3D movie: A Rube Goldberg Machine

This project is a school assignment of Animation & Game Design Fundamentals. To complete this project, I needed to use Maya (Software) to build the object, set up lighting, made animation and then used After Effect (software) to produce the movie.

Duration of this project: 1 month.


Before I worked on the computer, I needed to gather the requirement for this project. I did not know what a rube Goldberg machine was when I was assigned to this project. Therefore I did research on this topic online. I watched YouTube video of 3D movies and live action movies about a Rube Goldberg machine. From these movies, I learned the basic concept of the Rube Goldberg machine.

The first step of this project is to design a whole machine. I quickly drawn the design concept of this machine on the paper and then discussed with my teacher. My teacher said this design concept was too complex to execute. I was able to produce this design concept to final movie, but it would take longer time than one month. I considered that I only had one month to complete this project; in addition, I also had to study two other courses and do my freelance projects in this one-month timeframe. Therefore, I accepted my teacher’s advice, kept this machine as simple as possible to make sure I could complete this project in one month.

Here is my design concept of a Rube Goldberg machine.

Design Concept
Design Concept

The next step of this project is to create the storyboard. Do you remember this project is a 3D movie? This project is not a 3D Rube Goldberg Machine. When I designed the concept of this machine on the paper, I had a vivid, detailed machine in my mind. This helped me to create the storyboard for this 3D movie before I moved on the computer to build the machine in Maya (software).

Here is my storyboard.


I reviewed both the storyboard and design concept, removed unrealistic parts from the storyboard or design concept, and added more details on the storyboard or design concept. Then I reviewed both the storyboard and design concept with my teacher and modified them until I satisfied them.

Finally, I moved on the computer to build the Rube Goldberg Machine: modeling, added material, set up lighting, set up animation keyframe etc. according to the design concept. Then I rendered and exported the pictures (24 pictures/second) in TIF format to my fold according to the storyboard.

I reviewed every picture to make sure every picture was perfect. I re-rendered the new pictures that replaced the old problem pictures when needed. Then I used Photoshop (software) to polish some pictures when needed.

After I satisfied every single picture, I imported all pictures to After Effect (Software), set up data, and then exported as a 3D movie.