How an AK-47 Works

By November 15, 2017January 5th, 2018 3D Modeling, Animation

It was back in October of 2014 that I started the AK-47 animation project. I can finally say that on this day of November 2017 it is finished! It has been quite a learning experience. When I started, I thought it was going to be something I could complete in a relatively short period of time. Little did I know, it would be 3 years later that I would put the finishing touches on it.

I have always enjoyed mechanical things and figuring out the best approach to show how things work. When I was in college, I created a Rotary Engine animation and Bowling Alley animation. The rotary engine video has been featured on both the Speed Channel and Jay Leno’s Garage. The success of these how-to videos drove me to create the AK-47 project. Not many people understand how many pieces are inside the rifle that make it work. I know there are a lot of rifle enthusiasts out there and thought it would answer the questions people have.

There are many different types of AK-47’s, but the version I chose to model after is the Type 2, released in 1949. With the help of Google images, online forums, and a game on Steam called World of Guns, I was able to model all the parts that make up an AK-47.

Type 2 AK-47

Modeling the AK-47

When it comes to 3D modeling and animation in general, my tool of choice is Cinema 4D. The AK-47 contains over 100 parts. When I started, I don’t think I realized I was going to be making that many pieces. And the difficult part was that each of those pieces needed to be the correct shape and size. When it came time to animate everything, I was going for realism, and didn’t want parts intersecting.

AK Parts

Most of my modeling starts with a low-poly mesh and applying a subdivision surface modifier to then achieve the smooth version of the model.

AK Low PolyAK High Poly

Rendering the AK-47

To achieve an even more realistic model, I decided that to use a 3rd party render engine. I had heard a lot of good things about Corona renderer, and thought I’d give it a try. I was blown away with its ease of use and how quickly it was to generate realistic looking materials.

Corona Materials

AK Closeup 1 AK Closeup 3 AK Closeup 4
AK Closeup 2










If you’ve got any questions about my process, please feel free to shoot me an email!


  • Fantastic content, we intend to do this on our very own blog site. Nice one for sharing.

  • Arfa says:

    Hey Matt so i’m trying to do a specific thing with the animation that a youtuber is doing called Invy (check him out if u don’t know what im talking about ) all what im trying to do is how to make a animation on the parts dislocated from the gun and grouped in a vertical form near each other and then everything comes back to the gun fast please check ( Invy ) youtube channel if u don’t know what im saying

    • Hey Arfa! I just checked out his channel, and wow this guy has some crazy skills! He’s definitely more talented than I am creativity-wise. He must have re-created those Fortnite guns, which in itself is already a lot of work. And obviously just came up with a creative way to place all those pieces inside the gun. What software are you using?

      For anyone wondering, he’s talking about this: https://youtu.be/dZWpVcGvP18?t=20

    • Arfa says:

      Hey Matt i wish i can talk to you more then posting messages because i really wanna know how he does it and what is the idea ? im dying to know

    • Arfa says:

      Matt he could be downloading models of the guns instead of recreating them I’m using Sony Vegas for normal edits and can work with After Effects for some crazy effects and i use CInema 4D but im still a new and

    • Hey Arfa, I would just contact him and ask how he created it. I really don’t know how he went about it. I don’t know that it’s possible to pull game assets like that, but maybe he knows something we don’t. I’d just shoot him a message and see what it says.

  • Bitupan Dowerah says:

    Wonderful work. impressive attention to details.

  • Tobias says:

    Nice work, but could you share your workflow or make a tutorial? (or could you recommend one?)

  • Yoonseo Kang says:

    Excellent animation Matt. This production quality and conceptual clarity is the future of education.

  • valdir jr says:

    Your work is wonderful. I was very impressed with the richness of detail and the way the animations are made. Congratulations!

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