Small Project Update

Bah, my repetitive strain injuries have gotten bad again. This is going to delay my next post, sadly. I’m trying to get the issue taken care of, but it’s resisting treatment, and the American healthcare system is particularly unkind to the unemployed. (Thanks, COVID!)

If you’re enjoying this project and want to support my healing process so I can see it through, donations of any size are appreciated. I’m on Venmo as @Joe-Cardello.

Regardless, I’ll hope to have more for you before too long!

Cool Link: 3D Winchester Mystery House Tour

Unrelated to Hogwarts, but I thought it might appeal to a few readers – the Winchester Mystery House has made available a 3D-model-meets-Google-Street-View tour of its interior!

If you’re not familiar with this spot, it’s a bizarre mansion in San Jose, California. It came together over decades of unplanned construction under the direction of its owner, Sarah Winchester. Some people take the haunted house angle; personally, I have no belief in the supernatural, but I’m fascinated with the gargantuan house’s architecture – stairs to nowhere, windows from one room into another, doors that open to steep exterior dropoffs, etc.

I always wanted to see the layout of the whole house, but it was built with no master plan and I’d never found any attempts at creating one ex post facto. Now that’s all changed – Matterport 3D Tours spent a weekend capturing the house so that it can be explored digitally in the age of COVID-19. That also means you can get a sense of the floor plan, and although I’m annoyed that the orthographic floor plan view has been disabled, it’s still a dream come true.

Anyway, I’ve already found it to be well worth the $8.99 it costs and I’m looking forward to continuing to explore. If you’re interested as well, check it out at https://winchestermysteryhouse.com/immersive-360-walkthrough/.

Insert legal disclaimer about me not being affiliated with Winchester Investments LLC here, blah blah blah. I’m not getting a cut of their sales – I just think it’s cool as f$%#!

Anyway, more 3D Hogwarts stuff to come!

The Art and the Artist

How do you interact with art when you learn things about the artist that are uncomfortable? How do you consume a product when you learn things about the producer that are disappointing? This isn’t the first time I’ve pondered these questions, and it won’t be the last.

Of course, I don’t think there are any easy answers on this; in order to reject the work of anyone who ever made a mistake or held a hurtful belief, we’d have to completely isolate ourselves – far more completely than anyone’s been doing even in the midst of this pandemic. On the other hand, there are some acts so disgusting that I can’t bring myself to enjoy anything else wrought by their perpetrators. I don’t have any interest in ever watching The Cosby Show again, for instance.

So where do you draw the line, and how do you do it? Is it even a hard line, or is it more of a gradient? I don’t have the answers.

But I do know that you have my support and respect in expressing your gender identity in whatever ways are authentic to you. As someone who’s spent quite a bit of time immersed in J. K. Rowling’s work (and other derivative works), I choose to honor its best themes and messages, not her disappointing views on trans identities.

More renders and project updates to come, but it wouldn’t feel right just ignoring this issue in this blog, of all places.

My Hogwarts Model Featured in “Les Fondateurs 2” Teaser!

The teaser trailer for Les Fondateurs: La Quête de Gryffondor is out! Spoiler alert: there’s a brief shot of Hogwarts at the end, courtesy of yours truly. I’m really looking forward to producing more shots of the castle for this fan film!

Fun facts about the animation, which was created specifically for the teaser:

  • This was created using a copy of the main model. I removed everything that wouldn’t be visible, since I wasn’t using a render farm and I wanted to keep the render times decently fast. (We intend to use a render farm for the film itself, and I also plan to bake a lot of the procedural textures to images, which should speed things up. By then Blender will have adaptive sampling as well.)
  • This shot includes some parts of the castle that weren’t/aren’t complete in the main model – I built some geometry that would work for this brief shot, but there are some inaccuracies. Fortunately, the castle does change over time! In any case, the model used for the film itself will be more detailed and accurate.
  • There are no volumetrics in this shot – all the fog was a composited mist pass, plus an overcast HDRI for the sky and lighting. (Thanks, HDRIHaven!)
  • I removed the pipe that sticks out of Gryffindor Tower…it looked funky from this angle and distance.

I’m looking forward to seeing this project come together!

Special Announcement

Something a little different today: I’m thrilled to share that I’m going to be providing Hogwarts visual effects for an upcoming French fan film entitled Les Fondateurs: La Quête de Gryffondor. This is the second film in a series about the founders of Hogwarts and a few shots are going to feature the castle…my castle! It’s still early on, but I’m excited to see this project come together. Here’s the very first promotional image of Hogwarts!

You can learn more about the project (and even help financially) here.

More updates on the main Hogwarts 4D project to come!

Also Introducing…My 3D Star Wars Blog!

If you’ve been enjoying this blog so far, you might want to follow this new one I’ve started as well. Even as I track the changes to the design of Hogwarts, I’m also recreating the sets of the original Star Wars trilogy, including their real-world location within Elstree Studios.

If you’re not a Star Wars fan, don’t worry – the Hogwarts project isn’t dead. As promised, I’ve moved on to the Great Hall exterior. More on that coming soon, I hope. In the meantime, here’s a teaser…

The Beginning

All my life, I’ve often found myself tumbling headlong into unusual obsessive hobbies. In January 2019, I tumbled into a new one. I was struck by the realization that Hogwarts Castle underwent a number of design changes over the course of the Harry Potter films, and I wanted to be able to watch a time-lapse of those changes from a stationary vantage point. Any stationary vantage point. The only solution was to create a 3D model…of all 7+ versions of Hogwarts…in my free time.

So I got started.

I have no idea how long this passion project will go for – I do tend to jump between my different interests quite a bit – but it’s been a good time so far, and I thought I’d share my progress with any likeminded fans of the Potter franchise, cool architecture, and/or 3D modeling.

Have fun perusing!