Back to Work

Well…the 2-3 weeks of computer rest didn’t do much good, sadly. We’re continuing to pursue other treatment options. In the meantime, I’ve been easing back into a bit of computer use, and I thought I’d share some of my (slow) progress with the terrain beneath the Sorcerer’s Stone castle.

Here I’ve resumed adding the next layer of detail to the area under the Great Hall:

I admit detailing everything manually was getting tiresome, so I finally started making use of this fabulous rock sculpting brush set from Blend Swap. I figure if the original modelmakers could use a mold of a big slab of coal, there’s nothing wrong with me using some photoscanned rocks for additional texture. This can be a good way to expedite the process of adding the countless tiny crags and crevices to the major forms I’ve sculpted. Then I can go back in and sculpt more details myself where necessary.

Blender’s “geometry nodes” system is getting better and better, so I started setting up a node tree that would add greenery to the top faces of the rocks:

Still needs work, but we’re headed in the right direction. I’ll round out today’s post with another angle and different time of day:

See you next time…hopefully before too long!


12 thoughts on “Back to Work

  1. Good to see you back, though it’s a shame about your hands.

    Rocks look good, though I’ll admit I’m not a rock expert.

    The old boathouse, on the inside it looks like there’s a walkway. Is it on both sides of the boathouse, does it go all around the inside? And for that matter does the original model have any stairs up to the walkway?


    1. Thank you! The pre-DH boathouse has a central channel for the boats to enter, with docks on both sides. Then there are shelves or catwalks on one side only; as far as I can tell, the miniature doesn’t have any stairs or ladders in there. Here’s a quick view inside my model. The only inaccuracy I know of is that there are supposed to be house crests on the back wall; I haven’t added those yet.


  2. How can you tell about the crests? Don’t think I’ve ever seen even a hint of those. Are there blueprints or an obscure shot showing them?

    Also, it looks like there’s something on the inside of the roof here, visible at the top of the archway, but I can’t make out what it might be:


      1. I did have a thought that it was maybe a tower access walkway connected to the lower one by a ladder or staircase hidden by the arch wall – the little tower with lights would logically need in-universe access after all. But your idea makes a lot of irl sense, especially from the dead on view.


  3. The rocks look great, though to be honest the moss looksba bit odd in my opinion. Maybe it’s the colour or maybe there’s not enough contrast between it and the rocks. Or maybe I’m just delusional, not sure.


  4. Really glad to see you back, as always 🙂 and the terrain’s really starting to look quite beautiful. (Your moss node tree sounds fascinating – I love how procedural you’ve managed to make so much of the texturing, it’s hella impressive.)

    On an entirely unrelated note, spotted something interesting the other day and wondered what you’d make of it! The new Harry Potter store in NY is opening soon, with not one but two VR experiences – and judging by the two screenshots on the official site, this might be the first WB-commissioned digital version of the model to include both the extended causeway out front and the Alnwick-inspired stuff at the back!

    Mostly I’m just intrigued to see yet another version of the castle, haha – judging by the similarities between the texture work on the Entrance Courtyard and the screenshots Nic Henderson posted, I’d be tempted to say this is based off the DNeg model, especially since David Vickery mentioned they’d built a low-res version for previz back in 2010. (Though it could of course just be great look-matching from the VR studio.) But I’d always assumed they’d quietly scrapped all of Alnwick before even starting that CG build – if I remember right, the Training Grounds aren’t even on the DH blueprints? Either way, nice to see that section making a bit of a comeback.


  5. You can find a free to download scanned Hogwarts at this link:

    Might be useful for scaling and for the cliffs


    1. Thank you! I’ve actually made a number of these myself, mainly using footage from various YouTube videos. They’ve been extremely helpful for the rocks and the vertical scale, as you said! You can see a bit of this photogrammetry in a few of my videos.


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