Grievers - 'The Maze Runner'

Hi everyone!

I come to this forum very often for reference, inspiration, and to see what the community is doing, but I haven’t posted here for a long time.
However, for years now Zbrush has been the principle and pivotal tool for my work and I’m happy to share some work that I just got the breakdowns for.

These shots are from 'The Maze runner’ movie.
I was in charge of sculpting/modeling the ‘griever’ creature(s), and Kyeyong Peck was in charge of the texture work.
So many people worked on this film, that it’s too many to mention, but if you guys want to know more about the project, and our roles, please check out this link:

I did not work alone on all 6 legs of the creature; our lead modeler, Ian Sorensen, did an amazing job elaborating the leg design, together with Mike Yip, Adam Muratoff and myself. The mechanical tail was done by me.
We used ZBrush on so many different assets on this show, but for now I am just posting the creature work.

The creature design was by the talented Ken Barthelmey, whose artwork can be found online.

This link here is interested more in the animation and creature simulation work done on this show:

<iframe src=“” webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder=“0” height=“281” width=“500”></iframe> paulo Welter - modeling reel - the Maze Runner - Griever from pauloWelter on Vimeo.

Thanks for watching!






Great work Paulo! Awesome team effort for a stunning creature. Love to see some zbrush screenshots if you can

Thanks for your comment, Samurai.
I really would like to post some Zbrush screenshots to show the sculpt work, but the studio didn’t give me clearance yet.





Thanks for watching!

cool creature. i haven’t seen the movie yet, but i probally should give it a go :).
btw. did you get 2d or 3d concepts from ken, to work from?


Hi rasmusW,

Thanks for your comment.
In answer to your question, I got a lot of 2d concepts. I think they’re all online by now.
I remember a concept from a 3d model with some 2d over it, but I built the animation model from scratch.
I sculpted the head late into production.
There was a physical griever model used on set. The tongue on the model I built was sculpted using reference photos. I don’t know the sculptor’s name though.
The stinger I built for the legs (at 00:39), I modeled from an actual prop.
So I actually ended up working from a lot of different sources.

We did get a lot of 3d concepts from the director Wes Ball for other elements, such as the shot of the maze from above. He has experience using 3d animation packages.


Hi Paulo,

excellent work.
I looked this movie yesterday evening and was very impressed from the design and animation of the Grievers.

CU :wink:

Hi HarryBee, Thanks for your comment.
Yeah, the credit goes to Ken Barthelmey - he came up with the visual translation of the griever from the book.
Then we got to take it to an animation model, translating his design in the modeling process.
And our animation director and team did a fantastic job, I agree.


Really outstanding work! Love the organic/mechanical contrast of the creature.

Fantastic job, Paulo. I love what your team did with the Grievers! You brought them to life.
Many thanks.

Hi Rettich, thanks so much!
It was fun to do something that had both of those elements, together.

And hi also to Ken, thanks for stopping by and commenting too!
Once again, congratulations on the creature design, and all of the other designs you did for the movie.
All your work was looking really cool.


Thank you! :slight_smile:

Hi everyone,

I was finally able to get some images of the Zbrush sculpt for this guy.

These are a few shots of the head, when it was getting close to final.

Thanks for viewing!

Cheers :smiley:


we also used this kind of sculpt in some shots:

I had seen the Film and the Grievers were amazing. Great Job!

Thanks Dan!

I’ll be posting more stuff soon.


really amazing!

Thanks Brii!

we’ll be posting more stuff soon. Not creature related though.


cool stuff, can’t wait to see more :slight_smile:

Hey there,

My name is Ian Sorensen and I was the Lead Modeler for the Maze Runner project. It was a pleasure to work with the talented artists that brought this project to life. It was a very challenging project but I believe we are all proud of the end result.

Along with leading the Modeling and Texturing team, I helped design the functionality of the Grievers telescoping legs with our animator Daniel Mizuguchi, and rigger Russel Smith. I also helped model some of the Grievers legs, sculpted blocks for the maze, and created various artwork for the show.

Since Paulo shared his amazing work on the Griever, I thought I would share a little bit on how we used Zbrush to help bring the environments to life. In Maze Runner we had lots of aged stone and concrete and Zbrush was used to sculpt the weathered surfaces and create the various bump/normal/displacement maps for rendering in Vray. Zbrush was also used to create geometry using Zremesher. Since the geometry for environment didn’t need to deform, the topology we got from Zremesher was more than suitable which saved us lots of time. We also use Zbrush to work with the various Lidar that we recieved to create the assets.

An interesting note for the maze blocks is that the FX artists used the the cracks and crevices we sculpted to “grow” the ivy on the blocks. The ivy would search for these cracks on the model and grow in a realistic manner! Houdini was used to create the ivy.

Thanks so much for viewing!!