocative" just confirms it, IMHO.

    It makes me wonder of how many people understood the criticism found in Sacha Baron Cohen's movies (Borat, Brüno). How many people think of it as just a bunch of slapstick gags without any substance?

    And... finally... kudos to Andrew Price. Really great short, in all aspects of it.

  35. Well, I think he achieved his goal. He wanted it to be politically evocative and open to interpretation, right? Yep, he did. It's right there in the description. So everybody's right, hahahaha.

    This goal of being open to interpretation is why many of you did not find a clear message in the short. It's purposely vague in that way.

    @Spark: You noted that no-one was pulling the trigger.

    On the sweeping shot that starts inside the muzzle and pulls away and to the side (0:47 - 0:52), you should notice that attached to the rig holding the rifle is a white box with a cable going out the back, trailing along the floor to the back wall. Also on the uprights of the rig is a curved bar or cable that passes through the trigger guard, over the trigger. These are electronic test firing rigs, controlled by a computer.

  36. I personally found it against war and killing, the dark environment, the sad music, it was just showing how sad and stupid thos harsh but true action is, and finally pointing the finger on it's instigators. And as for the title, i find it awesome, just to show contrast by the use of the terme ballade, like in the song comfortably numb, where the main protagonist is actually far from comfortable...

  37. "Judge the video on its technical merits, not on the political views of its author."

    Eh? Shouldn't it be the other way around?
    I rather think a film is successful, if it has a strong and convincing content and if you like it's message, not if I like it's technical merits...

  38. Techenically, I like this film.

    the problem that I have is that I don't know how to read the events in it, which I find uncomfortable. The first time I watched, I thought it was about the futility of war - the guns shooting at nothing, like a hollow victory. Then the flags came, and I don't know if I should interpret it as the US(and UK/Australia) supporting Israel, or about the war in Afghanistan/Iraq.

    now, I am just confused by it!

  39. I really liked this! To be honest, I usually don't care too much for gun porn, just because I find it kind of boring and cliched. For the first few moments when the gun came on I thought, okay, another dude who just loves the shape of a gun. But as I watched I was drawn in by the framing, pacing, camera work, lighting, and all the rest. The music complemented what was going on very well (didn't hurt that I love that band). And when the guns let rip I thought it was a really very dramatic piece of animation.

    I also felt that the overall message or impression was quite ambiguous, which was nice. It left a lot of interpretation up to the viewer. It didn't surprise me that there were some hostile responses, but I didn't see it as a glorification of war.

    It was certainly a glorification of the aesthetic qualities of shooting guns, but I think there's plenty of room in art for that.

  40. I think a lot of people here have disappeared up there own a**es with 'interpretation'. FFS, it's a great bit of Blender work! Lots of technical aspects (flares, muzzle flashes, cases sprinkling onto the table etc.) to admire. This has taken a lot of modelling and overall production effort, and provides a great result. This guy could do commercials quite easily.

  41. Very well done professional quality work. Mussle flash was nice. tracers shouldtechically be one every 5 or so bullets, and then a few in a row at the bottom of the clip. small detail though. Overall awsome clip.

  42. Ok, so my one question to the creator of the short: What's the moral you wanted to express with your story? (as I think every story should tell a moral - that's why we tell them)

    Sry, but I really hate those meaningless tech demos and a bunch of nerds mentally masturbating on them. "Yeah but it's still great piece of technology". Is it really just the question of "could I" or "should I"?

    I think as creators of 3D imagery we should have overcome the time where only the look did matter and the story was... "Well It just looks cool!". And then I read "It looks so realistic", but all the unrealistic stuff in it is completely tolerated like the target not being torn apart, colored muzzle flashes...

    There are so many better stories worth to make a short of and I hereby really encourage Mr. Price to continue making movies! Take a look around there is a story behind every stone! Literally! ;)

    So my dear Blenderheads: Please don't just show what Blender can do or what you can do with Blender! We've seen that for several years now. But rather start using it as a tool! The open movies were a good example (especially BBB). So start with the vision, not with the craft (:

    Happy Blending!

  43. Nice piece, well done.

    Guns don't kill, people do. I own a gun, I carry a gun, and I hope NEVER to have to use it to stop a threat -- but I will if I have to! A gun, a screwdriver, a hammer, a piece of rope and even a car -- all have been used to kill others. Are all bad? None are evil to themselves.

    If seeing a gun makes a person fearful, maybe they need to evaluate the "why am I fearful?" question. Were there terrible circumstances in your life that caused the fear? Was there a friend who had an encounter that prompted that fear? Only that person can answer that question.

    But for you Americans out there, it was PEOPLE that freed you from tyranny. It was PEOPLE that defended that Nation time and again, as well as changed that Nations history. Punish the PEOPLE that mishandle ANY item that is used as a weapon. Don't take away MY right to defend MYSELF.

    American and Citizen and Veteran

  44. @Bart Thanks for the plug! :)

    I find it interesting that two people can watch the short and come to two completely different resolutions. Let me first of all say that the film was never created to 'glorify violence'. In fact my intended representation of film was of bittersweet, unresolved fear.

    My inspiration from the film came from my life. I am in the Australian army reserves and have often voiced to friends that I would one day like to go on a deployment to see the world and participate in real world events. The reactions I got from my peers were completely mixed. Many could not understand why I would want to put my life at risk, some people agreed it was an excellent opportunity to see the world, and others accused me of just wanting to kill and maim people. I was confused and yet intrigued at the complete opposite opinions people have on our armed forces and thought it would be interesting to portray these mixed emotions in a short film.

    The reason I left it is so open and vague, is because I didn't want it to seem like I was pushing my political views down peoples throats. So instead I let the viewer come to their own conclusions.

  45. @Joel F You are completely right! I couldn't find anywhere to insert the shot, but yes, there's a piece of nylon string around the trigger that is controlled by the briefcase in the background via cables. I spent hours modeling the rig but couldn't even find a place to put it in the film! Oh well :)

    @random The bullet holes were achieved by rendering black and white 'peppered' look particle system to a .mov format then making adding to the plane and making it control the alpha value. The fluttering look was achieved with the Wave modifier.

    @Toontje Yes, everything was made and rendered in Blender, except for the opening moon shot which was a matte painting created in Photoshop.

    @Shiretoko The 'Made In Israel' shot, was simply because I came across a reference photo on flickr that had that embedded on the M4. Not sure if every M4 is made there, but this one was.

  46. I love the mood of the piece. The combination of music lighting and the absence of any sort of people gives it a kind of contemplative feel. The long panning shots in the beginning build up anticipation because we all know what's about to happen, just not when. Excellent work on the actual shot effects, though I agree with the idea of speeding up the shots and doing a slow motion effect as it would add to the overall mood.

    (edit) : Just rewatched it. One thing that I noticed about the actual gun that is making it look fake on the closeup shots, crank up the specular, make it sharper. The long gradiants give the impression that it's matt plastic. Specular map to break it up on the textured parts would help a lot too.

    As for all the people talking about making guns taboo, something to be avoided, hidden, ashamed of. this video made people think and started a discussion. That in itself makes it worth the effort. Hiding your heads in the sand and pretending that whatever offends you doesn't exist is cutting yourself off from the world around you and does you a disservice in the long run. This isn't a publicity shot for the gun. See it like the piece of art that it is, if it made you think or evoked feeling, then it served a useful purpose. Everything else is just good old book burning.

    Good job :)

  47. The horror... the horror?
    Why "made in Israel" when it is not?
    Not to mention (as it was already mentioned) the fetishism...
    Too artsi to be taken seriously- while obviously made with some intent behind the too clean environment- but what?

  48. I've always thought that a successful motion picture elicits emotions. And from the responses here, it looks like this short definitely did that. Congratulations. Nice job.

  49. Hm... I agree the message is unclear.
    Of course, technically it's very good, but like a lot of people, I get a very uncomfortable feeling when watching this. And I don't mind violence in films, it's just the uncanny message that seems to be somehow delivered.
    I don't think it's just a question of guns being shown, after all there are plenty of them in movies and games, and no one seems to mind. Nobody is outraged by renders of guns, and there are a lot of them around. Actually, I wouldn't mind modelling and rendering a gun myself. But since this is a movie, it's a question of the message. It's a bit like the difference between a nude and hardcore porn. I agree with some commentators here who are disturbed by the glorification that is so evident here. I believe the intended message may have been positive, but I don't think that's the impression most people would get. I think if I were an average Iraqi, for example, I'd be appalled and depressed by this. It's not just a question of whether this war is right or wrong, we may have different views on this. It's just that I can't fathom out a message from this short that would justify this fascination with weaponry and it's rather obvious use/aim under the auspices of the allies. If this is sarcastic, it's very twisted indeed and I didn't get it.
    So for those who dislike those "moralizing" comments, it's not about censorship and pacifistic sentiments, I'm not saying "go and render butterflies, not guns". This would be rather simplistic. It's rather about the message, the purpose, the underlying content, which everybody has the right to judge in a creative piece.
    So yes, the question is: What's the purpose?
    To me, much as I love some technical aspects, there is no gratifying or positive message here.
    Still, you've got talent, redbyte, so good luck in your future ventures!

  50. Wow! That's a nice piece of gun p0rn. Very well done!

    I'm currently planning a movie about the Sturmgewehr 44. As you probably know, the Stg44 is the grandfather of all assault rifles, including the M4, M16, AK-47 etc. One of the finest products of German engineering. Check out this video:

  51. Spark, and the other haters your opinion is like so many others, stinky.

    This film tells a story, thats the requirement, thats it, and you have just made a film.

    I don't pretend to be some kind of moral artist because I am a good artist. Moralists are simply trying to elevate themselves over others in a couched sort of way. Real artists will tell any story, any moral, any content, because we have the skill to do them justice. Posers hide behind Disney ethics because nothing about their skill distinguishes them.

    For examples look at the best artists of their times. They have all done a wide variety of content, much of which was morally scandalous for their time, some of it was downright violent and horrible(see Hieronymus Bosch, Edvard Munch, Dante Alighieri, etc.) Even now the best artists are people who push the boundaries, who offend our wimpy, childish sensibilities and force us to see a part of life that may help us see the truth better. Simply not telling stories about violence will not stop violence, just like not telling kids about sex will not keep them from having sex... all it does is to make damn sure that when they do anything "bad"(meaningless term), that they don't know how to do it properly making it more likely that they hurt themselves and or others. Let me make something entirely clear for you pacifist fools... CHILDREN THAT KNOW FROM FANTASY THAT, GUNS KILL PEOPLE VIOLENTLY AND HORRIBLY DO NOT POINT GUNS AT THINGS THEY DON'T WANT DEAD NOT EVEN ANIMALS, WHILE CHILDREN THAT DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT GUNS ARE FAR MORE LIKELY TO KILL THEMSELVES OR THEIR FRIENDS IN THE EVENT THAT THEY ARE EXPOSED TO GUNS. If armed with this information a person kills a person, they are either uninformed about just how violent guns can be, or the killing is indicative of a greater problem like ignorance, mental illness, or abuse in the family.

    The real problem with violence in society is the naivety, people don't know that if they shoot at something it will be ugly and they will die, then the police will hunt down the killer and even if he/she escapes(unlikely in a civilized nation) their life will be a living hell. how do I know this you ask? because I am a person living in a civilized nation with very little censorship, and my parents made sure that I watched,read, and later played a wide variety of content from stories like "Where the Wild things Are," and "In the Night Kitchen" to heavy books like "Dune," "the Dark Tower" series; from "the Dark Crystal" and the "Labyrinth" to "Hellrazor," "The Razors Edge" and "Hostel"; and from games like "Pacman," "Pilot Wings," and "Bubble Bobble" to games like "Wolfenstien," "Doom," and "Grand Theft Auto". Am I better or worse for my experience, well I am very aware of the human condition, and mortality. I have never pointed a weapon at another person. I try not to do harm to anything I don't intend to eat, provided it's not trying to eat me(mosquito, ticks, etc.) Am I a pacifist? NO! if prompted, I will defend myself, my family and my friends with, if necessary, lethal force, and believe me I have enough experience with weapons and violence to know when and how they are appropriate. I can't say the same for a would-be pacifist who found themselves in a live or die situation because almost every person on the face of the planet will chose to fight for their life if threatened. Untrained, inexperienced, impotents do not do well in clutch situations, often making them more dangerous to themselves and others.

    The argument against artistic violence or interpreted glorifications of violence are really not very well educated, thought out, well composed or even relevant arguments, why not simply post a comment reminding people to always set their safety, maintain 15 degrees of separation between the tip of your weapon and your friends position, and don't point a weapon at anything you don't want dead. That would save more lives than your plebeian rants against a beautiful work of art.

  52. Have thought if all the victims of this weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan specially when it is the weapon of choice of the criminal Blackwater too?
    If would change somethings in this short I`ll make the target Bleed to represent the victims and I`ll get rid of ""Made in Israel" because it is not true.

    It is a good animation but political messages like "Made in Israel" and Iraq war and Afghanistan ruined it for me.

    Politics sucks man ......politics SUCKS

  53. Hello, I don't like your movie. Technic is good but idea is very manichaean. I think you simplify the problem and it is very dangerous. I can't be agree with this.

  54. @redbyte... there are no m4s made in Israel. The picture you got was probably photoshopped.
    Anyway, I liked your movie a lot for it's graphical effects. It also matched the music quite well.
    I'm not sure I agree with your political views (to me it looks as if you are actually against the war unlike what most people think... But as you said it's open to interpretation.) And you are free to express yourself however you want - I wouldn't put you down for it.

  55. The comments here made me laugh.

    Come on guys, respect the artist, and leave his work open to interpretation.

    ~ J

  56. Considering they've been jamming up lately at unfortunate times in Afghanistan, not a good time to put this up. Not sure if that band likes their tune associated with this either.

  57. I'll leave the politics for others ...

    I thought this was awesome. I loved your sense of style and timing.

    And I especially loved the lighting. Great job!

  58. redbyte, as a member of the US Air Force who has worked with officers from your nation, I thank Australia for their service and friendship to the USA. I admit, I also didn't "get it" :lol:, but I just wanted to voice my support for your decision to model/animate/render this clip.

  59. What I got out of it was a lot of symbolism. The defencless 'target'in the sand, the unstopable 'firing squad' and the politician in the background blind to the carnage. I think its very thought provoking, obviously open to interpritation but well made and should be appreaciated as a fine piece of art.

  60. It makes me so sad to see so many posts with authors being so easily willed to end a life. Is ist a lack of respect or experience? Life is the most precious thing of all. If one takes it, it's over. There is no undo. Have you ever felt a life passing away in your hands? Probably not, you would take it more serious then.

    I don't like that debate on whether guns are bad by their mere existance or if it's rather man who kills because it's just a lame excuse. Guns have only one purpose. To kill. Thats it. No mo' no less! They only make it easier to kill. Most people aren't afraid to fire a bullet on someone else but they would never strangle an opponent to death. Comparing a gun to a screwdriver is also quite lame. Of course you can ABuse anything to kill someone. But the primary use of a screwdriver is still... well... to drive screws! But you can't use a gun for something constructive. It only destroys.

    This whole debate is not about whether violence in movies should be shown. I wouldn't want movies about butterflies either. It's just about whether there should be a movie in which the leading cast is a gun and which uses stylistic devices that put it into one line with propaganda.

    Moral has nothing to do with personal elevation. It has to do with personal responsibility for oneself and the people around you.

    I'm sorry but my opinion is, that there are better ways to show off Blenders capabilities and I'm rather ashamed then proud that this one represents a tool that I valuate so much and that I use for so many years now.

    We - as artists - are creators, not destroyers. Our work should reflect that.

  61. OK, MANY problems with this, ok, just a few comments on the film and a couple to counter the always present opinions.

    First up, GUNS DO NOT SHOOT THEMSELVES! PERIOD. You want to think guns are inherently bad, fine, as long as you also consider fire, poison, water, sticks and stones in the same category. Or should I say cooking, chemotherapy, life, the lever, and hammers. IT IS THE USER THAT is either good or evil.

    The lack of a user almost gets to the heart of the problem, lots of people here who always scream about guns being evil. They possess no magical power to load themselves or function without a human. So just WHAT is evil?

    Second, America didn't invent the gun. America didn't invent war. Get over it. In fact, America has been known to, you know, HELP people out during wars. America also hasn't turned their guns on its own. (yet?)

    The most common gun in the world is not American made, something like an AK-47 is involved in countless wars around the world, even the ones that the 3 nations shown here are not involved in.

    As for the film, besides the magical self firing guns, there are some nice visual images and shots. It's well done, at least. As for "story" or impact, all I come away with is America is somehow responsible for producing magic guns that go on to kill nameless faceless people and the rest of the world is a perfect utopia that we stupid americans storm and kill with the help of the British and Australians. OK, I'm interpreting it that way, but not much else there to work with. If it was meant to be praise I think it falls very short and the only way it wouldn't have is to go back to WWII or sometime around there, and even then the America haters would be out in force.

    That said, Durian better not have any pointy sticks or big blunt stones, let alone knives, swords, or guns or lots of people are going to have fits. No magic either, no animals eating other animals, fighting, harsh words, water, and for the love of all that is decent, NO BLOOD! I should go back and look at the comments when BBB came out to see if all the gun haters were OK with those weapons and that violence. Everything depicted there is still in use in this world to hurt people, AND to fight against evil...once again, it all depends on the person using the tool.

  62. @ spark

    "We – as artists – are creators, not destroyers. Our work should reflect that."

    But in creating you have destroyed something else. Using blender on a computer, some would have you believe you are destroying the very earth, where all that life is at and the means to continue that life.

    "I'm sorry but my opinion is, that there are better ways to show off Blenders capabilities and I'm rather ashamed then proud that this one represents a tool that I valuate so much and that I use for so many years now."

    I'm sure there are those who fight against the evil and violent acts who can say the same thing about the gun that they use to protect themselves, you, and others with.

  63. Wow, what a pile of responses. My turn! The film itself has a reasonably high quality. Its still a bit Blender'ish, but conveys the information well. You don't have to guess that its a gun. As previously stated, not made in Israel (no licenses to manufacture in Israel either, as far as I know). Many countries have large standing armies to protect against invasion/attack. Many countries have compulsory military duty as a requirement of citizenship (Eg: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bermuda, Brazil, Cambodia, China (PRC), Columbia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Eritrea, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, South Korea, Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (ROC), Turkey and Ukraine) ..not a complete list! Protection of the state is important to many states. Guns are horrible, but sometimes countries find it fun to invade other countries (ok, not just for fun but also for profit). Guns and armed militaries make don't dent the profit part, but do at least take the fun out of it. The going in and shooting part isn't quite so much fun when coupled with the idea that others might be shooting back. So much for the Guns vs No Guns debate. In the world of film, I think I've seen guns before. Maybe even more than once. Yep, for sure, more than once.

  64. nice short
    I love the music, brings back memories of playing Skate 1(as that song was in there). good times. Ironically i was looking at the skate forums at the same time as reading about/watching this.

  65. I can see a lot of people don't get the point. It's not about America being bad, not about this war being good or bad, it's not about political views, not about pacifism, vegetarianism, etc. It's just about the rather unclear (disturbing?) message of this video, which I don't get, or don't want to think about. Because the more I think about it, and the more I read some of the comments, the more sick I become inside. But that's just my internal response, don't worry about it. Probably it's nothing, it will just go away :). Especially if I don't view it.

    By the way, some people have wondered why "Israel" on the guns, even if they're not made in Israel. Isn't the message clear to you? Especially when you see the flags at the end?

    But then, I may be wrong.

  66. When I say a gun is not just a killing weapon, I am in no way saying it is not a killing weapon. I am saying that it is more. The same as there are sword and knife collectors who collect them for their aesthetics, there are collectors of firearms. I also find it interesting that most of the people who demonize the weapon have never made the decision to stand between their loved ones and the destroyers. Those who commit defend their families and their country seem to view it as the tool it is.
    If you want to be technical, all 5.56mm, fully jacketed ammunition firing weapons are not designed to kill. They are designed to wound.

    @MD: "

    "Judge the video on its technical merits, not on the political views of its author."

    Eh? Shouldn't it be the other way around?
    I rather think a film is successful, if it has a strong and convincing content and if you like it's message, not if I like it's technical merits…"

    No, I don't think it should be the other way around. I don't think we should be saying, I don't agree with what the creator is saying, therefore I don't like the film or I don't think it is well done. I think we should be saying, even though I don't agree with what I think the author is saying, he says it fairly well. He could improve it by adding/changing . . .
    Instead, those who disagree with what they THINK the author believes are 'ashamed' of the use Blender has been put to. Please, There are so many things that Blender has been used for that are technically worse. Even BBB has video violence in it for comedic effect that would kill any of those creatures in real life. Are we not only glorifying violence, but removing the actual effects of it? Would the rock not have pulverized the short guy? That definitely wasn't a trap designed for anything other than to kill.

    @GetReal . . . there certainly are things that are MORE horrible than death and war. At least in war, an ideal is being fought for. In war, both sides have a voice. Genocide is worse. Tyrannical governments who starve their people to death out of greed are worse. Even abortion is worse.

    My judgment of the film, now that I could see it: The film, overall was well paced and rendered. The modeling of the gun, target, range, etc. was also well done. I liked the rendering of the flares to illuminate the target. The muzzle flashes were well done. The tracers were shorter than what the human eye perceives, even on recorded film of tracers firing. The guns themselves lacked 'depth' and weight. They appeared like painted cardboard. As was said before, they needed some reflections.
    I liked the coldness of the setup and the sadness of the music. It seemed to convey that war is deplorable and to be avoided if necessary. The faceless firing and faceless target make it all the more sad. The colored muzzle flashes, I think were intended to evoke the US, but those colors are also used in many other country flags, including France (blue, white, red) so the viewer may not assume USA.
    Overall impression is that the author doesn't love the weapon, but knows that some do. It is almost satirical or that love, or asking 'really?' about the love.
    Well done.

  67. (sorry about this, not about the film, but couldn't resist)

    I actually own a tank. I believe it is every non-American's constitutional right to drive a tank. I honestly hope to never have to use it - but I will if I have to. A tank is just like a car, a condom, or a hamster - all these have been used to destroy innocent beings. They aren't evil in themselves - not even the hamster.

    I drive up to work in my tank, and when people ask me: 'Is it loaded?' I honestly reply 'Yes'. When they seem worried, I ask them to evaluate their past and see their psychotherapist.

    If my tank frightens someone, maybe they should evaluate the "Why am I scared?" question. "What caused this? Was it childhood abuse, a school trauma, or food poisoning? Did my friend have a bad encounter with a tank that they projected onto me?" They need to answer that question themselves. It's their problem, not mine.

    Actually, I'm just joking. Where I live, owning a tank is illegal. But I carry an axe. I believe it is my right to defend myself and my family. When people come to visit and see my axe, they are often concerned, but I have never hurt anyone and they should read it from my eyes. That's not a problem though, because they hardly ever visit.

    [caution: satire]

  68. @redbyte Thanks, that target paper effect blew my mind in trying to figure out how you achieved it. Very well done

    @everyone else In case you didnt get the memo there's something in blender called the 'Bullet' Physics engine. Need I say more?


  69. Made in Israel to kill innocent Palestinian's children

    "Kamikadze" Terrorist instructed in Palestina to kill israelian children in a Scholar Bus... and so on...
    Stop all of these, stop hunting civilians with rifles, stop human bombs, stop making nuclear bombs to threat Israel existence.

    And you will have peace from Israel.

    Israel still allows Palestinians to work in Israel, still treat your children and people in Israelian Hospitals. The whole Arab world hates Israel and when Israel dare to protect himself, entire population of earth (unbelievable) is turned against him.

    Arab world disputes the existence of Israel but fortunately, here still are people that know The History. Israel have right to be there.

  70. ...a gun is not a killing machine its more.. reading all the comments make laugh about people arguing that way.
    wonder why its published at bn
    happy bout the fact that tom is not ton

  71. Don't blame Israel, we Americans put them there, if you have a problem with the, bash us. I'm sure you have noticed how well that works.

  72. People please keep it about the video, you can discuss your ideas on any politics/debates forum.

  73. I'm sorry for all you purely technically-minded people but I'm on the opposite side and here are my 2 cents:

    Some people really don't seem to get it, do they? It's not a question of guns in general but the message, with American flag at the end(Or is the American flag open to interpretation as well?), and desert on the scenery, simply evokes a lot of recent eastern war memories and anti-war feelings from many people. Many Americans of course don't give a damn since they are mostly misinformed(They think they do charity for the poor people)or plainly haven't experienced a war in their country in the recent past. When you do have the experience you are not concerned about philosophy. The mere symbol of war frightens you.
    It's not a question of mental illness, it's just that, as someone said "People tend to listen better to a kind word and a gun". Or tank! ;)

    A few quotes I'd like to comment on

    "The real problem with violence in society is the naivety, people don't know that if they shoot at something it will be ugly and they will die"

    You mean in all those wars, soldiers didn't know that they would actually kill someone, don't you?

    "Second, America didn't invent the gun. America didn't invent war. Get over it. In fact, America has been known to, you know, HELP people out during wars. America also hasn't turned their guns on its own. (yet?)"

    No, it didn't. However you can't refuse that it has started the majority of recent wars. And don't make me laugh, they mostly helped people on wars they started themselves. Mostly to mitigate the people's reactions, lionize themselves and demonize their political adversaries. This is the alphabet of politics..

    Wars in the real world are made for profit rather than ethics. Not my profit or even your profit but mostly for the benefit of major economic players.
    As a previous poster said, do all the fantasy you want, but don't blame people protesting if you put their oppressors in front of their eyes.

    Oh, and yeah, fantastic peace of work in terms of technique. However I, too, judge a film based on its message.

  74. Very nice short, very well done. Please ignore all of these liberal alarmists. Guns are necessary as a tool with which the good and free can defend themselves from evil. Not to say that the US Army had to go over there after 2001; I don't really think it was necessary act in the defense of America.

    But a gun is a machine, a machine that has an important use: to defend the good. A machine with a specific, necessary purpose cannot be hated simply because it is sometimes misused.

  75. Dr Strangelove on

    The tank analogy is brilliant, hilarious, and really to the point.
    You should make a video featuring your axe slicing a couple of snowmen next to a Bulgarian flag.

  76. Glad I'm not Ton as well.

    @ Psi-fi

    "Wars in the real world are made for profit rather than ethics. Not my profit or even your profit but mostly for the benefit of major economic players.
    As a previous poster said, do all the fantasy you want, but don't blame people protesting if you put their oppressors in front of their eyes."

    So a tribe somewhere using stone age tools over land or religion is better then America (using Chinese invented gunpowder) because there is no money involved? I firmly grasp that war is a tool in some people's hands, for money, power, or agenda and they use guns as a tool to achieve their goals, but the flip side is everyone resisting those evil aims using a gun is standing for what is right.

    Is there ever such an outrage when robots, giant or otherwise, are made in Blender? You HAVE noticed the advancements being made and the drive towards the ability for smaller numbers of people 1/2 a world away to kill at will with no chance of harm to themselves via robots. You think that the people who start wars to further their agenda give a damn what they kill with or will stop if guns aren't needed or are obsolete?

    I do my best to change the government here to a "live and let live" world, but I have no illusions that there are people who will never stop seeking control of others. I will not give up whatever advantage I may have to combat evil and to protect my life. To do so would be akin to devolving into an animal with no teeth, claws, or defense mechanisms and expecting to remain safe from predators.

    What I don't understand is why these posts aren't immediately locked because everyone here knows this is what the comments turn into. Present these "controversial" posts as the news is intended to be. No bias, just the facts. "X" video was made with Blender, here's the link, go watch if you want. There are enough places to comment on it.

  77. Just as a note, currently, all M4s made for US military service are made by Fabrique Nationale in Columbia, South Carolina. (FN got the contract for M16 rifles and M4 carbines over Colt a few years ago.)

  78. @ Tom (not Ton, naturally)

    Do you honestly believe that this video is about "combating evil and protecting your life"? This would never have come to my mind if you didn't tell me.
    That aside, I think the problem is with people getting too outspoken here about political issues, while it's a question of the message of this particular video, so it may seem like it's off-topic. But of course it's easy to get over-emotional, as the subject is controversial.
    And this is a comments section, and who's to judge what kind of comments should be allowed?
    If you place something online and allow comments, people will have all kinds of responses. And it's their right. Apart from clearly offensive content.

    @ Dr Strangelove
    I'm glad you liked my tank story ;)

  79. Not sure if this point has been made, but didn't want to read through the entire flame war to find out.

    In countries where guns are legal (like here in the U.S.) we have a rather different view on them. Many people in the world seem to see guns as inherently evil; only used to kill or maim. On the other hand, many people here see guns as cool mechanical toys, albeit rather serious ones you have to take classes on safety to own (at least for the really neat ones). I think since so many people use guns here for non-violent purposes (there's plenty of people who don't even hunt with them, but simply enjoy the sport of shooting targets), that we don't really view them with the same taint of evil that other people do.

    I would never hunt animals myself, but I have always wanted to buy a few guns just because they're so mechanically neat, and fun to shoot. Of course I'd take them really seriously as well; even the avid gun nuts still takes them deadly seriously. Besides, as small and physically weak as I am, I really should carry a gun around in some places (and not to defend against other people with guns; big, strong muscles are just as scary to me, thank you very much).

  80. This controversy makes me want to make a game where you play as a modern day sniper of some unnamed government, but the goal of the game isn't to kill as many people as possible from far away. The goal is to do what snipers are trained to do: kill one person to save many others, such as, kill Hitler in 1939, but without no time traveling. Each person is worth so many lives, so negative, some positive. I think that's the main focus of why many people sign up for a combative role. I suppose I should add a story line in there too, huh? The only why you can tell which people to kill is by studying your opponents and gathering information, the old fashion way. Who's with me?

  81. Yikes. Make a video featuring an assault rifle and you are going to have a mess on your hands.

    Very well done. I thought the muzzle flash was very convincing.

    2 things: Needed to be rendered with depth of field, and the atmosphere needs haze.

  82. Great Job...I liked it very much...I think that it could have had more lighting...but great was great with the sequence...thank you...

  83. Regarding the statement that guns are killing machines, nothing more:

    I own several guns, and have fired thousands of rounds of ammunition in my life, and yet I have never killed anyone nor ever fired a gun toward another person. None of those gunshots was fired in anger or in violence.

    All of my experiences and memories surrounding guns are pleasant ones--afternoons spent with my father at the shooting range or friendly Saturday shooting matches, filled with fun and socializing. The idea that guns are only good for killing is . . . well, simply untrue.

  84. you cant talk about war without talking about Israel
    this is the reality
    and you cant talk about financial crisis without talking about banks

  85. @ Iconodast - something like the "Orbital Eunuchs Sniper"?

    "Orbital Eunuchs Sniper is an overhead shooting game. You (the Eunuch on the orbital laser platform) are tasked with protecting the VIPs (blue) from the terrorists (red)!"

  86. I liked it and hope to be able to do something of a similar quality at some point in my attempts to use Blender.

    I do have a question. What do you suppose the reaction of the same people who were very critical of your choice of content, had you put your blender skills into making this into a video game?

    Dare I guess the same people who are saying "Why glorify guns?" would be saying "Kool Game!" "I loved it when I was able to use it as a sniper's weapon" Or something else similar?

    Looking at what seems to be the most popular video games among hard core gamers, they tend to be war themed shooters. Please tell me I'm wrong.

  87. @Greydesk:

    Yeah, but in that game, every guy is points. What if every guy wasn't a target? All those guys have families, or they would in real life. All those guys would have friends and they'd drink beer while talking about the local sports team, and go home to their wives, pay bills, mow their lawns, get hair cuts. Every terrorists and enemy combatant on Earth has, at some time, got a freaking hair cut just like you. That guy half a mile away might be a confused 12 year old. If you shoot that 12 year old, your actions are going to cause an uprising of hate against you. Games and media and actual military training works to separate you from this realization. It's a good thing not to think about that when they're shooting at you. But it creates a subhuman status against all others you see, which wears off outside of war and then you get all these wacked out PTSD soldiers. The military teaches 99% of it;s force how to fight but never tells anyone why it's necessary to do so. Targets aren't man-shaped so you know how to shoot at a man, they're man-shaped so the men you shoot look like a paper target.

  88. cool animation with nifty effects and great modelling!!
    anyway Andrew really is a huge supporter of blender and blenducation therefor a communtiy treasure:)

    Big cheers and thanks to Andrew in Australia, love your tuts, projects and models!!!

  89. This is a very cool video. It reminds me of when I was in the army and shooting on the rifle range. Those were fun times on the range :)

  90. "The goal is to do what snipers are trained to do: kill one person to save many others, such as, kill Hitler in 1939, but without no time traveling."

    Epic fail.
    You really think killing Hitler would stop the massive rising of nationalism, xenophobia and crawling hatred of the middle war period?
    Kill Hitler and Stalin would have invaded Europe and half of the Africa.
    Kill Hitler and Europe would have fallen into its own dictatorship (as Spain and Italy would still have Franco and Mussolini + Austria & France with their own ultras).
    Kill Hitler and Senator Mac Carthy would have been president of the United State (or someone even more nazi).

    Don't get fooled.
    One man can't decide the course of History.
    He could only be a catalyst ... easy replacable by another.

    About the short.
    Sorry, but it's nothing more than some Bin Laden speech.
    "US guys overkill defendless people with Israel's weaponry".
    That's the meaning of this short, from whatever angle you look at it.
    May it be true or false, I'm sad that an open source software, built freely by thousands of people from different countries and beliefs, is used to spread continental hate and religious xenophobia.
    Erase the "made in Israel" and the flags at the end, and it will be fine.
    Live it like this, and you're supporting religious and ethnical wars all over the world.
    Still a nice piece of work, but a call to hate nonetheless.

    To mrunion :
    YOU carry a GUN = YOU are the THREAT
    It's as easy as that. Because you can kill me, my family, my friends, from anywhere anytime and without a chance for them to dogde it.
    Nobody needs gun to defend themselves, expect if the attacker has a gun himself.
    And what is an attacker if not someone who thinks he's right in doing so, just like you are, mrunion.
    I come to you and you shoot me because you thought I was a threat to you.
    But maybe I was trying to help you, or just passing by or you were just under drugs/mental disease influence.
    All is a matter of interpetation, personnal opinion, and own goals.
    Give guns to everyone and you won't achieve peace, just mutual fear and hate.
    Just look at all the paramilitias in the US. It's a silent bomb which will explode sooner or later.
    Imagine dozens of riffle armed drivers, hiding in the coffin to shoot anyone from afar.
    Just one was sufficent to paralyze 2 states!
    Yeah, US never used guns against his people (except during black riots? ).
    Why bother? Its own people is already using guns against himself.
    Why is USA the only country in the world selling offensive weapon to its own people?
    If it was such a good idea, it should be widespread.