Author Topic: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops  (Read 3782 times)

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chuck geiger

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Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« on: May 30, 2008, 03:49:28 PM »
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No one has jumped in, so I will pull a Lee and do it up. I have noticed how bad some backdrops on club and home layouts, published and visited look. I always wanted to have a real look to the backdrops and began using a combination of digital photos, low-relief and background buildings to achieve a real look to the backdrops. I have had great results using the stencils from New London Industries. I found this pretty cool tutorial. http://www.nmra.org.au/conventions/Clinics/Sky%20Boards/Sky%20Boards.html Some folks are not fans of stencils and hand paint clouds. If it's not done right, it looks like 2nd grade art. Here's what I have done on past layouts:









I used flats, digital photos and skyboards on my HO layout:




Trees and horizon items can be daubered in with a stamp made of foliage clusters:



As always, pour on your thoughts and thread fillers!


« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 03:54:04 PM by chuck geiger »
Chuck Geiger
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3rdrail

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 03:57:40 PM »
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These clouds were made with natural sponges using white and gray paints.



I am undecided on any further backdrop as often it only looks decent from one angle.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 04:04:00 PM »
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I just go with white foam core, or a white wall.





But I don't have a large layout.

DKS

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 04:34:45 PM »
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My current layout is small enough that part of a poster of sky is big enough for it. Most modlers don't like the strong color saturation, but I happen to like it. I am preparing a series of sky posters, each with different character (from perfectly clear to totally overcast), to add variety to my layout photos.



On my previous layout, I painted the room walls pale blue and spray-painted some faint, wispy clouds.



I didn't add any hills or buildings directly to the backdrop, and the layout was separated from the wall a few inches, to facilitate sunrise/sunset lighting effects.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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chuck geiger

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 06:31:57 PM »
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David - good stuff, actually the darker blue comes out better in photos.
Chuck Geiger
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wm3798

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2008, 08:56:40 PM »
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Blue wall for me.  Of course, my railroad is in an attic space, so the wall is actually the roof.  It's kind of tricky to get the lighting right, but some times you end up with the threat of impending weather...


Other times it's a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky!


The down side is there isn't much room for a scenic backdrop, per se.

Also, the two end walls in the room are finished with bead board plywood, which is painted an off-white.  There are things all over these walls they aren't real conducive for backdrops.  With the peninsula, these walls are bound to show up in photos.  Since I don't have much of a photo editing program to take them out, I use a short piece of temporary sky board to provide a bit of background...



I made it with a piece of styrene, some light blue spray paint, some spray adhesive and some ground foam.  It just has an all purpose horizon line with sky above.  I think it works pretty well.

This is the shot I was staging in the view above....


And another using the same backdrop from a slightly different angle...


And yet another, using the same backdrop at a different location...


And behind the temporary yard I've built, I used a similar technique to provide a more photogenic background there as well.


The vertical seam is kind of obvious, but again, this is not the yard's permanent location, so it's merely a stopgap measure.

One spot where I will be employing some 3-D backdrop elements is at North Junction, which is still very much a work in progress.


My plan is to use a sheet of styrene as the basis of the background, and use a combination of photos and flats similar to Chuck's gizzy.

Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2008, 12:22:37 AM »
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Dude, you NEED to take care of North Junction...

chuck geiger

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2008, 11:15:37 AM »
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Lee those panels are great, they bring a sense of eastern hill/mtns/tree lines to the layout.
Chuck Geiger
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davefoxx

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2008, 11:43:31 AM »
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Building a portable layout means that I don't have a permanent backdrop, so I recently repainted the walls of the train room a nice pale blue color:


which now gets me results like this:


I'm pleased with the outcome, and, if need be, I can slide the layout around to avoid any visible wall corners, doors, or the window in the background of a photo.

Dave Foxx
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Erik W

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2008, 01:11:57 PM »
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Here are some old pre-scenery photos of my backdrop.  This is the first thing I ever painted.  With that in mind, I think it came out pretty good for a first attempt.  A few things I'd do differently next time are 1.  Use photos as a reference when painting.  I'm sure I would be able to achieve a higher level of realism by doing this.  2.  Don't paint everything so large and close.  While this works OK currently, having my background appear more distant would be more realistic looking.  That said, I'm happy with it as a first effort.  The further I progress on this layout, my first, the more I realize it's just practice for the next one.











Here are some shots with scenery.







Erik
« Last Edit: May 31, 2008, 01:17:01 PM by Erik W »
My D&RGW layout  . . . and other stuff
http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w243/drgw55/

shark_jj

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2008, 07:52:56 AM »
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Guys, thanks for continuing these threads, I have been on a 10 day vacation at the beach (Myrtle Beach, SC) with my grandkids.  Erik, if you are unhappy with that first attempt, please come to my house and practice all you want, I think it looks great.

chuck geiger

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 04:07:20 PM »
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JJ - What do we have to cover next? (too lazy to look up your thread)
Chuck Geiger
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DKS

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2008, 06:16:05 PM »
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JJ - What do we have to cover next? (too lazy to look up your thread)

Week1:  Ground Cover
Week2:  Trees and Shrubs
Week3:  Paved and Gravel Roads
Week4:  Ballast and Right of Way Details, Culverts etc.
Week5:  Rock Castings and Carving
Week6:  Water, and Detailing Streams and Rivers
Week7:  Backdrops
Week8:  Blending Structures into Scenery, Bridge Supports, Building Foundations
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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ednadolski

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2008, 02:35:03 PM »
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I digitally combined some photo images and printed it out in individual sheets, then pasted the cutouts onto a skyboard.   I didn't use enough adhesive, so the sheets are peeling now and have to be repaired.




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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Scenery Thread #7 Backdrops
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2008, 05:03:53 PM »
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They look good too. I bet they'd look even better at N scale eye level. Got any pics from that perspective?

That's one of the things I think that make backgrounds with images on them look strange at times, that the perspective we're viewing them at is different than the perspective they were taken at. But when those two line up, they're awesome.