More Landscape

Let’s continue adding the terrain! Almost all the land from the viaduct clockwise around to the south side of the quad building changed in Goblet of Fire. That’s when the Great Hall was relocated, the viaduct courtyard replaced the Chamber of Reception, the viaduct itself changed angles slightly, and boathouse steps were reconfigured, and the footpath up to the south side of the quad building was added. I mean, the basic idea is still the same, but it changed enough that I’m going to need to do a separate sculpt for the GOF version.

Anyway, what you see here is the beginnings of the version from the first three films. (I happen to have the POA castle visible here, but it could have been any of the first three versions.)

It can be an interesting challenge to divide the terrain into these blocky shapes, especially for areas where the reference images are few and photogrammetry isn’t possible. But I’m really glad I’ve chosen this approach. It forces me to think about the big forms first – a critical skill in both 2D and 3D art, and one I sometimes neglect.

As you can see, I didn’t worry about the spots where these blocks overlapped with the boathouse stairs – I knew I’d be able to carve out the appropriate sections later. Right now, I’m only focused on everything to the right of the stairs:

In fact, as the first sculpting pass begins, you can see I’m not even touching anything to the left of the stairs:

That’s all just overflow, soon to be clipped off and replaced with a separate sculpt for that side of the stairs. By the way, the techniques here are exactly the same as the ones I previously used in this video, albeit with less photogrammetry reference. I know I could get away with following the original landscape less closely overall, but I’m trying to keep it close – partially because it’s fun, partially to indulge my perfectionism, and partially because this way I’ll be able to show how the terrain changed along with the castle.

I was relieved to find that my plan for splitting the landscape into chunks should indeed work. The seam isn’t completely invisible in this render, but it should become less obvious with further detailing and finessing:

Speaking of which…next came further detailing and finessing! I clipped off all that excess rock to the left of the stairs and sculpted smaller ridges and crags:

That render reminds me that my lake water material will need more work. It’s also a clear illustration of the difference that detailing makes – notice how I haven’t touched the rocks toward the bottom right yet, and they, like…suck.

I fixed that next!

That brings all this terrain to a consistent level of detail. I must admit, I’m realizing that some of it’s getting a little too…sedimentary. I started really going for it with the strata in some places, but when I return to the photo references for the miniature, the rock has a rather different character to it. It may help if/when I use textured sculpting brushes to add the next level of fine detail? We’ll see.

Anyway, we’ll wrap up with some orthographic views of the POA castle so far! (Backsides and undersides of the terrain have been removed for clarity.)


23 thoughts on “More Landscape

  1. Also as promised ages ago, my still heavily WIP (you can still see quite a few rough things not properly lining up) map project:

    The Quad courtyard I did before I realised that the actual model one was sunk deeper into the ground, and it also assumes Durham cloister width, so I honestly have no idea what I’ll do to tweak that. The Transfiguration courtyard and surrounding buildings is an experiment in combining the classic film1-2 arrangement with the film6 Astronomy tower, as well as trying to fit the New College Oxford film4 cloisters in. At some point I want to place the tree from the latter in there too, and also find a spot fot the astrolabe on a plinth visible in film4’s courtyard scene. Also some parts of the topography and coastline are very loosely done once I ran out of blueprint , as well as halfway through redesigns to hybridise in elements of the early film terrain.

    The main overall purpose of this map design is to reconcile and fit in as much of the different versions of Hogwarts as possible, within reason. I’ve been thinking of sticking the dark tower on top of the Durham transfig classroom since it being surrounded by towers on basically every side really would make it dark in the literal sense.

    I also have to say that your project has been no shortage of valuable insights and reference points and I genuinely couldn’t have gotten it to its current stages without finding your blog! So, for all that and more, many thanks!


  2. Wow! This is great to see, it’s really coming together and recognisable above all.
    I’m very ignorant of the terrain changes from film 1-3 to 4 suddenly, is anything all that drastic aside from the height of the courtyard/great hall terrain? Only I’m trying to find out how applicable your ‘shoreline’ is to the film 4+ castle’s shortline…
    Great work again


    1. Thank you! As far as I can tell, just about every bit of new terrain in this post was completely redone in GOF. The only exception is the stuff right next to the boathouse. So yeah, the shoreline does change, for sure.


      1. Yeah, that’s interesting. I’ve been comparing the terrain and shoreline we see in the studio tour model with HBP blueprints… to me there seems to be a head-scratching mismatch. For example, contrast the size of the cove like area nearest to the viaduct between the blueprint screenshot in this album and the model pictures…

        Any thoughts?


      2. I’m finding that the terrain is less accurate in the blueprints than I’d hoped/assumed, yeah. At this point I consider the blueprints to merely be interesting additional reference where the land is concerned. Photogrammetry and still photos are my primary references there.


  3. Love the way this is looking with the terrain in place! Question about the orthographic elevations. Looks like the ramparts and viaduct near the Chamber of Reception building are lower than the battlements in front of the arch that leads to the Quad courtyard. Are those levels related to the markings in later blueprints that indicate 184’6″ and 186’4″ respectively? Or are they different in the earlier SS-POA model? Or is that more or less guesswork based on photogrammetry of that area? Also looks like the ground level of the Durham group of buildings is a little higher than the Great Hall/Entrance building ground level.


    1. The first height difference is based off of the later blueprints, the assumption that the arch area of the walkway wasn’t significantly rebuilt, and (to some degree) on photogrammetry. As for the second difference, keep in mind that the walls around the greenhouses are taller than the ramparts around the CoR. But the ground level does vary a little, yeah.


  4. Hmm you’re definitely correct on that count I think, and that just shows how useful the resource you’re creating will be. If even the blueprints can’t be trusted, your orthographic views will be so invaluable!
    If I may be very cheeky, could I ask if you have any half-decent programmetry for the studio tour model’s front cliffs? If so, would you be willing to take a couple of pictures in some way? Or if it’s more convenient for you to just showcase in your next video on the channel, I don’t mind! I’m so desperate for any material.


  5. Re. our earlier thread about terrain
    Of course any CG terrain beyond the model is notoriously inconsistent, however I’m wondering if there is anything you know about what the shoreline and terrain does in the top right of this image?
    (A picture of how I’m getting along with some terrain in a Minecraft attempt with a friend)


      1. They did have some miniature landscape elements over there in the early films, but either way, yeah, the clearest views are the end of POA and the arrival shot in OOTP.


  6. Oh hey, I found a small youtuber who’s interested in Hogwart’s architecture changes. He seems to have found a few references I’ve never seen before, including a behind-the-scenes video where one of the production crew outright states that the courtyard of the Quad was based on Gloucester, which may or may not be a nail in the coffin of that cloister question. There’s also an overhead shot of the early castle that seems to confirm that the doors inside the Quad arch seen in later films are indeed already there (though sadly the shot doesn’t show the presumed balustrade). Might be worth reaching out to him to see if he’s got any juicy references not in his couple videos – and if nothing else he’d probably enjoy this project:


    1. That’s so funny, I was just watching that the other day. But the BTS videos are just from the Blu-ray bonus features, I’m afraid. I’m thinking he must be familiar with my project – he used one of the before/after images I made for my early “What Hogwarts Design Changes?” post. (Without credit…boo!)


      1. Could always give him a little gentle reminder about credit – he seems pretty new to youtubing.


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