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Grey Justice: Puncher of Men


Two weeks ago we could watch a group of Blender artists work on a 48-hour project, live on video. Jason van Gumster presents the results and talks about the project.

Jason van Gumster writes:

On the weekend of July 16th, Hand Turkey Studios again entered into the Richmond 48 Hour Film Project with the insane goal of producing a 4-7 minute animated film in a mere 48 hours... and we did it using Blender.

For those of you who don't know, the 48 Hour Film Project is a contest that's targeted at live action filmmakers; it's not really designed for animation (evidenced by the minimum required length of 4 minutes for any submission). Despite that, we took the challenge and succeeded! And we did it using Blender 2.5.

On the Friday night when the contest started, we received the genre "Adventure Serial." Then, all 48 teams in the Richmond area were told that we had to include a character named "Dwight or Dannette Williams, Party Planner", a prop of a CD, and the following line of dialog: "How do I look?" With all of those elements, we had 48 hours to produce our film. With an international team of 30 members, this is the animation that we produced:

Also, for kicks, some of our team members did timelapse screencasts of their work during the weekend and posted them online:

Timelapse 1

Timelapse 2

Timelapse 3

Timelapse 4

Thanks for viewing!

Jason van Gumster (Fweeb)

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. Astonishing stuff!Well done!!
    It would be great if you would finish the story and fine tune some of the animations,that'd be awesome!
    My favourite parts are the black and red 2D shots,the animation is so fluid in those!

  2. Frank N. Blunt on

    "chuckles" The waddle run is good. Yes, the voice(s) are annoying as intended. Nobody has any hair. Must be due to the time constraints but maybe another plot point to explain?

  3. @bob
    mmmmmm... I can still taste the sugar/nitrate mix

    Yes get the t-shirt. You'll be the coolest little commie on the block!

  4. Next year I'll be much more prepared! I certainly learned a lot. Using 2.5 in a highly optimized atmosphere like that *really* felt like I was on a real Blender Foundation Open Movie Project. So even if I wasn't the most skilled person on the team, I had a blast going through the motions and seeing people work with SO MUCH SPEED THAT IT BLEW MY MIND. So.. yeah.. Blender is definitely for big boys -- make no mistake.

    Best quote from fweeb while we were on video chat "Durian just finished rendering! But hey, maybe they should stop complaining about losing sleep because we just made half their movie.. in two days!"

  5. I am assuming that the 48 hours includes render times as well? Seeing as how this is a film competition and not an animation competition, it makes it somewhat biased against animation. I think you did a great job and you really show creative thinking to make an story with interesting visuals that where designed to make the project fit the timeline. Great Job!

  6. 3dementia (reformed n00bie) on

    Wanted to add my congratulations to the list! This team is like a who's who list of Blender, if you all worked on a short together for 6 months or something......can you say Oscar?

  7. If I worked on a film with them for 6 months, I'd be super fat from all the BBQ, Gummy Bears and bacon. Not that I'm complaining, that's 3 of my favorite food groups.



  8. This is just brilliant. I love the solutions used to speed up the process and really, they all add to the feel of the piece and integrate perfectly with the mood and story.

    Great job!

  9. Je suis impressionné par la réalisation c'est vraiment super pour si peu de temps.
    congratulation 48 hour for this :-o woooo.
    And thanks for the timelapse :-).


  10. Great characters and great universe.

    But as you proberly know it could be perfect with a few hours with a more tight action editing and some serious sounddesign which will support the story points. The current music just irons everything out.

    The somewhat weak audioquality of the voice recordings could be improved by mixing enviromental sounds and music higher - that way the voice the blend into a "room" of audio - if you understand what I mean? As it is now it doesn't really blend in with the animation - and I start wondering how the guy doing the voice acting looks etc.

    That said - it is quite an a task to succed with that much high quality work in 48 hours.


  11. @tin2tin: Thanks for the suggests! About the voice-acting fidelity, it was recorded to sound like an older, lower-quality show. But you are right, a lot of improvements could be made to the animation, or adding an environmental effect to the voices, etc., but the gem of it is that we made it in 48 hours, and from this we've learned so much. This knowledge can help us on other projects, including the next 48 Hour Film Festival. Cheers!

  12. Stamjen Vkotyak on

    yall should release a version without all the padding you guys did to hit the minimum length... it would be far more enjoyable without all the padded shots.

  13. Fantastic work! I participated on last years project, which was heaps of fun. This is way more impressive though - I especially love the side on shots. Who animated these?

  14. @Bob Holcomb Do you have a website of your own? By the way, I liked your Siggraph lecture about compositing with nodes and rotoscoping a spaceship. Do you still have the .blend for that project. I want to learn rotoscoping with Blender away from Aftereffects.

    @To_the_team Thank you guys for the experience to sit in on your irc, redmine, and tinyroom session. It reminded me of Chase Jarvis live stream sessions of his photo shoots.

    Did you guys use Meta-Rig and/or Skeleton Sketching in 2.5?

  15. @Jdob - Yes, we had to render the entire film within the 48 hours as well. I don't think I mentioned it in my write-up, but we rendered in HD (720p). :P

    @Billrey - Most of the side shots were animated by Jarred de Beer. We spent an enormous amount of time laughing each time he committed a new one to SVN.

    @Whimsy Collective - Thanks for dropping in and watching us work/become insane. Regarding the rigs, everything from the neck down on the characters was done with Meta-Rig. The rest of the face was actually a basic bone-based arrangement that I like to use. We didn't have a huge need for Etch-a-ton, but were I to do it over again, I might actually skip the Meta-Rig templates and rig the whole character myself. Meta-Rig still needs a bit of polish before it's ready for mass consumption. More importantly, I lost a bit of time because I didn't always know how all of the templates were set up... so when the rigs broke or behaved unexpectedly, I had to reverse engineer the templates and see how they work before I could actually get to resolve the issue. That said, Meta-Rig is definitely a powerful concept and I look forward to using/extending it when it's done.

    @Everyone - Thanks so much for taking the time to watch our short (and your kind words)! It was an incredibly fun challenge to work on. As a slight update, our film made the cut to be shown with 11 others in the 'Best of Richmond' screening, which happens this Sunday, 1 August (tomorrow). If you're in or near Richmond, Virginia, you should *totally* come out to the Byrd Theatre and watch it. Details are on the Richmond 48 Hour Film Project website ( Who knows? Maybe we'll win an award?

  16. Out freakin standing! Simply amazing! Superlatives fail...

    Let anyone say that Blender is the wrong tool and they can go back to digging coal. Blender is here to stay.

    The people who did this effort have great futures in store for them.


  17. @tin2tin

    Wow nothing like just seeing this, found it cause I was looking for something else related.. I wanted to touch on your comments with sound design, the main thing being that we just ran out of time. There is a remixed version of the audio that already probably was a significant improvement, namely I just spent another hour or so just remixing it with the final music pieces. I wanted to keep the feel of the 48 hours, but yes the overall mix still bugged me. I was looking around to see if I could find a version with it available, but it doesn't seem to be up on the internets.

    In as far as vocal recordings, yes this was an intentional design choice, one which I questioned again later on, but by that point was to late to change it. The reason was I wanted this to feel in many ways like one of the 1960s cartoons (Thor, Captain Maerica, etc.) so I took what were great recordings done by Althea, and then modified them to match the sound, both via EQ as well as introducing a not insignificant amount of tape saturation to it. I decided not to take it all the way, and as a result you still end up with a cleaner sound than those cartoons had, but still carrying the feel. The 'Hero' voice I never did quite get to what I wanted but overall I think on the announcer especially this helps to carry the 'image'.

    In as far as the music, I actually really like the music Derek composed. It was severely hurt primarily by the overall mix(My responsibility) but I was a big fan of it, especially as it had its own voice and character that distinguished itself from what I would consider typical fare for action cartoons, listening to it I am more drawn back to 1950s film noir detective movies than anything, which I realize not everyone will like, it is just something I do like in this context as it implies more is going on than is given away in this short 4 minute animation.

    So in essense, you and I agree that the overall mix can be improved, but we disagree with design choices:) Such is life, of course being that I am responding many months after the fact, who knows if you are even going to get to see this;)


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