Die Flucht follows the story of a lonely figurine, traveling on a fixed track, trying to catch a red balloon. When the machine breaks down, the boy comes to life, and attempts to finish the cycle he was originally destined to be on forever.

About the film

Die Flucht is a film I created my Senior year at DePaul University in Chicago. The inspiration for the film came from many different places. As a child, I loved building all sorts of contraptions, with whatever I could find. They didn’t always turn out the best though! So with this film, I wanted to revisit those roots, and make something unlike anything I’ve ever made. My one rule: it had to actually work. And so it does! Learn more about the machine below.

Kinetic Sculpture

Production Process

The production for the kinetic sculpture was unlike any environment I’ve ever made. There was a constant struggle, going back and forth between design and creation, in order to make a physically accurate, yet aesthetically pleasing sculpture. Keeping in mind that the sculpture also had to be an environment that would allow me to properly tell the story.

The kinetic sculpture was modeled, rigged, and animated all within Autodesk Maya.

Bake and Export

After the animation was complete, each piece of geometry had it’s animation baked for an entire cycle of the machine. Each Sub-System was then exported out as an animated .fbx file.  This allowed me to transfer the animation into Cinema4d and save out a .c4d file to use in Element 3d.

The remainder of the machine was static, so I exported it out as a single .obj file.

Element 3D

Once the export process was complete, each system had to be brought in using the .c4d files, along with the static .obj file. In order to save myself a lot of time, I opted to use Video Copilot’s Pro Shaders 2 bundle to do the majority of the texturing within Element 3D.


Peter is a plaster figurine, sculpted and painted by the inventor of the kinetic sculpture. The inspiration for Peter came from the inventors childhood memories of his grandmother’s German Hummel figurines.

The model was blocked out, sculpted, detailed, and textured by me, using Autodesk Mudbox. I then retopolized a low-res mesh inside of Autodesk Maya.

After the character was animated, I exported the animations in the form of OBJ sequences. The OBJ sequences were then brought into After Effects using Element 3D. I then set up the shader inside of E3D and applied the various maps.