Complete in 3D: Gryffindor Tower (POA Version) and the Dark Tower!

The rest of the work on the Prisoner of Azkaban version of Gryffindor Tower proved pretty easy. The remaining windows came together quickly.

I even added this mysterious pipe-like thing that juts out directly over Harry’s window (near the top middle of this render). No idea what it is…it’s been there at least since Goblet of Fire, probably since Azkaban or earlier, and it’s still visible to this day in the main VFX miniature at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. If you happen to have any idea what it is, be sure to leave a comment!

You also can see I removed the suspension bridge at the lower left. It’s not completely deleted, just moved to a hidden layer; it needed some reworking that I just don’t want to deal with at the moment. It’ll come back eventually.

Work then moved on to the Dark Tower. Whereas Gryffindor Tower was just revised a bit for the third film (mainly making it taller), the Dark Tower was an entirely new addition. Its purpose was to provide a visually dramatic location for Sirius Black’s cell at the end of the film. It sits roughly where the real-world Durham Cathedral chapter house structure sat in the first two films.

The basic structure of the tower is super simple – just a slightly tapered cylinder with an off-center pyramidal base. Sirius’s cell is perched right on top; the render above shows the front wall of the cell beginning to take shape. I kept going and eventually finished all the detail on the top of the tower.

The most interesting challenge ended up being those four stone gargoyles near the top of the tower. These are never seen up close in the films…they pretty much just look like vague oblong shapes with a skinnier protrusion at the end. But I started doing some digging in the various video games released around this time, and I found some much closer shots. To my surprise, the games reveal a design that looks more like a vulture than anything. Now, the games obviously use 3D assets built specifically for the games, and the design can totally change in the process of translation from film to game. But these closer shots seemed consistent with the blurry shapes visible in the films, so I decided to just go for it. They gave me some fun practice with sculpting and retopologizing.

The rest of the tower really doesn’t have much more detail on it, so I’m calling it finished! Here’s a render showing the completed tower with the rest of the model so far. Fun fact – Harry’s window actually looks pretty much straight at the tower where his godfather ends up being briefly held. That’s kinda sweet. Whoops, this isn’t true – the Defense Against the Dark Arts tower totally blocks the view of the Dark Tower from his window. Never mind!

I’m planning on starting what fans have been calling the Defense Against the Dark Arts tower next. See you soon!