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Composing a layout with a photo editor


readingtype

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This evening I took some smartphone photos of my current layout project, something that I quite often do as it progresses to get a sort of scale eye view of things. I think of the layout, in scenic terms, as a set of cameos shaped by images and recollections. In the case of this layout, although I can contribute to the scenic setting from my own memories and photos, the details of the railway must all come from photos in books and online.

 

Because I have been thinking about backscenes quite a lot recently, I decided to edit in a photographic background that would roughly match my imagination. It's a photo I took from a hotel window as it happens. The result is pretty rough and ready but I think this addition transforms the images. They become a lot more like sketches of the desired result.

 

No apologies for the grainy photos or the fact that everything is far from the finished state I would like to reach. That's the point. And also, the fact that I've sliced out the background very roughly and the lighting angles and colour cast don't match. This is impressionism rather than documentary!

 

Firstly, the station depicted by the layout is cut into slightly higher ground and the back of the layout includes the slope where the area cleared for the railway land meets the natural land level. The slope has been cut back to give space to a large shed that has something to do with the freight transfers that take place on the outermost track. These features are shown below.

shed_positioning__IMG_20210904_222622_La

And again with the photographic background

shed_positioning__IMG_20210904_222622_La

 

Secondly the station building at the very end of the branch.

Here is is with the natural background

BR89_EG_IMG_20210904_222207_Large.jpg

 

And with the photographic background.

BR89_EG_IMG_20210904_222207_doctored_Lar

 

Must straighten that whistle. And get on with the layout!

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Looks promising. I actually like both variants, i.e. also the one without a backscene. I feel that sometimes a pale background from the ground up can help give a sense of space on a layout - especially on small layouts - whereas a backscene can take it away.

 

But of course the background can be key to setting the scene, as in your situation here. Will you be using a photo background or modelled trees?

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15 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Looks promising. I actually like both variants, i.e. also the one without a backscene. I feel that sometimes a pale background from the ground up can help give a sense of space on a layout - especially on small layouts - whereas a backscene can take it away.

I agree. I'm fortunate to have a white wall in the room where I am (even more fortunately) able to leave the layout up at the moment. Sour grapes: it's a bit bright and dazzles the model in the foreground...

 

15 hours ago, Mikkel said:

But of course the background can be key to setting the scene, as in your situation here. Will you be using a photo background or modelled trees?

 

Now that is the thing. This thing started as a project which I thought might be my first ever exhibitable layout. But then I came across FREMO and added an adapter so that the layout is also a FREMO station module. In regular layout mode there's a front and a back, and I am pondering the possibilities of having a banner printed -- something I've read about but not seen in use. In that case the operator could stand in front of the banner, or they could stand in front of the layout both to drive and operate the turnouts (almost all the signals are fixed). This idea assumes that a banner the right size is feasible.

 

But in FREMO arrangements (modules bolted together for a multi-day meeting) there are no fronts and backs. Station operators (ie those regulating the services) and shunters generally stand on one side of the station and drivers accompany their trains in and out on the other side. This is for obvious practical reasons. There are no backscenes for that reason -- and because a big part of the fun is the shunting and the backscene gets in the way. Everyone's looking at the operation so the intrusion of the real world is not quite so noticeable. In the FREMO scenario, the banner concept could still work though, and if it didn't get in the way nobody would mind.

 

Or, I could make something more conventional. In which case a labour of love would be to create a foreshortened backscene with hundreds of trees. In fact that reminds me that inspired by your recent post @Mikkel there is some florists' wire I ordered somewhere in the post :-)

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  • RMweb Gold

I can see the dilemma with backscenes at a modular event. The banner options sounds good for that.

 

As for trees, it's still all quite new to me - but one thing I did find out is that it takes longer than I thought to make one. Although I suppose if you only do the front row, the rest don't need too much detail, maybe not even trunks.

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