GOF Viaduct Courtyard Area

When we last saw the Goblet of Fire Hogwarts model, I had grabbed some elements from the clock tower area and duplicated them in front of the Great Hall. Since then, I’ve adapted those elements to create the new entrance hall and viaduct courtyard.

Here’s the fixed-up version (right); slide to compare it to the render from last time, just showing the unaltered clock tower and courtyard elements (left):

(Ignore the way the “link building” roof gets steeper; that’s just a fix because I realized I’d made it too low.)

Here’s are some miscellaneous shots around the area:

This next one gives a good sense of what details I put into the clock, as well as what details I didn’t:

Conspicuously missing in that last render is the “pepperpot” building next to the Great Hall – hence the gap in the balustrade toward the right side, immediately adjacent to the courtyard. I think I’ll probably be adding that building next.


Starting the “Goblet of Fire” Castle!

If you’ve followed this project for a while, you know I jump around a lot. I’ve got a master “to do” list, but sometimes I get bored with an item – or, in the case of the walkways and cliffs from last time, sometimes I run out of references. So I decided to jump over to an all-new phase of the project: creating the Goblet of Fire iteration of Hogwarts!

I started with the south end, where the Great Hall is. Some of the surrounding structures didn’t change at all from the previous film, so I ported those over. But the Great Hall itself got tweaked and slightly repositioned. Let’s start with just the design changes – easier to compare the Halls when they’re still in the same spot.

Original on the left, GOF redesign on the right:

The main difference is that the front was lengthened. This section with the bigger window corresponds to the entrance hall, a set that didn’t really fit very clearly into any part of the original Great Hall/Chamber of Reception structure. When the length was extended, the dormer windows and central turret on the roof were adjusted to keep things visually centered. The turret at the back/top of the hall was also redesigned as well as duplicated at the front of the structure.

So that’s the new design. What about the new position? Well, it’s easiest to show that by overlaying the GOF Great Hall onto the original castle:

The original position is the one that’s higher up and closer to the big marble staircase tower. The new position allowed for a redesigned “link building” between the entrance hall and the marble staircase tower – again, better matching the interior sets – and put the Great Hall closer the same level as the viaduct and its new courtyard. (Originally, the Great Hall was significantly higher than the viaduct; students had to climb all those Oxford stairs in the Chamber of Reception to get up to the Great Hall.)

Here I’ve added the link building:

The reason the rest of the GOF castle is missing is simple: I’m doing it one structure at a time, whether that means simply making its previous version visible or actually building new stuff.

The next structures to tackle are the new front of the Great Hall/entrance hall building (replacing the Chamber of Reception) and the viaduct courtyard. I believe the courtyard was brought to life by redressing the clock tower courtyard set from the previous film. I started this area by duplicating and repositioning the corresponding elements from the clock tower area, resulting in…this:

Yeah, the clock tower is definitely taller than the Great Hall. Lots of other things to tweak, too. All that and more in a future post – make sure you hit the Follow button (at the bottom of the page on mobile, to the right on desktop) to get notified of new updates!

Chamber of Reception

For the first three Potter films, a large antechamber or entrance hall sat in front of the Great Hall. Its interior – the very first interior of Hogwarts seen on film – was shot on location at Christ Church Cathedral’s Great Staircase at Oxford. Stuart Craig and his team didn’t attempt to recreate the exterior of this structure in the visual effects miniature of Hogwarts, but the design they came up with does draw some details from that real-world location. Although this room is never explicitly named in the film, Harry’s prop acceptance letter instructs him to report to the “Chamber of Reception”, and the name (seen only briefly onscreen) seems to have stuck with the fan communities. The closest equivalent in the books is the entrance hall.

For Goblet of Fire, Hogwarts received a new courtyard and tower in front of the Great Hall, and the Chamber of Reception went the way of the dodo, never to return. In its place was an entrance hall with a smaller footprint and very different appearance. It’s a great look, but I’m very fond of the Chamber of Reception, due to my particular nostalgia for the first film. Fortunately, since I’m working on the Azkaban version of the castle, I get to include it in my model!

Getting the vertical dimensions of the Chamber of Reception required some use of photogrammetry and inference from known elevations of adjacent areas. Soon, I had a basic shape roughed in:

That chimney that protrudes from the corner on the right is a detail taken from the real thing at Oxford, by the way. Thanks, Google Maps:

The miniature also incorporates the exterior steps and the light fixture above the arch, even though there are no location shots of those in the film, leading me to believe that they at least considered shooting some stuff just outside this building at Oxford.

Anyway, I kept the same camera angle for the renders that followed. I began to block in the so-called pepperpot building on the left and added more details to Chamber of Reception:

The last round of details really brought it all together, completing the Chamber of Reception (other than some windows I may add to the far side). The tracery on the windows was tough, since reference for those is quite limited. I think what I came up with is pretty decent, even if it’s not 100% accurate. I also had to refer to the hammerbeam roof interior miniature from the first film for the rose window on the front of the Great Hall – I can’t find any closeup shots of the exterior, but there’s a corresponding rose window in the interior miniature.

I even included that real-world lamp above the arch, plus another Hogwarts-style sconce next it that’s visible on the effects miniature. They’re hard to see in the daylight, so…Nox!

There’s still more to be done here with the interior lighting, but I do like the way this is turning out. You’re actually seeing into the lit interior of the Chamber of Reception and Great Hall; most of the other windows in my model just have flat panels behind them that give off a splotchy orange glow for night shots, a cheat that’s very obvious in the exposed interiors seen to the right side of this render. But the Great Hall and Chamber of Reception have large windows into large spaces with known interior architecture, so I didn’t want to fake it with these.

I think I next need to add details to the pepperpot, and then either the link building or the terraces around the Great Hall. We’ll see what order I end up springing for. I’m also going to need to create a new texture for the paved horizontal surfaces like those terraces – so far I haven’t done anything like that.