A Little “Proof of Concept”

Golden eagles and moving staircases can get frustrating. Sometimes you just need to return to your comfort zone and make some turrets. That’s what led me to spend some time (for once) on a version of Hogwarts that’s NOT the one from the third film! We’re going all the way back to the beginning, to a simpler time before the back of Hogwarts got its elaborate clock tower and courtyard. We’re going back to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone!

In addition to giving me some relief from the project’s more challenging tasks, this gave me a chance to play a bit with this project’s whole primary purpose: providing 3D comparisons between different versions of the model. So I built a new version of the quad’s outer wall, but in its original state, before the hospital wing and clock tower and so forth were added for Azkaban. It’s very difficult to find information about this area of the original model, but I think I’ve been able to get a pretty close facsimile:

Still woefully incomplete, of course, but the cool thing is that I could keep the camera in the exact same spot and render a direct comparison with the (also incomplete) POA version:

This is the kind of stuff I want to get into when the project is reaching its final stages. I’d even like to let the camera glide slowly around the model as things change from film to film…I think that would be visually appealing and very informative.

(Now’s also as good a time as any to point out that I’m now on Instagram; I don’t necessarily post a lot, but feel free to follow there as well if you’d like!)

Anyway, no idea how long I’ll be working on this SS version of the castle right now; I’ll have to get back to those statues sooner or later. We’ll see what my next post ends up being about!


8 thoughts on “A Little “Proof of Concept”

  1. Oh, wow, this is so cool! It’s the Quad’s Lost Tower 😉 Gotta say, I massively dig these never-before-seen angles… they’re one of the coolest things about this project. Like archaeology, almost, but in lavish 3D and with the ability to draw direct before-and-after comparisons.

    I really hope you do end up doing some lovely glacial pans around the model as it ages and evolves over time… that would be visually amazing, and the sort of thing you just couldn’t do in any other medium. Can’t wait!


    1. I’m right there with you! I wish the models were already done…except for the obvious fact that then I wouldn’t get to work on them anymore, haha. But yes, I’m really looking forward to those time lapse videos. Maybe if I’m feeling really “extra” when that day finally arrives, I’ll include some of my piano arrangements of the Potter scores as background music!


  2. This is such an awesome project. I was so curious about the design changes over the films, since I have been re-watching them now that they’re on HBO Max. Little did I know my quick Google for would lead me to this amazingly detailed rabbit-hole you’ve put together. I also work in VFX and animation, and the precision and artistry you’ve put on display here is really something special. Have you ever tried to get in touch with anybody from the design/VFX team to get more info, or just share what you’re doing. I’m sure they would enjoy it. It’d be really interesting to see, when your model is all finished, how it stacks up next to the film used 3D asset. I’d be willing to bet yours would be a more complete and detailed version. Who knows, maybe you can get them to use yours on Fantastic Beasts 5 or whatever lol. Looking forward to seeing future additions!


    1. Thanks for your kind words! Thus far I’ve only been able to make contact with one person who worked on the castle VFX, but I admit I’m a little shy about sharing this kind of project with people who worked on the original. In my experience, the reactions are not always good, haha.

      I appreciate your compliments on the detail level in my project, but the 3D assets for DH and Fantastic Beasts were even more detailed! They had access to all the original technical drawings of the miniatures and sets, and the destruction in the climactic battle meant they had to include some details of the construction that I would never dream of including. But I’m not beating myself up over it – they had whole teams of VFX professionals working on those assets, and I’m just one artist having some fun.

      Detail level on the miniatures from the first 6 films is a little trickier to compare…there are spots where I’ve been able to get a little more detailed, but on the whole, those miniatures also feature a level of detail that I simply won’t be able to attain. Not without spending the rest of my life working full-time on this, that is, haha.


      1. “the reactions are not always good”, really? How so?

        And in terms of detail level, I’m sure their models have a lot more granular detail than would be achievable by any one person. However, I think your attention to the changes over time, is probably more thoughtful on a wholistic level, than what any one artist ever had to think about when making the model for any given movie. But yeah, each movie had dozens of artists working on the castle so, to even get close as a single artist is incredible.


    2. Fair enough – and thank you! As for my comment about reactions, there have been a couple of times I’ve described passion projects like these to professionals involved in the original works and been met with a bit of mild derision. “You’ve got too much time on your hands,” that kind of thing. I suppose for some people a job is just a job, so it can be a little discomfiting to see someone else pouring hours and hours into reconstructing it for fun.


      1. Yeah I think you’re right. Having worked on large feature VFX work myself, on projects that I wasn’t particularly passionate about, it can become just like any other job. So I could see why they might find it a little wild to do as a hobby. That being said, sometimes artists are just not very sociable people, and are jaded from their own problems. So I wouldn’t let that stop you from promoting this work, many people both in and outside of the 3D artistry community, would find it fascinating.


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