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Battle for NY - Tripod Animation


Stefano SottoZen writes:

Hi everyone,

just made this video and I decided to share it with you even if it's not made using only Blender3D.

I tried to simulate smokes, fire, and explosions using Blender and, even it has improved a lot, it is still pretty hard to use in production because of the rendering time.

So I decided to add all VFX later in post-production. The problem doing so is that you don't have a "real" integration with your 3D scene, so I added few animated point lights in Blender, everywhere a fire or explosion was. This made it easier than trying to achieve the same result using After Effects masks.

The Tripods were modeled using the non-destructive hard surface method. I am pretty new at this and I have to say I had a lot of fun modeling this bad guy :)

After applying all the modifiers, the geometry of my model was too heavy to be animated with real-time feedback so I prepared a "low-resolution model" using the decimate modifier.

The rig I made it by myself. Very simple, direct "bone parenting" for all the mechanical parts and Bendy bones with weight painting for the feet and tentacles.

The background footage I used was filmed during a visit to New York in 2018. I used a DJI Osmo for all the walking camera scenes and a DJI Phantom drone for the aerial ones.

I tracked all the scenes in AE because for this kind of footage it is very fast and effortless and then, using the AE2BLEND plugin I imported all the camera data into my Blender files. (Unfortunately, this plugin is not updated to the latest version of Blender so I used a 2.80 for all the tracking and then, appended the collection into 2.91)

Rendering was made using EEVEE, exported as a PNG sequence, and then composited with all other VFX using Adobe After Effects.

Smokes, fire, and explosions were from various Vfx libraries I bought on the web, like the "Action Essentials" from

Sounds, music, and final editing were made in Adobe Premiere.
Thanks for watching ( and reading) :)

Have a great day.
Stefano - SottoZen

About the Author

Stefano Milani

I love 3D animation, VFX, and filmmaking. You can watch my animations on my YouTube channel SottoZen. Thanks for watching!


  1. Very awesome. Great job on working out a good solution for the structural mechanics and locomotion of three legs. I have tried this and found it challenging to get right ;)

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