Revealing the Bridge

Possibly the most noticeably new castle feature in Prisoner of Azkaban was the long, rickety wooden bridge leading from the new clock tower and courtyard to the new location of Hagrid’s hut and the Whomping Willow. (The bridge stuck around all the way through to Deathly Hallows, when it was enlarged to make its destruction more dramatic.)

As with so many things, it’s easier to build something like this in its original pristine state and then deform it appropriately. So I set out to create a perfectly straight version of the bridge with none of its characteristic undulations:

Not very recognizable yet. Adding the roof and a few more elements helps a lot:

That’s more like it!

As I began to add the trestle structures below, I threw in some textures as well:

This all came together pretty quickly, in part because everything you see above consists of a single 8-foot-long segment with an Array modifier that dynamically duplicates it 24 additional times. Then it was time to move the bridge into place as I continued to add details:

Thus far, I’d avoided all the wooden tracery that gives the bridge its ornate look. There are actually two designs used on different parts of the bridge, something I’d never noticed before. I recreated both:

Next steps will be to adjust the bottoms of the supports to match the ravine below, adjust the texturing on the roof, and ultimately bend and twist the segments of the bridge to give it its final wobbly look.

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