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Cloud mini-tutorial

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  • Member since
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  • From: Finger Lakes
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Cloud mini-tutorial
Posted by howmus on Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:47 PM

Several people have commented on the clouds I showed last week in the WPF thread and in the Show me thread today.  A couple have asked exactly how I do the clouds, so here is a very short little "How To" on how I do them.

Sky color is done with a color called Anchors Aweigh, #122F, Muralo Paint.  (See update.) The base for the color is Muralo Eggshell Finish (4599 Clear Base)  The paint color was matched by taking blue color strips at the store outside on a sunny day and actually matching the color to the sky.......

I used "the clouds" stencils by New London Industries to start with.  For this set I choose two stencils and taped them to the wall after it had been painted blue.  Then old newspaper was taped to the backdrop to cover places where I did not want any spray paint to drift over and stick.  The lines where the paper edges are reduced later.

The stencils were then lightly painted with flat white spray paint (I used plain old rattle cans for this although an airbrush would give better results with practice)  The key word is lightly painted!  You want just a touch of the blue showing through in places.  Clouds are not solid pure white.  The tops tend to be well defined, but there are areas of a more wispy appearance.

A light gray was then quickly sprayed on the bottom of the clouds.  Again, don't use too much paint.  I like to quickly spray from a foot or so (sometimes up to 18 inches) away from the wall.  The distance depends on how quickly the paint will dry as it drifts over the wall.  Practice on some scrap material and you will get the technique.

For this group of clouds I added two more stencils overlapping the first two I did (below the first two) and repeated the process.  Then remove the stencils and the newspaper.  I then go over a few areas to blend in the edges of where the paper covered it.  I have 3 colors in the clouds if you count the blue sky peaking through in places.

Spend some time outside actually looking at and photographing clouds.  Study how they look, where the colors are and how the edges of the clouds have those wispy areas.  Then practice a lot!

This group is my favorite on the layout:



My second favorite:



Enjoy!

73

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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Posted by ChadLRyan on Saturday, March 24, 2012 7:02 PM

Thank you Ray!!!!

That is Great info, very appreciated!!!

Chad L Ryan
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  • From: Red Lodge, MT
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Posted by sfcouple on Saturday, March 24, 2012 7:06 PM

Outstanding work...your clouds have a 3-dimensional quality to them that I've never seen before.  Thanks for sharing your technique, which has just been cut and pasted into my notes. Whistling

Wayne 

Modeling HO Freelance Logging Railroad.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 24, 2012 8:45 PM

howmus! Those are absolutely excellant clouds, and the sky colour is right on too.

Very well done sir! I hope I can come close when I get to that stage

Dave

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Posted by MudHen_462 on Saturday, March 24, 2012 8:48 PM

Great tutorial... Thanks, Ray.

Bob

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Posted by howmus on Saturday, March 24, 2012 9:02 PM

Thank you folks!

I should point out that the stencils make fairly large clouds in HO and smaller scale ones in O..  I wouldn't recommend them for N Scale or smaller, but it would not be hard to make your own stencils from cardstock.  That could be done in any scale....

73

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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  • From: upstate NY
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Posted by galaxy on Sunday, March 25, 2012 3:32 AM

Thank you Ray for the tutorial.

They certainly are real looking.

WHile I HAVE studied clouds on the rare and few "puffy cloudy/mostly Sunny days" we have around here, I have yet to try to create some. Scared they will look like blobs I guess. {that and I don't want to paint clouds on the Sky Blue wall paint in the extra room}.

Maybe someday when I am up your way I can see them live in person if I visit the S.L.O.W.

Geeked.

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by howmus on Sunday, March 25, 2012 6:45 PM

Update to original information!

The paint color for the Backdrop is Pratt and Lambert Color Chart, Anchors Aweigh #1228 using Muralo Eggshell Finish clear base #4599.

I highly recommend taking the color charts outside and matching the paint to a nice blue sky on a sunny day.......  Stores may use a variety of different brands of color charts.  The name Anchors Aweigh is very different colors from different brands of paint....!

73

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:23 PM

as a glider pilot, i pay a lot of attention to clouds, both from the ground and up close.

at least on days when rain is not in the forecast, clouds form due to thermals, raising warm damp air from the ground.   At some altitude, usually several thousand feet, the air temperature falls to the dew point and a cloud starts to form.    These clouds look like the small puffy cloud such as the one in the foreground bottom right of the first photo in the original post.   They are unlikely to form in groups, are usually isolated in the sky.  

As clouds due to thermals grow, there will be more clouds and their bottoms are much more flat than on top.   If there is sufficient thermal activity, clouds will grow tall, and have much more structure,  be surrounded by other clouds and look very dramatic.  These may become thunderstorms.   The only way to see such clouds from the ground is if they are distant and moving toward you.      All will start at a distinct altitude, extend upward and the sky behind them will be completely filled with clouds.

So while i  am impressed with the artistry i see several inconsistencies when I look at the photos in the original posts,.   

In the first photo, i would not expect to see the 4 or 5 clouds bunched together with the rest of the sky clear.   I would expect to see many larger clouds, but they are all at the same altitude, and would be scattered in the sky.   The shape of these larger clouds would be similar; not small and puffy but broader and flatter.   Those in the distance would need to look smaller that the ones closer, and have the proper perspective so that all appear at the same altitude.

it's very common to have blue sky above a behind you, while seeing scattered (< 50% of the sky)  larger clouds moving in from the distance, all at the same altitude, and stretching to the horizon.  In fact, the clouds may form in lines called cloud streets.

I think the second photo, with the clouds less defined, looks much more realistic for those types of clouds, but  it appears that they reach the ground (as opposed to getting small, even less defined in the distant).   On such days I would expect there to be more haze and less distinct sunlight.

i think the third photo with the puffy clouds is the most realistic,   but the clouds appear too close and too close to the ground.    I would expect to see only a single isolated cloud, and  it would need to be smaller in order to appear at a higher altitude in the distance.

again, i'm very impressed with the artistry.   i hope these comments will encourage you to consider what i've said the next time you look at the sky, and help with the realism.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by sfcouple on Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:43 PM

Greg,

I read your comments and respectively disagree with some of your observations.  I live in Montana, at about 5,500 ft., and it's not called "The Big Sky" State for nothing.  As a former private pilot living in Montana I can say the clouds depicted in this thread are very realistic, I see them most every day just by looking out our front window---along with deer, the occasional black bear and moose.  

Now, about the perspective: this modeler is scaling a great distance into the relatively small space available to him and he has done an exceptional job.  

Wayne 

Modeling HO Freelance Logging Railroad.

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    May, 2004
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Posted by tatans on Monday, March 26, 2012 12:11 PM

Just a hint, after learning to paint the prairie sky which took me about 3 years, the one key factor to remember is the blue is lightest at the horizon and gradually gets darker upward, just go outside and have a look,   by the way, those clouds are some of the best I've seen.

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Posted by howmus on Monday, March 26, 2012 1:04 PM

tatans

Just a hint, after learning to paint the prairie sky which took me about 3 years, the one key factor to remember is the blue is lightest at the horizon and gradually gets darker upward, just go outside and have a look,   by the way, those clouds are some of the best I've seen.

Absolutely....  The area is not finished.  I have added a bit more whitish mist under those clouds but there will be more done later.  The second photo shows that much better I think.  To a lessor degree the 3rd. photo has a lighter blue near the bottom.  Agian, done with a very light spray of white.  Probably could add more but I like it the way it is, and to add more now would mean a lot of covering up the entire layout in that room.....  So it will have to do.  Thank you BTW!

73

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Monday, February 18, 2013 6:29 PM

]

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Friday, April 04, 2014 4:22 AM

Sorry for bring this older topic up, but I'm amazed that I missed this.  Howmus, those clouds are gorgeous! YesCool   This tutorial is excellent.

These are just a few clouds that are in my "hobby" room.  The stencils were drawn and cut out on Braille paper.  The basecolor is white with the undersides painted lightly with primer gray.  I didn't use my airbrush, just a pair of rattle cans that often sit and collect dust. 

My wife insists that I need more and larger clouds.  Your opening photos certainly are quite motivating and supports her view as well.  I've put this on my "to do" list when the summer comes. 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


pav
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  • From: Bronx, NY
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Posted by pav on Friday, April 04, 2014 6:25 AM

Ray, that really is impressive.  I thought the first photo was an actual photograph of clouds. '

Big Smile

Eric

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, April 04, 2014 6:28 AM

Those are stunning clouds..Bow

Bob Ross would have been proud to call them "A happy  cloud with some friends. "

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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