View Full Version : Hogwarts Castle landscape - WIP

01 January 2007, 11:46 PM
Latest Update:

I've decided to use the model of Hogwarts i have been working on in the WIPs section to create a matte painting of the castle and its landscape. I know its not very original, but I needed a use for the model and I wanted to try another matte painting. Here's how its going so far. The mountain was created in World Machine and rendered in terragen. The castle: Blender.
Small version:

01 January 2007, 01:24 PM
Hi yodajared,

The concept is interest... and defiently nice to see a blender model, anyways I'm pretty much new to matte painting so I can't give you many tips... but a really dramatic sky would look cool :D.

Looking forward to an update,


01 January 2007, 09:04 PM
Thanks ZaneV

Here's an update: (The current lake is only temporary)

01 January 2007, 02:43 AM
Here's another update:

01 January 2007, 06:48 AM
Wow great going yodajared. The painting is coming up nice. The castle model is really cool. Looking forward to see the complete version of the matte painting. :thumbsup:

01 January 2007, 10:06 AM
Hey Jared this is starting to look very nice, very much like a fairy tale . Keep rockin it!

01 January 2007, 08:30 PM
Hi this is looking good, nice modelling in the castle, here are some issues I see in this image
first it would be nicer if you have some foreground elements, like some rocks over the water, some branches of a tree r something that gives more depth to the whole scene
the mixture clouds you have are not correct, some of them have red sun and the others yellowish sun, and the light direction on each of them are not the same
the water still need lots of work, it look too perfect, I suggest you use reference photo material to see how it should look
I'll be looking forward to see how it goes

01 January 2007, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the comments.
Jamesfx: I wasn't sure what you meant about the water, but i hadn't added all of the reflections anyways. I still have more work on it though.

02 February 2007, 10:06 AM
The colors are really starting to come together. I agree that the water needs work. Especially pay attention to the moments where the water meets land - does it break on rocks, wash ashore, etc.

02 February 2007, 02:14 AM
Thanks sraymond. I will work on the water/land boundary.

Here is an update. I have imporved the water, as well as other areas.

02 February 2007, 07:26 AM

Nice word, its really coming together now!

Keep up the good work mate,


02 February 2007, 06:52 PM
Thanks! Here is a small update. I've finished the background for now (I think). I decided I will add a foreground to give a greater sense of depth and scale. It will be am edge of a shore looking through a few trees.

02 February 2007, 03:19 AM
I like it alot. I have only two suggestions. More yellow light going from left to right....similar in colour to the cloud on the right. The water should be more reflective near the edges of the shore and falloff coming toward the viewer.

Keep up the good work.

02 February 2007, 10:17 PM

Curious where you got the Hogwarts model or did you say you built it yourself?
It's very nice. Has a lot of great detail and seems very accurate.

02 February 2007, 11:07 PM
Small update (I took your advice dellis):

marsRover: yes I built the model of hogwarts from scratch. Here are a few pictures showing the detail. Whie it's not 100% done yet, it fairly close. I have a thread in the WIP section with more pics.

02 February 2007, 11:33 PM
Any chance of seeing a wire frame?

03 March 2007, 12:26 AM
This looks great! I'm glad to see Blender as part of your workflow. Keep it up.

04 April 2007, 03:34 AM
I've changed the sky a bit and I also rerendered the castle at a sharper level of anti-aliasing. I think it should seem a little bigger now, but it still needs a few adjustments.

04 April 2007, 09:04 PM
More adjustments, Nearing completion. I may add a foreground, but i'm not sure yet.

04 April 2007, 09:23 PM
I think the castle looks really nice but the main thing that the sticks out to me is the mountain directly behind the castle, it looks really cut & pasty, out of place. I know it's duller because of the atmosphere, but maybe if you increased the contrast on it it might help.

04 April 2007, 10:01 PM

I'm really impressed by the castle model you say you have built in 3D. Blender was it?Having worked on a couple of Harry Potter movies, I can only say you have a keen eye for some detail of the castle that not many people know about. The layout looks perfect. Every window, door, bridge and roof line seems to be an exact match of the physical model used for shooting. Only with a digitally scanned CG version were we able reproduce such detail.

Hats off for matching it - exactly! Tell me how you did it? What did you use for reference?

04 April 2007, 12:33 AM
Thanks Roja, I will try adding contrast to that mountain.

Thanks marsRover. You really worked on the harry potter movies?!
Since there are no maps of the movie version anywhere, I had to scrounge up every possible reference I could find. I first watched the movies numerous times to look for good angles of the castle, and used stills from the movies off one website. The DVD of CoS had some nice drawings of the castle too. The current version is based off movie 4. I also used plans of the real castles that the movie model was based off of. I pieced together all the references I gathered over time, and eventually came to the version I have now. (I am a bit obsessed with detail). Of course I had to make changes to the model after each sequel, for obvious reasons.
Check out my thread in the WIP Section for future updates.

04 April 2007, 02:40 AM
I think your model is top notch! It really looks well modelled and textured! Attention to detail has payed off bigtime!
I think the rest is lacking though. I can see massive potential in it, but the photo elements look extremely cut and paste, and do not interact with each other or the environment. The sky suggests a lot of red tones, maybe a sunset, so your rocks and mountians need to back that up so that they feel part of the environment. The best thing to do is look at photos of that time of day, get a colour pallette from the photos and paint in the elements with the right colours. Then compare that to what you have and I think you will see a vast improvement straight away! Then you can start adding in photo elements and colour correcting them to match your sketch, and it will come to life. I know that will mean backstepping a lot and spending more time, but I think it will be an amazing matte if you are willing to put in the time! I would hate to see this not reach its full potential, coz after all the work you put in it deserves it!
Best of luck, Ill be checking back for updates :)


04 April 2007, 11:05 PM
this looks quite good. the hogwarts model is also impressive and resembles the movie version nearly flawlessly.

06 June 2007, 02:35 AM
Thanks for your input.

Well, I think I've gotten this thing where I wanted it. I think I'm satisfied now. Tell me what you think. Are the branches too distracting?
edit: just noticed the lower corners. fixed that.

06 June 2007, 08:28 AM
Hi love the modelling and work that has gone into this, i agree with space sprayer the mountain to the rear of the castle looks wrong. Shading, colour,colour perspective, edges too sharp all need addressing. Have a experiment swap the colours of the mid ground mountain with the back ground mountain. when you have done all that and only when you have done that think about atmosphere.

I am bullying you, but this is fantastic it would be a shame to muck this up. Forget about the trees sort the main focal point out first. Then concentrate on the trees.

go on do us all proud


06 June 2007, 10:38 AM
That's looking very nice. Some more color correction on the single parts will tie the image together. Try painting more details to integrate the castle. It looks a little bit artificial right now. The foreground trees are a good idea to get more depth, but in my opinions you need to give them a threedimensional shape. In nature it wouldn't be just black.

keep it up :)

06 June 2007, 03:14 PM
This is what I would do if I were you (hope you don't mind editing your image)

Of course it's just a quick, 5 min mockup, but you can get the idea. What I did was:
1) cut saturation from sky, cut contrast from distant parts, add haze etc
2) Changed the shape of the mountain (i just used the clone stamp to quickly get rid of some areas, nothing fancy)
3) Adjusted lightning on the castle itself....

This is just a quick mockup of course, it's not accurate, it's just to show you the parts that need to be worked more :)
Have fun

06 June 2007, 03:24 PM
Also here are some composition ideas:
Hope it helps you :)

07 July 2007, 07:40 PM
thanks for the advice. However, the matte has been making me frustrated, so i decided to turn it into a night shot. This way I don't have to worry so much about the problems i've been having. I need to fix the moon reflection, which i just noticed is in the wrong place. The castle lights are still being adjusted.

07 July 2007, 07:42 PM
you should not run away from challenges....a shame; that's how you learn.

07 July 2007, 10:27 PM
I do still like the night shot with a few fixes but now I can't see your great model, would still love to see the other finished. :thumbsup:

07 July 2007, 06:45 AM
I do night shots because it is easy. Now go back and finish the day shot.



Bullying you for your own good.

07 July 2007, 06:38 PM
I should have mentioned that I am not giving up on the day shot. I just wanted to try making a night shot out of it because I knew it would be easier to finish. It was mainly just for fun right now. I definitely will finish the day shot when I can find the right references.

07 July 2007, 02:02 AM
I really like the direction the day shot is moving, but I have to say I also feel the mountain behind Hogwarts is taking something away. I think for me it's the sense of size of that mountain in relation to the clouds in the sky - I feel that some of those clouds would in fact be in front of the mountain, rather than cut off by it. I'm no matte painter though :)

07 July 2007, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the advice. I've worked on the day shot more, and it seems to be more successful now...?:

Here's an updated night version:

07 July 2007, 09:32 AM
You have way to many landscape types, and also colors.

The nigh version is to loaded, and too dark. Also no DOF.

08 August 2007, 04:40 PM
Give him a break Kricket guy, lol..., but ya, i agree/with him, However aside from those things, its pretty nice, good job.

08 August 2007, 03:57 PM
Matthew ur post is kind of useless.

08 August 2007, 08:18 PM
Me and some other fellows gave you some nice ideas on page 2, but you didn't even look. I even draw something on top of your image...well how can we help you if you don't listen? You still dont have enough depth on the castle, you still haven't corrected the mountain still have too many different references that don't work together.

08 August 2007, 07:58 AM
Your Z depth is incorrect it looks like it was shot on f42 aperture which is really impossible to do. You need to render this as a z depth pass place it in as a alpha channel and use the blur filter set to grayscale. You will get realistic depth of field. Image will look less cgi and more real world.

Nuff Said


08 August 2007, 08:59 PM
Geez! Gimme a break here Suirebit. (forget about the night version for now everyone) This is my second matte painting ever. I'm trying to learn here. You said I still haven't corrected the mountain, but compare it to my previous version, and you will see I have. Second, your suggestions for the castle completely change my vision for this painting. I just wanted to make this look like a scene from the movie or something, just as a learning experience. That's why I didn't take all of your suggestions, but i did consider them. I appreciate your help, but you act like I am disregarding everything I'm given. I obviously don't have much experience, but I'm doing my best, and eventually I will fix everything, just give me some time.
Anyways, here is an update:

08 August 2007, 08:00 AM
Hi Jared, I actually do like this comp

It is rendered beautifully the modelling is fantastic on the castle. My only comment is that it looks too crisp and clear (which gives it away that it is CGI). I have been scratching my head for you on your behalf I may have a answer. I was looking a vue the other day and it has a atmospheric setting called god rays. I think something similar in your matte will bring a sense of reality which will bring to life your fantastic modelling skills (im a bit jealous).

I dont have a link for Eon Vue prehaps you can google it. Good news is you can replicate it quite easily in a few layers in photoshop.

Please dont feel as if I am nagging you, i am not telling what to do this is just purely a suggestion.

Good luck mate, have a cup of tea ( secret british trick for surviving a crisis!!)


08 August 2007, 10:12 AM
You are having a problem with value and colourisation that is still making this matte look a bit 'cut & paste'. The mountain just to the left of the castle should have stronger contrast than the landmass on the far left because it is closer to camera. Also, it appears that this mountain is also having problems by itself because the values are less contrasty at the top, which you expect to see on huge mountains that get affected a lot by atmosphere on thieir own from top to bottom, yet your mountain is only small in the compostition, so it doesn't make sense for the values to be so different at the top compared to the bottom. I hope that makes sense :hmm:

Also, I think you need to decide on one particular type of landscape, because at the moment it looks as though some of it is rocky, some is grassy, so is covered with trees and some is snowy. Even with your rock it seems like there are different rock types because some is grey and some is more orange. That is making it look like the composition is lots of different bits strewn together. Don't get me wrong, variation is a good thing, you dont want everything to be monotonous, but the viewer needs to feel like everything is from the same place. I would decide what you want and then paint over the other bits, use colour adjstments etc to make everything look unified.

Hope that helps


08 August 2007, 06:34 PM
Thanks for your suggestions. I've been working on unifying the different landscapes. I still need to work on the far right cliff face. I'm still deciding what exactly I want to do with it.

10 October 2007, 04:19 PM
Another slight update to day version

And the night version:

11 November 2007, 04:35 AM
Final version:
(darkened mountain slightly)

11 November 2007, 02:12 PM

So you really built the entire 3d model of Hogwarts with all that accurate detail and layout all by yourself just from picture references? That's amazing.

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