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Shadow Play Video Clip


By Jürgen and Martin Stern.

Jürgen and Martin write:

We wanted to do a video clip for a befriended band. Though we knew we wanted to create a 2D animation that resembles a shadow play, we had no clue (or any experience) what kind of animation tool we should use. At first we muddled with some 2D animation tools but didn't get anywhere near the desired visual effects: Especially the blurring (that you get when a prop or a character appears on the canvas) and a realistic-looking lighting was practically impossible to accomplish with 2D animation software.

Finally we familiarised ourselves with blender. Keeping in mind that we are certainly no pros but two enthusiasts with no animation experience and little spare time, we were impressed by the possibilities and the results blender offered us. We hope you like it, too.


  1. Don't you just hate it when somebody makes something amazing like that and then says "yeah, we have no animation experience and just did it in our spare time."  Yeah, whatever.

    That was very cool!

    •  Yes ! I felt the same thing ! The industrial level and the octopus reminds me the giant spider ! But the video clip is really great ! I loved the red light in the eyes of the octopus.
      Really cool animation and concept !

    • I know that nobody would ever believe us, but in fact we came across "Limbo" during our work on the video clip too, at a time at which the first scene was almost finished. The resemblance to Limbo actually caused us quite some headache and brought up some heavy discussions, as we (unfortunately) found "Limbo" to be an amazing game of great style, with which we neither wanted nor would have been able to compete. In the end, however, we decided to proceed, as working with Blender is just so much fun! I am really happy to read that people like the result. Thank you very much for your comments!

      •  Don't sweat the limbo, the style is thousands of years old if you get picky about it. Your take is amazing!

  2. Awesome. It is one of those pieces that is so good you don't care what application it was done in when you are watching it, it just becomes enjoyable for itself, which in turn is a compliment to Blender too. When the app becomes invisible, and the story shines, it has got to a good place. Top piece of work.

    •  I'm still undecided about the music. A lot of the timing of the visuals seemed keyed to the music. I'm sure the band does not want to hear that their music was the weak link... Its just a dated sound.

  3. Sixstringbass on

     > we are certainly no pros but two animation enthusiasts with no experience and little spare time < ...hilarious remark in regard to the what they created... One wonders what would have come of it if these guys could have spend more time on it... ;)All available thumbs up. I am impressed.

  4. this looks amazing, an old art form that needs to be recognised by more people.
    Source files are a must, could you please upload the source files to blendswap or another site making these files available to us.
    thanks in advance.

  5. Looks just like shadow puppetry. Very good work. Hats off.
    would be great if you share some setup insights you used to achieve the effect

  6. Dudes, that was sweet!  I love how you fit the feeling of the song!  Like those vehicle firing shots in rhythm to the song!  Nice touch!  And with no animation experience and in your spare time?  That's just awesome, guys!  What a way to make your debut!  I hope you have more ideas, because I'd like to see more works from you!  :D

  7. Christos Georgakas on

    I like this style of art.Reminds me of the Greek "Karagiozis" show which had figures of leather in a candle light and was very cool! well good job there even though i would prefer this kind of art with a song from red hot chilli peppers maybe? :)

  8. Very nicely achieved, really not sure about the music in the background,
    However the atmosphere is very inspiring.

  9. Ryanjohnsond on

    how long did it take from start to finish to make?  How long did you have to spend familiarizing yourself with Blender before you felt you could go into "Production" mode?

    •  About 9 months went by from the very first draft to the finished animation. We did not keep track of how many hours of our spare time actually went into the project during this period, but if I were forced to provide an estimation, I would say it must have been something about 300 hours. Approximately one third of the time we did sketching and drawing. Learning Blender was an ongoing process. At the very beginning, we used to tell a joke of Blender's learning curve having the shape of an overhang when start working with it. But once we had climbed it, we were just amazed about Blender's quality, functionality and efficiency / productivity. After some time, I found myself using (and missing) blender keyboard shortcuts in other software, too (without leading to the desired results, though). I would say it took us about 30 hours until we felt confident enough with Blender (and with the very specifc functions that we thought to be needed in order to implement this type of animation) to start working in "production" mode.

  10. Ok the gloves are off! I've watched this three times closely and I have a list of critiques:
    I could not find any flaws...  Anything that seemed off to me was explained by the shadow puppet style. The timing of some of the action seemed slow, but it really appeared timed to the music, so no foul there. I'm finding it very hard to believe this was do with no animation experience. It is simply amazing. It is one of the best short animations I've seen (an I've seen a lot)
    Most story driven animation work does not SHOW its application roots, the viewer sees a story, not an app. What makes it startling to learn that this was done is blender is that it was so well done. Being free, Blender has so many people are rendering stuff, a lot of it is (be honest) crap. This animation was clearly done by skilled people who had clear ideas and goals.
    I'm inspired and daunted at the same time. Its a high bar you have set!

    Great job!

  11. This is the kind of 3D work I love to see. Taking advantages of the medium and still retaining true artistic creativity.

  12. Excellent work all around!  Theme, visual execution, kickass music...  You guys are doing great things; please continue to do so!  :^)

  13. Well, this tips the awesome scale, particularly when talking about people who learned blender in their own time and set about making a most kick-ass production!  If I may be so bold as to offer a critique, it's the blurriness - it makes me want to reach for my glasses when I can see the screen perfectly well.  But that's all I can offer as an everyday viewer with no artistic qualifications.  Take your skills to the world and prosper!

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