Project Description

Virtual Rube Goldberg Machine #3: Happy Halloween!

A Halloween-Themed 3D Animated Rube Goldberg Machine

The third Virtual Rube Goldberg Machine I made is a Halloween themed 3D animation of a physical chain reaction. Apart from the first few seconds, I simulated every movement instead of animating it by hand. This way the resulting animation is not only physically plausible but as physically accurate as possible. This makes building a Virtual Rube Goldberg machine like this just as hard as building a real one.

I started to work on this personal project in 2015, but finished it just after Halloween 2016, because there were more important deadlines I had to meet. But to me it seems that this project profitted from me being able to work on it for such a long time.

  • Pumkin Jack-o-Latern out of Halloween themed 3D Animation
  • Pumpkin in Dramatic Lighting out of 3D Animation about Halloween
  • Happy Face Pumpkin Jack-o-Latern out of Halloween 3D Animation
  • Bones and Magic Spheres out of Halloween 3D Animation
  • Great Pumpkin Jack-o-Latern and Falling Dominoes in 3D Animation for Halloween

With a length of almost three minutes, this is the longest 3D animation I have made up until now. It also contains some mechanics I had not used before. Both of these things made the creation of the simulation especially challenging.

Creating a Virtual Rube Goldberg Machine about Halloween


After the first and second Virtual Rube Goldberg Animations, I needed some new challenges. I liked the Halloween theme a lot. So I decided to make this animation longer than the other ones, and to work on photorealism and a more dramatic lighting. Two more things I wanted to improve on were the background music and sound effects. For this video I created both of them myself.


Creating a 3D animated chain reaction is not that hard. But meeting a specific theme makes it a little harder. From overall look to background music I tried to make this entire video to feel like Halloween. To achieve the look I wanted, I had to work on creating more photorealistic materials and lighting in comparison to the other Virtual Rube Goldberg Machines. Because I wanted to avoid repetition, I had to think of elements I had not used before. This resulted in the ghost mechanic and some other variations.


All animation and simulation was done completely in Blender 3D. Everything was rendered using Cycles, which allowed for a relatively realistic look. To stay felxible all the time, I used procedural materials exclusively. Then I optimised the look using After Effects. This is Halloween” from the soundtrack of “Nightmare before Christmas” inspired the background music. It is my favourite film to watch on Halloween. Overall, the biggest challenge moght have been to render all 3500 Frames, which took quite some time.