As promised, this post is a lot lighter on the technical details and a lot heavier on the images! Getting better reference images for the link building was a big win. (Again, that’s the tiny linkage between the Great Hall complex and the marble staircase tower.) I knew what it looked like after the third film, but the first three films had a different design for the link building and there are no good shots of it in the films. I had nearly given up on accurately reproducing it.
But now that’s all changed! Feast your eyes on the SS/COS/POA link building!
It’s the short wall toward the bottom right. Okay, so, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but hey, it’s nice to solve that mystery. (Now if only I could find a good shot of the adjacent wall of the Chamber of Reception…) I also discovered that the link building roof is in fact just the end of the Great Hall balcony. Check it out from above:
I never would have guessed! After the third film, the link building had its own separate roof and the Great Hall was lowered so the balcony wasn’t level with it.
The next step was to finally close off the front of the quad building, just to the right of the link building and the marble staircase tower. There’s always been this gaping hole right there in my model and it was a joy to simply add a wall there, let alone all the cool details on top of it. I also put the finial on top of the tower in the corner at long last; it had been sitting there all open-ended and weird-looking for almost a year!
I even added in the stone bridge, visible at the bottom right. For now, it doesn’t go anywhere, but it’ll ultimately become one of the three walking paths between the two halves of the castle. Here’s a closer shot:
I also did a nighttime render of the angle from before. This inspired me to do some more work on the castle’s nighttime lighting, deciding which windows would be lit based in part on screencaps from the films.
I couldn’t help myself – I had to position the camera down at the water level to mimic some of those first shots of the castle in Sorcerer’s Stone. Not gonna lie, I’m really digging this look.
Next steps? Haven’t decided just yet. I do still need to detail the clock tower and hospital wing, around the back side of the quad building…I also think I’m going to need to start doing a bit of manual texture painting on the castle to get the vertical streaking caused by rain and so forth over the years. Currently, the castle textures are 100% procedural – in other words, the software generates them by following complex rules I’ve set up – but that doesn’t seem to be cutting it with the vertical streaks. Fortunately, Blender allows us to mix and match, so I can keep the overall look procedural while just painting in the vertical streaks by hand. Maybe I’ll try that next.