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How an AK-47 Works

By November 15, 2017January 5th, 20183D 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!


  • Béla says:

    Hi, is this model for sale?

  • Kishor says:

    Which font is used in this video? I mean in wiring that Primer Compound and all, which font is used? I know about the Glock’s font, but unable to find which one is on this. I’m loving it, please let me know.

    • Kishor says:

      Thanks Matt. I just wanted to let you know that I love your videos man. Extremely waiting for that AC Videos. You’ve set an example to other 3D Animators on YT by achieving over 100 Million views on one of your videos. What makes me sad is, because of no voiceover, your subscription rate on that particular video was too low. Otherwise, that video alone would have easily given you 1 million subs. Anyways, keep shocking us with such amazing vids. Best Wishes from India.

      Professor Of How (Also a local 3D Animator on YouTube, Just a beginner still).

      • Thank you so much man, that really means a lot 🙂 I’m sure the AC video won’t get anything near what the Glock/AK videos got as far as views go. There just aren’t huge HVAC communities out there haha. I just want to make sure I diversify my content as much as I can. I absolutely never thought in a million years I would create a video that would get over 100 million views!

        So you think if I would have had a voiceover on the AK-47 video, I would have gotten more subscriptions? I love to hear people’s feedback on this! Maybe I will do a poll on YouTube as well 🙂

        Can you provide a link to your channel? Would love to see some of your content as well!

    • Kishor says:

      ha ha ha… I also voted and my party won the election it seems. 79% (including me) said they need voiceover in your videos.

      BTW, mine is a Hindi (Indian National Language) based channel. So, just bear it if you don’t get the voiceover. Anyways, here’s the channel –

      And, when to expect that AC Video?

      • Thanks man I really appreciate the vote! It looks like I’ll definitely be doing a voiceover for this one 🙂

        You have some nice animation! I definitely like what you did with the grenade animation. It’s very informative.

        I’m really trying to finish up the AC as much as I can. Maybe within the next month if I’m lucky. I am just wrapping up the storyboard. Then I’ll finally get to animate everything.

    • Kishor says:

      Thanks for the appreciation. Again, eagerly waiting to learn How AC Works via. 3D Animation.

  • 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:

    • 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?)

    • Thanks so much man! Yeah I really should do a tutorial. Is there a specific area within the AK-47 animation you’re interested in?

      • billy the kid says:

        hey mat any way I can get the files for this ak model ive been searching the internet for days trying to find ak model that has the stock that screws into top two tangs on the top and bottom but your model is the only one I found thats like that and I love ur videos and please make more gun videos about how they work

  • 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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