The Maze Runner

This ident, inspired by a teaser poster for The Maze Runner, was created using Adobe Illustrator, Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects.

The After Effects Cell Pattern effect set to Tubular, and with a very low Disperse value provided the basis for the maze pattern. The Size was also set low


The Cell Pattern layer was precomposed and scaled up using the Scale transform parameter.

The Levels effect was then applied and adjusted to crush the greyscale values, leaving only black and white. This sharp, geometric look wasn’t possible to create using Cell Pattern alone. Also, if I scaled the cells using the Cell Pattern effect Size parameter, this step would have resulted in cells with curved ends not square.

The resulting image was saved and imported into Illustrator, where it was traced using the Black and White Logo setting.


Once traced the resulting image was expanded to make the paths editable.

The black background was deleted, leaving only the maze shapes.

Various shapes were combined by overlapping their paths and uniting them using the Pathfinder Unite mode. This step took a while because there were a lot of sections that needed to be combined to create a convincing maze, including a large amount of single squares that had to be extended and united with other paths.

The trace wasn’t always perfect either so a number of rogue points needed to be cleaned up.  Again it was a little tedious but much better than building a maze from scratch.

The finished maze ended up being 21,000 x 16,000 pixels because I wanted to the flexibility to play with different angles in Cinema 4D and not show the edges of the maze. Notice in this shot I created a space for the title by deleting paths.

The title was created by duplicating and adjusting existing paths.

The Illustrator file was saved into separate files for the maze and the logo, then imported into Cinema 4D and extruded. A Floor object was placed behind the maze.


Materials from Pixel Lab Material Pack were used for the logo and maze and the floor.


Warm and cool area lights were placed either side of the camera. Both were set to cast shadows. Object buffers were added for the maze, the logo and the background before rendering using a multi-pass render.

MazeRunner_18 Inside After Effects the Curve effect was applied to the floor pass to make it more yellow.

Curves was also used on the maze to darken the midtones and shadows and add some subtle colour correction.

The Curves effect applied to the logo was animated to match the maze at the start of the animation and be lighter at the end, to enhance readability.


I would have preferred to have the title more like this where it’s more integrated, but the promo required that the title be clearly readable!

The Selective Color effect was used to isolate and enhance the cyans to make them more prominent. This is a really useful and under-used effect for fine tuning colour in After Effects.

To finish, the Exposure effect was used to brighten up the overall image.

In the final animation I left space below the title to add the broadcast dates and details. I also worked in HD even though this was an SD project, to give me the flexibility to resize and reposition the final render.

  1. ciaran

    Great use of the cell pattern effect to get it all started, would’ve taken me a week to discover that part…

    • John Dickinson

      I discovered that technique while experimenting!

  2. Robert

    Awesome technique for creating mazes. This was such a coincidence, because i was just in the process of brainstorming idea for animating the logo for my start up business, which is a maze 🙂

    • John Dickinson

      That’s great Robert, hopefully this technique will come in handy then!

  3. Mark Shingleton

    That’s very clever John – a great result too. I must get back into the experiments!

  4. hareketli grafik

    its simple but effective (: thanks

  5. Bob

    Hi, looks great. I’m interested in Cinema 4D for motion graphics and titles – but which version / which version would work to use in your tutorials? Do you recommend Broadcast or the full version?

    • John Dickinson

      Thanks Bob. You can create effective titles and motion graphics with the broadcast version. I use the full studio version in my tutorials.
      Best, John.

      • Bob

        Thanks John. The full version is something I may consider. Have also been looking at your MLG 7 & 8 tutorials.

  6. Nathan Adegboyega

    I wanna be like you John Dickinson! 🙂

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