Author Topic: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)  (Read 5817 times)

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ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2020, 05:05:38 PM »
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The whole package, rail included, makes a pretty realistic representation of a loco on a railroad track. :)

That sums up what I was going for - to try to remove (as practically possible) the 'giveaways', i.e. the visual cues that contribute to the observer's brain deciding, 'hey, this must be a model that I am looking at'.  Overall I don't think it's really much of a departure from most common modeling practices, rather it is a matter of materials selections and some additional effort (for example, to sift the ballast and soil materials with a finer screen, and to apply them in some extra layers).

Like you say tho, the approach needs to be 'whole package' in order to be effective.  Every overscale element will diminish the effect.  For example, I originally wired the line poles with EZ Line (fine), but it looked almost indistinguishable from the 0.008" wire (the heavier bottom lines) and seemed too heavy to my eye.  So I switched to the fly silk thread, and while I don't know the exact dimensions of it, it is small enough to give the effect that I wanted.


You've really nailed the look of the exposed boulders in the upper Pass, both on the rise and (with more subtlety) in the cut.  Could you say a bit about how you went about that?

Sure, those are the packaged rocks from AZRM (Apache Stone, I believe) in two of their available sizes.  Most are glued in place with the standard scenery glue, but also some of the larger ones were pressed into the Sculptamold while it was still soft.   I painted them first with a thinned coat of my scenery base color (which is too dark, so I'm planning to change it) and afterwards applied some very thin washes of water-mixable oil paints to give them some color variation and depth.  Powder pigments can also be used in places.   The rocks in the cut are similarly done, with a bit of extra Sculptamold in between, and dusted with a light layer of soil dust to give it some texture.  In some spots I overdid it and obscured some of the detail, and I should have planned it a little better to create the definition that I wanted (in this case, that means more of a rock-ish look rather than a dirt embankment look).


Ed
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 05:09:09 PM by ednadolski »

glakedylan

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2020, 06:42:23 PM »
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simply fantastic!
super job on this module
so very realistic
wow!


sincerely
Gary
"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well" ─SJON

PRRT&HS #9304 | PHILLY CHAPTER #2384

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2020, 10:04:01 AM »
+2
Trying my hand at a WIP background painting.   Some of it kinda works, some of it doesn't  (overlooking the gaps, my painted trees still suck) ....   I still think the FG colors on the dio are too dark overall.



« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 10:09:18 AM by ednadolski »

jagged ben

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2020, 11:00:32 AM »
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Somehow I missed this thread when it first started.  Fantastic work.

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2020, 11:10:44 AM »
+1
Getting ready for another crack at those BG trees, so I've re-done the hills.   I think some key learnings so far:

 - less is more: keep the trees smaller, and no need to paint every last tree, just enough to give some shape to the hills.
 - think in terms of light and shadow
 - the clouds could use some subtle highlights

N.B. this pic shows a test of the WS static grasses, I might go with the light green for next time.


Ed

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2020, 12:44:35 PM »
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That looks nice.  Two thoughts:
* RE colour: do you have an example of a proto-photo that captures the dominant shade of green you're after?  Is it the deep emerald green typical of early March, or a more faded hue typical of late April?  I would try to match the fg and bg colours to that.
* RE trees: the sparser backdrop is pleasant, but a bit of a clash to the line of trees along the back of the diorama.  Maybe the fg trees should be spread out a bit more?

As a side note, one thing that stands out to me about the trees around Tehachapi, especially at lower elevations, is that they predominantly grow on the north-facing slopes.  That is less true at higher elevations, say Rowen and above where there are substantially more trees, including some evergreens.  Your diorama looks like Rowen or Woodford to me, so background trees would be appropriate.  Here is some inspiration, though I have no advice on how to capture this in paint. ;)

C855B

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2020, 12:54:16 PM »
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... Your diorama looks like Rowen or Woodford to me, so background trees would be appropriate.  Here is some inspiration, though I have no advice on how to capture this in paint. ;)

That's the knoll on the west side of the tracks at Walong. The setout track would be to the left of the knoll. From that angle, background should be Woodford.

https://goo.gl/maps/C1PaxEsUKjWMThg5A

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2020, 01:51:19 PM »
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@GaryHinshaw I'm trying to find the balance for about mid-April, where there are new leaves on the trees but still predominantly green in the grasses.  Much along the lines of the link you've posted, tho at the higher elevations like Walong the transition to the drier grass seems to occur rather quickly at that time. Going earlier to March timeframes the trees have little if any green at that point, but I don't want to model mostly bare trees.  So it's a pretty narrow window, depending on the exact year and conditions...  ultimately I'll just have to invoke some modeler's license ;)


That's the knoll on the west side of the tracks at Walong. The setout track would be to the left of the knoll. From that angle, background should be Woodford.

The exact location for this dio can be seen in this pic (https://www.redoveryellow.com/signals/tehachapi/034_West_3507_29423.jpg), at the point where the tracks just start to curve to the right from the tangent, heading into the cut.   The dio is to 100% scale but at ~18" width it is a very small chunk of the proto scene and the pic is quite foreshortened because of the telephoto lens.   There are actually very few trees there, so I overrepresented them on the dio, just so I could have enough to be a better scenery test.

You're right about the background tho, looking into the 'front' of the dio is facing basically compass south.  The BG painting is the view looking compass north, about from the Loop hill.  (It doesn't take much movement to really change the perspective.)  I've swapped it here because I like the look of the dio better as viewed 'up hill', but the BG from there should probably show some part of the Loop hill itself.... again me playing the license card ;)

Ed

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2020, 03:07:57 PM »
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Clearly I need to re-think my approach, because I messed this up again  :facepalm:

Making the trees smaller seems to help, but they still look like paint blobs (which of course is exactly what they are).   I did paint a layer of haze over the hills (same color as the clouds, just thinned with water) which I think did help a bit by making it less stark overall.   For this pic I also did a comparison with a taped-up portion of a printed photo with some image enhancement.  Overall not too bad, tho the trees are quite dark and there is a lot of pixellation.   I also did a small test section of the Woodland Scenics 2mm Light Green static grass over on the RHS, and I think that comes a lot closer to the grass color that I am trying for.



Sometime progress is elusive, but I'll keep trying.

Ed

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2020, 08:00:33 PM »
+2
This feels to me like a step in the right direction, but I still have to figure out my approach for the BG trees.

Here on the hills I've used two custom-mixed green grass paint tones from the 8 oz. custom samples at Home Depot.  I'm liking the way they match up to the color of the WS static grass. The only other colors I used are Raw Umber and Unbleached Titanium to get some light/shadow effects.   These are the full-strength colors and do not have any haze added, I will try that after I've done the trees.

One thing I did differently is that the hills are not painted onto the same surface as the sky or the other distant hills.  I painted them onto a sheet of bristol board that I had cut out into a 'profile' form.  I like the way that the paint takes to the bristol board compared to how it lays on MDF or Masonite sheet.  I also like the cleaner line that it makes against the rest of the sky, and it should be interesting to see how  a few additional profile layers will look for some of the intermediate-distance hills.

Also note I added the other tree with a lighter green ground foam (AMSI Green Grass) which to my eye looks like a better representation of the Tehachapi oaks in the earlier part of Spring.  (Sorry, it's not too clear in this pic.... looks better in-person).




Ed
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 08:09:12 PM by ednadolski »

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2020, 12:33:04 AM »
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Side note: my daughter (the artist!) tells me I should try to paint the bare rock outcroppings on some of the hills, but I have no idea how to pull it off.   I think she might be trying to mess with me...  :?

ed

johnb

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2020, 10:01:15 AM »
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Side note: my daughter (the artist!) tells me I should try to paint the bare rock outcroppings on some of the hills, but I have no idea how to pull it off.   I think she might be trying to mess with me...  :?

ed
start with washes, I have used acrylic grays and India ink on a kids school project, I did one rock and she did the rest

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2020, 04:40:24 PM »
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start with washes, I have used acrylic grays and India ink on a kids school project, I did one rock and she did the rest

This dude does some really first-rate stuff, and has online lessons  (his rock work on this demo starts about halfway thru).   Aside from being oils, the other "Minor Detail" moment is that to do this level of work on a MRR backdrop would take someone like me at least 100 years of nonstop work ....  :ashat:

But anyways it's still interesting to watch ;)


Ed

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2020, 11:36:49 PM »
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Partial progress report:   I tried making some trees using a couple of shades of these green ink markers:  https://www.amazon.com/Copic-Marker-Sketch-Blending-Markers/dp/B00BHLRN60.   These have a pointed tip which allows finer control, plus I don't have to keep mixing the color on the pallete, which saves a ton of time and is a lot more consistent.  I do a base tone and then a lighter highlight to help give the trees a bit of depth.

Evaluation so far: I think it is an improvement over my previous brush work, but it still seems that something is not quite right.  It may just be that the colors are a bit too stark vibrant for a background, that perhaps will improve by adding a couple very thin layers of atmosphere/haze.

Note, this is just a quick pic, and I haven't done all the trees needed to complete the test.  The trees on the RHS have picked up some reflections from the lights which I need to get rid of.

<image lost>

Thanks for looking, and a Merry Christmas to all ;)

Ed
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 10:33:52 PM by ednadolski »

ednadolski

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Re: Challenge #5 - A Small Tehachapi Photo Diorama (large photos)
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2020, 05:44:33 PM »
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The WIP continues.....  If nothing else, I got the white balance on the camera re-calibrated  (tho the pic is now under-exposed, sigh...)

<image lost>
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 10:33:38 PM by ednadolski »