Scorch Trials

In 2014, director Wes Ball extended another invitation to collaborate, this time to help establish the appearance of the formidable Cranks. As one of the original designers on the film, I played a crucial role in laying the groundwork for the design. Later on, the talented teams at StudioADI and Weta Digital joined the project and brought the Cranks to life in both makeup and CGI effects.

The Scorch Trials

After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

The Scorch Trials | Trailer

Whose side are you on? Watch the official trailer for The Scorch Trials.

THE SCORCH TRIALS - Crank Creature Designs!

Collection of concept designs I did for THE SCORCH TRIALS. Unfortunately some of the designs ended up too scary for a PG-13 rated film, so we had to adjust the final look a bit.

First Sketch

Wes was quite specific about what he wanted in the Crank design but he also encouraged me to add additional ideas. Based on his notes I created this first sketch. Additionally I came up with a nasty idea of how this parasitic virus could spread from host to host. It was a bit far fetched but a good start base though.

Sketch Number Two

Wes was interested in seeing a range of different suggestions. The beginning of creating a design is always the hardest part. Brainstorming many different ideas is very helpfull in order to find a direction.

Early Crank Design

Besides the time pressure, designing the Cranks involved many challenges. Cranks are no zombies, the design needed to convey that. Wes wanted them to look grounded and scary without any crazy body deformations. A way to accomplish that is built something on top of it's skin. We came up with the idea of sprouts which overgrow the body like ivy.


An other problem we were soon facing consisted to beware a too gory design in order to avoid a R rating of the film. Nevertheless they needed to look aggressive and very scary, so there were a few limitations.


Wes liked this sketch very much. This sketch set the direction we wanted to go, however it was a bit too far down that road.


For me it was much fun to come up with a plausible explanation of how this ''virus'' operates. The initial idea was that this soft, slimy tissue grows inside the stomach of the host and eventually finds it's way out. Released in oxygen, it soon hardening into a gristle like horn-structure, which feeds on the skin of the host in order to grow even more.

Sleeping Cranks

Pencil Concept.

Crank Movements

In attempt to make them look more animalistic I imagined them moving with all four limbs. Nevertheless they can run extremely fast.

3D Crank

Using 3D softwares alows me to present the design in a very photorealistic way. I sculpted and textured the model in Zbrush and used Modo for the rendering. Actually it was Wes who suggested me the Modo software.

Crank Anatomy

The 3D model and my sketches served as reference for Weta Digital and StudioADI.

Face Option

3D Concept.

Stages Of Infection

Pencil sketch illustrating different stages of an infected human. It starts with sickness and stomachache, veins begin to darken and pulse. The black substance finally finds its way out and human slowly transforms into a gruesome monster.

Other Crank Options

Pencil Sketches.

Body Options

Other variations.

Early Infection Stage

Some more grounded Crank variations which illustrates an earlier infection stage.

Face Options

It was pretty challenging to come up with different looks, but it was important that the Cranks seperate from each other.

Final Design

It was important for Wes to remain some remnants of humanity in the design so that we felt pity for these creatures.

Scorched City

The Gladers arrive the Scorched City.


Scorched Landscapes.

Lightning Storm

My take on the lightning storm.

Crank Nest

Vegetated underground tunnel.

Collapsed Building

Interior of the collapsed building.

San Diego Comic Con Poster

Wes Ball has released this poster on the 2014 SDCC. It's actually a Concept Painting by Wayne Haag. I added various details to it, like the collapsed buildings, some rubble and the running people.

Griever Embryos

Some unused designs I did for The Maze Runner. Luckily we got to see these cuties in the second film.

Griever Deformations

''It looked like an experiment gone terribly wrong...''

Siamese Griever

Pencil Sketch.