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  • Backdrops

    This thread is for discussion on how to do backdrops.

    Do you use the simple backdrop with blue sky and clouds and how do you do it.

    Do you use commercial backdrops or your own photos.

    Any method used can be discussed in this thread.

    <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

  • #2
    The following is from "Model Railroad Planning 2002" from Model Railroader on backdrops.

    Let's begin with the physical aspects of backdrops. They can rise from the layout surface to the ceiling or may project only a foot or two to form a minimal backdrop. I (Paul Dolkos) prefer the full-height approach, because the resulting backdrop serves to isolate scenes as well as operating areas on the railroad.

    Just about any smooth-surfaced sheet material can be used as a backdrop. Wallboard, hardboard, Upson Board, styrene, linoleum, and even aluminum sheet metal can be used.

    For a very simple backdrop treatment, paint it sky blue or even a neutral gray or beige. Let it recede into the background and do nothing to call attention to itself. If it is neat, clean, and smooth viewers -including you- will mentally screen it out.

    This is the easiest type of backdrop to do and the point is with backdrops: Doing too good a job with a painted backdrop calls attention to it and away from the railroad.
    <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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    • #3
      OK suppose you want more than just a blue sky.

      Here is a link to pictures and a discussion of making backdrops with clouds.

      The pictures are Mike C's.

      http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/t...erms=backdrops
      <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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      • #4
        Hi all

        Here is a link to a thread on "The Gauge" where Gavin Miller explains his technique for making backdrops

        http://www.the-gauge.com/forums/show...1<br /> <br />
        <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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        • #5
          quote:


          Originally posted by Bbags


          OK suppose you want more than just a blue sky.

          Here is a link to pictures and a discussion of making backdrops with clouds.

          The pictures are Mike C's.

          http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/t...erms=backdrops


          Hey, John, you saved me the trouble of having to re-post that stuff. Thanks.

          BTW: I like what you're doing with this forum. :up:

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Mike

            My thanks goes out to you and the rest of the people with digital cameras or web sites who have posted excellent information.

            They say your pictures are worth more than my 1000 words.[:-bouncy]

            I also now have somewhere to catalog all the previous information that I have collected on my hard drive.

            My computer will breath a sigh of relief when I can delete all the information that I have saved.
            <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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            • #7
              Hi John!

              First I'd like to compliment you on the great job you've done with the construction forum!

              I so wish I'd had access to things like this when I got started in the hobby!

              Hats off to Mr. Bagley!!

              The backdrop I made for my N scale switching layout is made from a piece of scrap vinyl flooring, that I just painted a simple sky blue...

              This 1st photo is one I took when I was first building the layout. This is a kit-bashed factory building, which is only a couple of inches deep, & sits right against the backdrop.

              With the plain backdrop, there's nothing there to "trick" the eye, & it looks pretty much like what it is...a shallow-relief structure, sitting against a blue wall...(this photo was taken with my old 35mm, & the quality is not that good)

              Download Attachment: bd1.jpg
              40.58 KB

              I got some of those Walthers "Instant Buildings", & reduced them by 50% on a copy machine, to make them slightly smaller than N scale...I cut out the individual buildings, & after playing around with different positions, I glued them to the blue backdrop where I thought they looked best.

              On top of this, I glued some plastic kit walls, or "flats"...

              Now there are essentially three layers of backdrop behind the shallow structure...the simple blue "sky", the smaller-than-scale printed cutouts, & the full-scale "flats"...

              Along with some foreground scenery, this not only adds a degree of realism to the structure, but it this makes it, & the layout itself seem larger than they actually are...

              Download Attachment: bd3.jpg
              69.93 KB
              -Drew-



              "Life is all the stuff that happened while you were making other plans."

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              • #8
                Wow, Drew! :up:

                Those Instant Buildings in photo BD3 really make a huge difference. Very nice!

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                • #9
                  Well everyone has given me a few ideas to experiment with. Thank you

                  Harry

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                  • #10
                    Getting into the "little more expensive" catagory has anyone looked into getting there own printed backdrops?

                    I'm not talking about the commercial ones available but using your own photos. Most Kinkos stores have a large format printer for doing posters and they can do a sheet of paper, vinyl, etc. about 36" wide by 96" long. Now this would require a really good 35 mm photo, digital photos won't work. It would have to be of really high resolution and might almost fill a CD (640MB). If memory doesn't fail, it often does, it would run around $100.

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                    • #11
                      For those of you interested in a company that produces commercial backdrops, here is Backdrop Wharehouse.

                      http://www.backdropwarehouse.com/indexbdwh.htm
                      <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi all

                        Darryl Huffman who is the owner of the finescaleminiature Yahoo group has for sale a video on painting backdrops.

                        While on his site take a look around as there is other information posted there.

                        http://darrylhuffman.50megs.com/photo5.html
                        <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For those who have not yet started a backdrop, I would like to throw out some ideas that might help. We should all be aware that there is a great deal of difference in the sky and terrain in the different areas we might model. What is ideal for one may not work at all for others. If you are not modeling the area where you live, it is a good idea to get some photos of the correct area if possible. In looking at the post by Gavin Miller above, I noticed a lot of difference in what is correct for Australia and what I see here in the Missouri Ozarks. Space and distance are much shorter here and it changes the scene a great deal. I have added a picture to show what I feel is important for this area. This a picture from a typical morning in August with lots of haze. Notice that the farther ridges are from the viewer the less distinct they are with very few individual items showing. Yet they are close enough to still see towers and man-made objects on the horizon. The colors are much more muted. As you shift to closer ridges, the color becomes more intense with more individual tress, buildings and things beginning to show. Each ridge becomes more distinct with more intense coloring until you get to the foreground where you are often looking through tree branches to see the ridges in the background. Study the photo and then lets talk about how I represent this on my background. I try to go the easy, simple, route if it will get a satisfactory result.

                          First I have painted my background a light sky blue. Next I add any cloud layers that I want so that they can have the ridges come in front to hide them in places. Painting clouds is simple enough but will need to be discussed elsewhere. I next choose a color that is not to bright, somewhat grey in tone for the ridge nearest the horizon. I paint this ridge using basically horizontal strokes, keeping the top fairly smooth with few abrupt changes in height. Next I paint the closer ridges using more vertical strokes in such away that there are more fuzzy tops giving the impression of more individual trees sticking up. The color is darker and more intense on each ridge. When I get to the foreground, I hold the brush vertical to the backdrop and use a dabbing motion with less paint on the brush to make each tree with branches that you can see through to see some of the ridges in the background. Don't overdo this as you don't want people to actually look at the backdrop but just "feel" it is there. For man-made objects I stick to some very simple items like tops of utility poles just to give a hint of something hidden in the trees. Remember the "KISS" theory. Use the small, cheap, acrylic paints and go for it! If the result is really so bad that you can't stand it-- paint it blue again. In my opinion, any backdrop is better than none.

                          Download Attachment: backdrop.JPG
                          25.99 KB

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                          • #14
                            Sorry guys! I just realized I should show some results also. This is part of my layout with the clouds, treelines, and scenery in place.

                            Download Attachment: crane.JPG
                            47.59 KB

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                            • #15
                              Very nice, Rich. Thanks for the tutorial and photos. :up:

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