Completing the Wooden Bridge (POA Edition)

With the basic structure of the wooden bridge in place, I next set out to adjust the support beams below. The bridge spans a ravine and its cross beam patterns do vary. Paying close attention to their arrangement in the original miniature, I first modified the half closest to the castle:

Then it was just a matter of duplicating the structure to the far side and tweaking a spot where it’s not quite symmetrical:

This brings the bridge to a complete state…at least, without all the shaky imperfections that give the original its charm. Time to get those in there.

My weapon of choice was Blender’s Mesh Deform modifier, a nondestructive tool that allows you to manipulate one object’s shape and have it affect the shape of another. I created a much, much simpler version of the bridge – really just a 3D envelope to roughly surround it – and manually pushed different sections around to approximate the swaying structure seen in the films. Blender obligingly shifted the detailed model of the bridge to match.

Just for fun, here’s the simplified envelope visualized with a translucent material around the actual bridge model, prior to any distortion:

And when I warped that envelope (twice due to some annoying lost work), it made the detailed bridge underneath look this!

(This is after breaking apart the roof into some separate chunks with their own local coordinates so that the shingle texture would map correctly onto them.)

I’m feeling quite happy with this! It’ll look a lot better once I’ve added terrain, of course. And even just adding the gatehouse at the other end will help. I think that’ll be my next task.

5 thoughts on “Completing the Wooden Bridge (POA Edition)

  1. I think, that the bridge is going up and down a bit too much for my taste. But the other parts of the castle are soooo amazing!!! I can’t believe, that you’ve made that in BLENDER! Go on! c:

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    1. I appreciate your honesty! But yeah, this should be pretty spot-on to the ups and downs of the actual miniature – I even used some photogrammetry to help me match the shape. As Reg pointed out, that bridge (both set and miniature) really does have some pretty crazy twists in it.

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      1. Ok, now if I look at it twice, I am totally satisfied with the new bridge! I also like your new Video of the moving stairs! It’s like a behind-the-scenes Video, because normally we just see your Renders. c:

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  2. Now that’s damn pretty. (Didn’t know about the Mesh Deform modifier, either, that’s awesome! Sounds like the FFD in Cinema 4D, except that from the looks of things the Blender version is significantly more customisable.)

    Also, I dunno, I reckon you got the up-and-down look of the bridge pretty spot on! The watchword for the design was ‘rickety’, after all, and I’ve always thought of the bridge as one of those structures that Stuart Craig refers to as pushing the edges of the possible. (Could you build something like that across a ravine in Scotland? Yes, possibly, but I’m not sure it’d stand up to a hundred Hogwarts students a month without some kind of magical support…)

    …and I think people do sometimes underestimate the gradient of that floor surface! There’s a section still standing at Leavesden, and when it’s raining the (admittedly very nice and lovely) tour guides are strict about only letting a couple of people up at a time. The bridge was designed to be all funny angles and precariousness, and you can really feel it in the changing slopes when you run across!

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    1. Haha I never thought about what that set must be like in the rain! Yikes. But anyway, thank you! Yeah, this was my first time using Mesh Deform on a project and it performed admirably. Definitely going to keep it in mind for future uses!

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