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YouTuber Billy Cobb Explains How He Recreated Fallout's Intro in Blender

Billy Cobb, a popular YouTuber and experimental musician, talked about his experience in animation and approach to learning Blender and offered an inside look at the working process behind his recreation of the famous Fallout intro.

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My name is Billy Cobb. I am firstly a musician with over 30 albums and EPs who likes to make things in whatever genre or style I'm feeling at the time but mostly fall into the alternative rock category.

I am also a YouTuber with a channel under my name, where I post pretty much whatever I feel like making, whether that be music, memes, reviews, rankings, opinions, skits, animations, etc. I mostly get my following from the comedy and meme content I post, but a lot of people come and stay for the music too. My channel is pretty much just me.

Taking Up Animation as a Hobby

I started animating in Blender because I've always been somewhat of an aspiring filmmaker and always had a lot of visions and stories I felt needed to be seen.

Making music from home is easy because you can do everything by yourself, localized entirely in one room. Filmmaking is an entirely different beast because it relies on so much else, it relies on other people for acting, lighting, and so on. It relies on actually filming at different locations and getting permission to use those locations, it requires a whole dimension of visual work outside of just the audio, and overall, it's just a lot more expensive.

A good solution to all of this, or at least a start, is animation. Animation allows you to bring your visions to life while having that isolation and personal freedom. I started animating to bring my ideas to life without the struggle of every other factor that comes with live-action filmmaking. Before making actual animation, I started with Machinima. Since I was a kid, I loved watching people bring their skits and visions to life in video games, especially in Halo, with creators like Lyle Rath (then GuitarmasterX7), Jon CJG, and Darknal.

Around the time I was 10, I started experimenting with making machinimas of my own, and around 2020 or so, I realized that I could do so much more with my visions if I could animate anything I wanted, so I picked up Blender because it was free and I had seen a lot of cool things made with it.

Instead of doing a typical "course" style learning introduction, I wanted to envision what I wanted to make and learn only the necessary steps to create that specific vision. If I wanted something to look a certain way or do a specific thing, I would simply look up a tutorial for that exact purpose. Here's my first animation:

I continued to do this for all of my projects, and as you do this, you pick up a lot of tips and tricks along the way to just naturally include in your workflow. The more you learn over time, the more it comes naturally to you, and the better your projects look. You also start seeing things in animation that you've never seen before, or you consider how certain aspects were done.

Blender is particularly great because not only is it free, but there are a ton of add-ons that you can download or buy to make the workflow a lot easier and get some great results. I highly recommend the software for anyone looking to get into animation, it may seem like a lot going into it, but when you take things one at a time, it's not so bad.


I started the Fallout intro project because I had made a few video game-based animations before, but I was really itching to make a Fallout one since it's one of my favorite gaming franchises. Whenever I'm playing a great game, especially an older game, I get these visions in my head of what I would do with a live-action adaptation of the game. In my case, the best way to realize some of these visions is to make certain aspects of the game look more realistic through animation.

I got this same feeling with Fallout 1. It has such an incredible intro, maybe the best in the franchise, and overall one of the best I've seen in video games. I couldn't help but wonder how cool it would be to see that intro with more realistic visuals, given that the original is a bit dated.

The intro perfectly sets up the Fallout universe and its overarching themes and iconography, it's hard to think of another example of Fallout media that does a better job of representing the series as a whole. I've also started a CGI movie trailer-type thing for Fallout: New Vegas, but that's for another time.

Workflow & Main Challenges

The way I approached making the ruined environment was to turn it into three layers. The front layer with the destroyed room where the camera is, the middle layer consists of some nearby buildings presumably across the street, and the background layer is the destroyed skyscrapers in the distance.

Something about me in terms of animations is that I'm not particularly a great modeler. I do all the animations, lighting, setup, etc., but most of the assets I source elsewhere unless I need them to be very particular, which usually involves the environment.

For this particular project, the background buildings, items, and characters were free models sourced from multiple 3D sharing sites like Sketchfab, CGTrader, or BlenderKit. That being said, I do often retexture the models to look more realistic as was the case for the power armor here.

Actually, I did some modeling for this particular project. I modeled some of the main room of the front layer as well as the main structure of the building behind the power armor soldiers.

As I mentioned before, if I need something to be very particular, especially in the case of a remake like this, I often resort to modeling things myself. Modeling things similarly to their original form is a challenge for me, but one that sometimes is certainly necessary.

Aside from the modeling, a big challenge was just getting the proportions and angles right for everything to match the original intro. This is especially hard when you're taking something stylized, like the Fallout intro, and translating it into something that looks more realistic.

When you're trying to create a remake like this, faithful to the original, you have to nail the framing and lighting in order for it to fit in. This doesn't just involve camera positioning and focal length, but also the geometry itself has to be close enough that it matches the framing of the original. This is often where custom modeling comes into play.

The Animation

The first step of the whole animation was recreating and rendering the television broadcast, that way, when it was done, I could add it as an Emission Texture on the TV. I recreated every part of the broadcast except for the Vault Boy animation, which I still edited. I wanted every part of it to look more realistic than the original.

Of course, the most challenging part of recreating the broadcast was the footage of two soldiers executing the Canadian soldier. This was not only challenging to recreate environmentally and properly to scale, but particularly the animation itself.

It was also probably the part of the animation that I was most looking forward to recreating because I think it's some of the most powerful imagery of the original. My main goal was to make it look like real footage, or at least more realistic than the original. The character movement in the original is definitely unnatural and dated quite a bit, and I wanted the movement in mine to feel more like actual people. My first attempt was motion capture using a single-camera AI mocap, but I just couldn't get proper results.

I resorted to the old reliable Adobe Mixamo. Mixamo is a great resource for basic, easy, and realistic character animation, and I use it for a lot of projects. The only issue with this though is that it can be quite limiting, and it can be difficult to seamlessly combine animations. For this project, I "Frankensteined" a bunch of animations together on the characters as well as some manual animation to get the result you see in the video.

Unfortunately, due to limits and just overall timing with more realistic movements, I do realize that some of the reactions and movements of the original are missing, but I just like to see that as my own spin on it.


For lighting, I wanted to make sure the color palette, time of day, and light direction were the same as the original.

I used a sunset HDRI and positioned it so the sun was facing in the proper direction. However, this wasn't enough to set the atmosphere. On top of this, I also enclosed the entire scene in a cube with a Volume Scatter modifier, which adds a sort of fog. I use this method with a lot of my animations, as it adds a lot of density and just an overall better atmosphere to the piece. It was especially important for this piece because, without it, it looked too clean.

It's a bit challenging to nail the lighting with this, especially with an HDRI, as you have to turn the brightness way up, and the light doesn't affect the environment the same way, but you can make it work.

While providing some good depth and atmosphere, Volume Scatter can drown out some of the colors, but some post-processing will fix that right up. For this project, I turned up the contrast a bit to bring out the shadows, as well as added a bit of a more "apocalyptic" orange hue.


This project took about a week to make in total. Most of the time was spent animating, texturing, modeling, and positioning. The actual rendering wasn't too bad, except for the final render which took about 20 hours. Overall, I'd say the biggest challenge was to make it look as close to the original as possible in both looks and framing.

My word of advice for anyone looking to start Blender would be to take things one at a time. Have an idea of what you want to make and only learn what you need to do for that specific project. Do this project by project, and before you know it, you won't be looking up much anymore.

One other thing: look into add-ons, because while Blender is free and has very versatile and amazing tools, add-ons can make the work process so much easier and quicker.

Billy Cobb, 3D Animator/YouTuber

Interview conducted by Theodore McKenzie

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