Backdrop dilemmas

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Matt Probst, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    (I know there may have been a thread like this before.) I'm working on one of my backdrops at the moment...What I'm trying to achieve is a look that the scenery goes on and on as far as the eye can see. I've got the sky painted. That looks good. I've got the clouds painted using Gavin Miller's technique, which by the way is absolutely awesome. Now comes the difficult part...
    The part of the backdrop I'm working on is an industrial type yard scene. I want photos and pics of industrial buildings, warehouses etc. that I can fit together like a jigsaw and glue directly on the backdrop. Then add some flats that will blend in with the 3-D scenery in front. The yard area stretches approx. 12'.
    I thought about using some of the printed commercial backdrops which are OK but to me look too "fake", not to mention that they are featured on so many peoples layouts that I want to be more unique. I've started a folder of pictures that I've cut out of magazines and old calendars but I need a whole lot more! Is there any other source that anyone can think of that would provide me with a TON of pics? I've searched the web quite a bit, but really haven't come up with too much.
    Thanks in advance!!

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    How high is your layout? If the tracks are at eye level, or just below, you won't need scenery that goes "as far as the eye can see" 'cause it'll be blocked byt that huge industrial building there, just beyond the tracks.

    Anyway, I think it was MR that had a good article about backdrops and how to trick the eye - maybe September 2002 (Make an inch a mile). Something like that.

    I agree with you that the commercial backdrops look funny, and I think I've figured out why - the perspective is wrong in most cases. You can look down on many layouts, and see lots of roofs, tops of towers, etc, but the printed backdrops don't match that, so they look wrong.

    I have seen a few really nice painted backdrops. Would you consider this? You could scan and print your limited number of pcitures, but the computer would allow you "kitbash" them into a variety of "not quite duplicates". These could be glued to the wall, and then additional painting can make them blend.

    Barring a better internet search, you could go and take pictures of what you want, or see if you can get copies of companies' annual reports - they always have some good promotional materials that feature their key operations.

    That's way more talking than I intended to do...

  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Matt you might try they use actual photos. They are $9.95 for a 3 foot section the last I checked. I use the rurual ones for the mtn.'s on my backdrop, but they also have industrail as well. I cut the "sky" off then cut up the mtn.'s ( in your case the buildings) as needed and can get 6-9 ft. out of a 3ft. section.
  4. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Matt, try Google search engine and search for "Industrial Buildings". You may find something which you can grab and scale to the size you want for printing out and pasting into your backscene.

    Worth a try.

  5. upguy

    upguy Oregon Western Lines, CEO

  6. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hi guys...thanks for your replies...

    Andrew--The heighth of my layout is 40" on the lower level and 44" to 46" on the upper level...It should have been a little higher probably but I set on that measurement as I have a 4 yr.old that's intrigued with the trains and my wife is only 5'3" and it's perfect heighth for her. Unless I pack structures side by side down the entire length of the yard, there's no other way to get past the fact that buildings usually have some space between them that you can see past and "off to the distance". Not to mention the distant smoke stacks, water tanks and roof lines that may be higher than the foreground structures.
    I've seen the MR article you're referring to and in fact, re-read it the other day. It is an excellent piece, but doesn't quite answer all my questions about image sources.

    Tyson---I've checked out "realistic backgrounds" and your correct about the pricing. Unfortunately, I have a single sided backdrop that extends for 12' and will be installing a 12' doublesided backdrop. That equals out to about $120.00 not to mention shipping. Way more than I wanted to spend. But for the realism aspect, that company has some beautiful images!!

    Errol--I'll try Google maybe tomorrow. I've used the same keyword with a couple other engines and got a bunch of gobbledy-gook!!!

    I'll keep on hunting!!!

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I googled comercial real estate with some results before reading Errols suggestion...

    Don't forget with google you can hit the images tab at the top, too.

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