About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Rymdreglage – 8-bit trip

By Shamus
on Saturday May 8, 2010
Filed under:


Thanks to the reader who sent me the link to this:

Link (YouTube)

According to the comments with the video, they spent 1,500 hours building and taking photos to make this thing.

I’ve often thought about the fact that you could set up a Lego scene in Blender. The smooth plastic of the pieces and lack of complex reflective interactions means that you could make something look almost indistinguishable from reality. (Or at least, it would be far, far easier to pull off than trying to make perfect-realism shots of (for example) flatware on a wooden kitchen table next to a glass of water.)

If you made some tools you could automate a lot of work, particularly when using legos to replicate 8-bit displays as they did in the latter part of this video. I think it would be an interesting exercise, although it would sort of defeat the entire purpose of the video. These things are as much a demonstration of tenacity as they are of skill, and automating it would take away that aspect of it.

Comments (32)

  1. Stephanie says:

    That’s pretty darn cool. Must have taken some kick arse storyboarding in their planning phase to stop everyone’s heads exploding, too.

  2. guy says:

    Some people have too much time on their hands.

    • Magnus Falk says:

      I get miffed when people write stuff like that. Instead of belittling the amazing creativity and tenacity that goes into a project like this can’t you find something positive to say? A “too much time” comment is of absolutely no value to anyone whatsoever.

    • Mike says:

      I think it’s time well spent – a video like this is very likely to get a large viral spread, so Rymdreglage will get much publicity which helps a lot with marketing their music.

    • Enno says:

      The truth is, we all have too much time on our hands. But some people use that time for awesome. For example, I read an estimate someplace that writing the entire Wikipedia (every page, every edit, in every language) together equals about as much time as Americans spend each year watching advertising on weekends. Or put in another way, the total annual time spent watching TV across the U.S. is enough time to make more than 130 million of these movies.

      So next time you’re sitting down to watch Lost, think about whether you also may have too much time on your hands.

      • Audacity says:

        …And that, dear children, is why I don’t have TV.

        Not to gang up on Guy, but I have to agree with those who say this was NOT a waste of time. I highly doubt they just sat down for 1,500 hours to crunch this out. It was probably a hobby project that took them ages to finally finish. If they used time they could have spent watching some insipid soap opera to produce this slice of awesome then I think it was well spent.

  3. neolith says:

    Very nice video – thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Jarenth says:

    That was one of the most absurdly amazing things I’ve watched in some time. Kudos to the creators.

  5. Ingvar says:

    That is astounding. I can, unfortunately, believe the “1500 hours”. But, still, astounding.

  6. Wonderduck says:

    Ears… bleeding

    Eyes… greatly amused!

  7. Joshua says:

    Which game were the Karate fighters from? They looked familiar.

  8. LintMan says:

    For those younger folks – the “TAC-2” mentioned in the video was a joystick made for the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 computers. It looked pretty much like just the lego joystick shown, and was the best one you could buy (IMHO). It sadly was prone to breaking, though, so I ended up buying at least 4 of them before my C-64 itself gave up the ghost.

  9. SteveDJ says:

    Impressive, but… sorry, I don’t buy it being built by hand, and here’s why (IMHO):

    1) The scenes with rotation – the rotation retains the same speed and smooth-ness both when the object in focus is static, and when it is changing. I’m not convinced that can be done by hand.

    2) Several sequences have Legos built and sort of hanging (the early ‘leaping’ effects, the spiral, and the growing cube near the end, just to name a few). To attach the next piece(s) for the next shot(s), would move the other part of the structure. Legos aren’t that solid when assembled, so movement and additional compression would be impossible to avoid, and impossible to restore to original placement for the next shot. Yet in the video, the parts already built never move. So – I have real doubts that it could have been made by hand.

    However, I can still certainly believe that someone spent 1500 hours “building” (in software) the animation.

    • UtopiaV1 says:

      Huh, if they really did do it all by hand, then they’d probably be smiling at that comment, feeling flattered that their excellent handiwork looked so good that it had to be fake!

      Ah well, interesting vid, great way to stave off 5 minutes of work.

    • Jabor says:

      If you look at the “leaping” effects again, you’ll notice that the already-built stuff is in fact jiggling around between frames.

    • asterismW says:

      I didn’t see a single thing I wouldn’t believe couldn’t be done by hand.

      Wow, that was awkward. Let’s try that again:

      I totally believe it could, and was, done by hand. I don’t think the rotation effect would be all that difficult; it’s the camera that moves, not the scene. All they’d have to do is move the camera the same amount inbetween each shot. And it would be a piece of cake to rig the camera up on a track. It’s not like they’d take the camera away, change the scene, and try to line up the shot again. And I agree with Jabor, the pieces aren’t stock still, and do in fact jitter a bit.

      So, kudos to Rymdreglage. You guys did something that would drive me absolutely bonkers inside of ten minutes.

    • Shinan says:

      http://www.rymdreglage.se/8.html on that page there are a couple of “making of” photos. It seems a lot of parts were moving (camera, table, everything). They also had multiples of the figures shown.

  10. Josh R says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve got my lego out…

    Nope, still no desire to.

  11. theonlymegumegu says:

    My absolute favorite part is the pong bit.

  12. […] Amazing video, made mostly out of Lego, featuring all things related to the 8-bit era. I love the sprites from International Karate +, one of my favorite C64-games. The PacMan and Pong sequences are very well made too. (via twentysided) […]

  13. Zak McKracken says:

    I’d like to leave a serious comment discussing wether this thing could/should be automated in blender, but a large part of me is still screaming “THIS IS SOOOOOOOOO AWESOME” in my head that I think I’ll have to wait until the echo fades.
    Then I’ll watch it again, wait until that echo fades too. Repeat that until I can think normally again, and then weep for a day because I don’t value this great work as much as it deserves.

    And then maybe I can comment again.

  14. Josh R says:

    On replaying in highest definition, you can clearly see the reflections of other lego blocks on the sides of other ones. No idea how to code anything but I would imagine that would be pretty hard to do for every single block…

    • tfernando says:

      I’m not great with blender, but I think if you’re light sources and mats were set up correctly that wouldn’t be a problem. (I don’t see anything in the video that makes me think it wasn’t done by hand though). Perhaps someone with 3d experience could weigh in?

      But… 1500 hours is 3/4 of a full work year! If you’re willing to put that kind of effort into a 3 minute video, you’re probably also willing to build a rendering farm out of old boxes and raytrace everything! :)

    • Volatar says:

      Raytracing is only hard when your doing it in real time. You can do pre-rendered bits no problem.

  15. Steve C says:

    I think it was really lego that they filmed but they used software to plan out each frame. Having a computer generated template to build from is the only way I can imagine they could get the fluidity in some of the scenes. Especially the 2 dimensional scenes like the NES controller floating around in the background. So yes really built in lego, but designed via CAD.

  16. Meredith says:

    Doing this with a computer program would absolutely destroy the wow-factor. It would be just another shiny graphic and not really an accomplishment at all.

    These kinds of projects just blow me away for the sheer amount of effort and patience required. I have nowhere near the patience or finesse to do anything even approaching this level of awesome and I totally respect the people who do take the time.

    They spent 62.5 days’ worth of time working on this, so that we could spend 3 minutes watching it and go ‘cool’ before moving onto the next thing the internet has to offer. Just something to think about.

    Edit: Not that I haven’t also been amazed by computer programs before and I know how much effort they require. It just wouldn’t be the same, somehow.

  17. ZomBuster says:

    See this short movie for pretty good cgi lego:

    It’s still pretty noticeable but they do actually do stuff with it that is impossible with ordinary lego stop motion, which is cool.

One Trackback

  1. […] Amazing video, made mostly out of Lego, featuring all things related to the 8-bit era. I love the sprites from International Karate +, one of my favorite C64-games. The PacMan and Pong sequences are very well made too. (via twentysided) […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>