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Backdrops

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  • Member since
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Backdrops
Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, July 10, 2003 2:59 PM
I am trying to expand a city scene on a switching railroad by installing digital picture print outs of industrial building on my sky backdrop behind and between the limited relief buildings against the backdrop. I am having great difficulty in locating any decent pictures. Basically I am looking for 6 story or lower buildings shot from ground level and free of cars, telephone poles, etc. and preferably free standing with nothing around them so they can be combined when needed. Does anyone know of a picture source for this type of request? Thank you
  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,452 posts
Backdrops
Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, July 10, 2003 2:59 PM
I am trying to expand a city scene on a switching railroad by installing digital picture print outs of industrial building on my sky backdrop behind and between the limited relief buildings against the backdrop. I am having great difficulty in locating any decent pictures. Basically I am looking for 6 story or lower buildings shot from ground level and free of cars, telephone poles, etc. and preferably free standing with nothing around them so they can be combined when needed. Does anyone know of a picture source for this type of request? Thank you
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 10, 2003 5:13 PM
Have you considered the "Realistic" line of backdrops. I don't have a link for it, but I believe they are in the current Walther's catalogue.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 10, 2003 5:13 PM
Have you considered the "Realistic" line of backdrops. I don't have a link for it, but I believe they are in the current Walther's catalogue.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 11, 2003 8:41 AM
what I do, is search around magazines, books, the internet,and any other place I can find photos of what Im looking for in the right size for the scene Im doing.
I cut them out-eleminating parts I dont want, as long as it doesnt ruin the picture, paste them on thin cardboard, and cut the cardboard to match the the shape of the pics. I attach that to my sky backdrop, and add whatever details I need to blend it all in. You would be surprised how could this can look.[:D]
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 11, 2003 8:41 AM
what I do, is search around magazines, books, the internet,and any other place I can find photos of what Im looking for in the right size for the scene Im doing.
I cut them out-eleminating parts I dont want, as long as it doesnt ruin the picture, paste them on thin cardboard, and cut the cardboard to match the the shape of the pics. I attach that to my sky backdrop, and add whatever details I need to blend it all in. You would be surprised how could this can look.[:D]
  • Member since
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  • From: San Jose, California
  • 3,154 posts
Posted by nfmisso on Friday, July 11, 2003 8:44 AM
An EARLY sunday morning field trip, camera in hand, would be worthwhile.
Nigel N&W in HO scale, 1950 - 1955 (..and some a bit newer too) Now in San Jose, California
  • Member since
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  • From: San Jose, California
  • 3,154 posts
Posted by nfmisso on Friday, July 11, 2003 8:44 AM
An EARLY sunday morning field trip, camera in hand, would be worthwhile.
Nigel N&W in HO scale, 1950 - 1955 (..and some a bit newer too) Now in San Jose, California
  • Member since
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  • From: US
  • 791 posts
Posted by steamage on Saturday, July 12, 2003 1:02 PM
Finding buildings that don't have a telephone pole or shadows across a wall is really hard to do. Being as your using a computer to print out a picture of a building then why not use an Adobe Photoshop program that will allow you to remove unwanted details or shadows and will even allow you to cut and paste your building together. Works for me.

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  • From: US
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Posted by steamage on Saturday, July 12, 2003 1:02 PM
Finding buildings that don't have a telephone pole or shadows across a wall is really hard to do. Being as your using a computer to print out a picture of a building then why not use an Adobe Photoshop program that will allow you to remove unwanted details or shadows and will even allow you to cut and paste your building together. Works for me.

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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, July 14, 2003 11:07 AM
That is the ultimate goal. Magazine pictures are not a high enough quality when compared to digital pictures of 3.1 megapixels or higher that can be blown up to 12"x20" with no loss of clarity. I just need a source of digital pictures.
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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, July 14, 2003 11:07 AM
That is the ultimate goal. Magazine pictures are not a high enough quality when compared to digital pictures of 3.1 megapixels or higher that can be blown up to 12"x20" with no loss of clarity. I just need a source of digital pictures.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 1:06 PM
what if you scan the magazine pics into your scanner and print it out thru your puter??
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 1:06 PM
what if you scan the magazine pics into your scanner and print it out thru your puter??
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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, July 14, 2003 4:30 PM
The problem with scanning magazine pictures is the scale correction. The printing gets fuzzy if enlarged and there really isn't any way around that as the scanner can't really improve the quality of what it sees. There are some pictures I have found but in general it takes at least 2.7 megapixels to equal film quality at 4"x6". It takes 4.0 megapixels or higher to enlarge even digital pictures. I will probably have to go take some of my own but getting good clear perspectives at a 90 degree angle to a building is difficult and there aren't that many that are candidates. Printing a high quality photo with one of the new photoprinters after reworking seems like a way to control costs. I was just curious if anyone knew of someone who was collecting pictures like that for modeling purposes and it would appear I am pushing the envelope. What my original thought was is to put building pictures between the low relief background buildings that range from 1" to 4" apart to give the appearance of more cityscape. I thought photoquality printing on glossy paper would give the most realistic representation (after it was dullcoated). I will probably just have to experiment some. I just didn't want to reinvent the wheel.
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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, July 14, 2003 4:30 PM
The problem with scanning magazine pictures is the scale correction. The printing gets fuzzy if enlarged and there really isn't any way around that as the scanner can't really improve the quality of what it sees. There are some pictures I have found but in general it takes at least 2.7 megapixels to equal film quality at 4"x6". It takes 4.0 megapixels or higher to enlarge even digital pictures. I will probably have to go take some of my own but getting good clear perspectives at a 90 degree angle to a building is difficult and there aren't that many that are candidates. Printing a high quality photo with one of the new photoprinters after reworking seems like a way to control costs. I was just curious if anyone knew of someone who was collecting pictures like that for modeling purposes and it would appear I am pushing the envelope. What my original thought was is to put building pictures between the low relief background buildings that range from 1" to 4" apart to give the appearance of more cityscape. I thought photoquality printing on glossy paper would give the most realistic representation (after it was dullcoated). I will probably just have to experiment some. I just didn't want to reinvent the wheel.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 5:09 PM
I am going to try to use pictures that I took myself in the general area I'm modeling and have them blown up commercially so I can attach them in front of my sky backdrop.
J Hunter


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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 5:09 PM
I am going to try to use pictures that I took myself in the general area I'm modeling and have them blown up commercially so I can attach them in front of my sky backdrop.
J Hunter


  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 5:42 PM
One thing to consider is how far away the backdrop will be from the viewer (the further away, the less detail needed). For what ndbprr indicated, a switching layout, I'm thinking that the backdrop might only be a couple of feet or less away and so any photos used on the backdrop will need to be pretty clear and of high resolution.

On the other hand. if the backdrop is to be viewed from several feet away, you might even want to blur the image a little bit, to give the illusion of seeing the building a the haze or whatever.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 5:42 PM
One thing to consider is how far away the backdrop will be from the viewer (the further away, the less detail needed). For what ndbprr indicated, a switching layout, I'm thinking that the backdrop might only be a couple of feet or less away and so any photos used on the backdrop will need to be pretty clear and of high resolution.

On the other hand. if the backdrop is to be viewed from several feet away, you might even want to blur the image a little bit, to give the illusion of seeing the building a the haze or whatever.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 7:04 PM
To get the perspective correct on buildings over about 2 stories requires use of a Perspective Control lens. This means you're going to need to use a Digital SLR to shoot, and even that's problematic, as PC lenses rarely work with the digital bodies, even if they mate. IIRC only Nikon PC lenses will mate with any Digital SLR's, Nikon, Kodak and Fuji DSLR's to be exact, and the only DSLR's that will meter with Manual focus lenses like all PC lenses, are the F4 and F5 based 3MP Kodaks from a few years ago, which are still extremely expensive, as they were upwards of $6000 new. And PC lenses aren't cheap to start off.

So, this is a non-trivial exercise.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 14, 2003 7:04 PM
To get the perspective correct on buildings over about 2 stories requires use of a Perspective Control lens. This means you're going to need to use a Digital SLR to shoot, and even that's problematic, as PC lenses rarely work with the digital bodies, even if they mate. IIRC only Nikon PC lenses will mate with any Digital SLR's, Nikon, Kodak and Fuji DSLR's to be exact, and the only DSLR's that will meter with Manual focus lenses like all PC lenses, are the F4 and F5 based 3MP Kodaks from a few years ago, which are still extremely expensive, as they were upwards of $6000 new. And PC lenses aren't cheap to start off.

So, this is a non-trivial exercise.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 8:43 PM
I believe all of the computer modeling software contains various samples of backdrops, including city and urban stuff. You might visit some of their websites and get into the demos to see what you can find.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 8:43 PM
I believe all of the computer modeling software contains various samples of backdrops, including city and urban stuff. You might visit some of their websites and get into the demos to see what you can find.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 17, 2003 9:09 AM
I like low resolution pics printed on card stock as it gives the appearance of distance, haze, and is cheap. There are high resolution pictures on the internet, but you have to pay for them. Just search landscape pictures, city pictures, and stock pictures in Yahoo.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 17, 2003 9:09 AM
I like low resolution pics printed on card stock as it gives the appearance of distance, haze, and is cheap. There are high resolution pictures on the internet, but you have to pay for them. Just search landscape pictures, city pictures, and stock pictures in Yahoo.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 18, 2003 11:57 PM
I went to a GATS show, sometime ago, at Pomona Fairplex, in California. There was a person there, that can take your photo's, blow them up, and make backdrops for your layout. Contact GATS for this person. I have his card here somewhere.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 18, 2003 11:57 PM
I went to a GATS show, sometime ago, at Pomona Fairplex, in California. There was a person there, that can take your photo's, blow them up, and make backdrops for your layout. Contact GATS for this person. I have his card here somewhere.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 12:32 PM
I recently purchased some scale backdrops from Realistic which I found in Internet Trains. The pictures are very good but since my track runs along and very close to the back edge, I need to have the back drop far enough away from the back edge of the layout to gain the right perspective. I have planned to add on to back of the layout to add other scenery. Is there a rule of thumb about how far back to go, or will I just have to rely on eyesight and experimentation?

Thanks,
Roger
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 12:32 PM
I recently purchased some scale backdrops from Realistic which I found in Internet Trains. The pictures are very good but since my track runs along and very close to the back edge, I need to have the back drop far enough away from the back edge of the layout to gain the right perspective. I have planned to add on to back of the layout to add other scenery. Is there a rule of thumb about how far back to go, or will I just have to rely on eyesight and experimentation?

Thanks,
Roger

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