Boy, I don't know what's done it, but my enthusiasm for my modeling is returning after so loooong a time.
Now that I can see (and access) my 12th St. Yard scene again... I've been working some more on it.
You see, the window being visible above my stand-in flats really has irked me for a long time. I HAD a specific PhotoFlat created in the software program that was earmarked for it... just hadn't gotten a 'round tuit for months and months.
Well, this evening I decided to dood it, and dood it I did.
I finalized and printed out the segments, trimmed them, then assembled it all to create a truly large PhotoFlat. We're talking 40" wide x 26" tall. Five S scale 40' boxcars can be spotted in front of it. It dwarfs the trains in a nice way. This new one was created as the "Sunshine Biscuit Company" for two reasons:
1. The prototype was in the region.
2. My mom worked there way back "when".
So it seemed appropriate.
Sunshine Biscuit assembled and in place.
But WAIT, that's not all!
This now meant that I could finish the filler building between it and the alley scene (the one in the pic I posted a few days ago) and replace the stand-in at that location. This I did, too!
This means that I now have about 8' of wall covered by "final" PhotoFlats.
Ain't I on a roll?
Time for bed... I will try to take a pic and post it tomorrow.
what kind of software program are you using? and what exactly is a photoflat? and if its what im thinking what kind of printer and paper do you use?
I am using i-Photo4 mainly. You can also use Paint Shop Pro (about $100-$125 to purchase), or other photo software. I think MS Paint Shop has some ability to do this, as well.
A PhotoFlat (my term) is a flat that is created using the above software. This usually means taking a raw picture, squaring it up (eliminating keystone, perspective distortions, etc), eliminate unwanted obstructions (wires, poles, vehicles, etc), and fixing any other "problems" that need to be fixed (such as removal of modern signs, creating new vintage signs, restoring existing signage, replacing broken windows of a long abandoned structure and so forth). Once it is all fixed up in the photo software, I then size it appropriate to scale.
Once resized, it can then be printed out in segments. (Most are too large to fit a single sheet of paper.) The segments get excess paper around the edges trimmed, then assembled onto mattboard using stick glue.
A typical good quality ink jet printer will be fine (I use a Lexmark 23). I use regular paper stock. However, photo paper might produce marginally better results, but then you have to spray the finished product with dullcoat. I've been using plain paper for years with no ill effects.
As promised, here is another poor quality pic (I've got to learn how to take better pictures) of "Sunshine Biscuit Company". The PhotoFlats to the right of Sunshine are all "final", the others to the left are place holders used to cover blank wall as I work my around the layout.
And so it goes!
Last edited by Coonskin; 08-09-2009 at 11:06 AM.
My basement is about two weeks away. Have a West Bottoms trackplan, along with about three others. I need to decide. One thing that I wonder about is all the buildings I would need to build for the WB layout. This could be an answer, at least as placeholders. Question, how did you add the signage like the Sunshine banner? Can you do this with Photoshop?
Understand on the need to decide. As for the West Bottoms and PhotoFlats in particular. You asked:
"Question, how did you add the signage like the Sunshine banner? Can you do this with Photoshop?"
Yes. I created the sign background, then used appropriate fonts to represent their sign. Once finished with the sign, I copy/pasted it onto the building blank. I then faded it into the existing brick texture work and weathered it a bit so it would not look startlingly "new".
As for creating your own flats using photos: Yes, it can be learned. My photoshop abilities are a by-product of my years in V scale (Virtual scale. i.e. computer train simulation), where I had to manipulate photo textures as a way of life.
In regards to my own PhotoFlats... I intend to offer a line of them for the model railroad hobby "soon". I still have a few hurdles left to overcome, but I do hope to be marketing product within a few months. They will be available in O, S, HO, and possibly N scale. SO, there would be another option for flats should you decide to go with the West Bottoms.
FWIW: Here is another poor quailty pic showing my latest PhotoFlat. (I really need a clinic on decent layout photography!)
The past couple evenings I have accomplished some more backdrop work on my abuilding West Bottoms theme.
After spending a bit of time looking at my Sunshine Bisuits PhotoFlat scene, I decided to act upon a suggestion by another S scale modeler that I was conversing with (email).
His idea was to add some perspective to the side of the Sunshine Biscuit PhotoFlat to help it blend better with the nearby "Alley" perspective scene.
I thought that was an excellent idea, so I did.
Here's the result of that idea:
Well, last night I was standing there admiring how nice that perspective add-on looked on that huge PhotoFlat that covers the window, and I noticed something: I didn't care for the lack of balance between the window-necessiated TALL PhotoFlat and the adjacent smaller PhotoFlats.
So, I did some chin rubbing... then had an idea. It was off to my raw photo texture folder to see what I could come up with. Eureka! I found an element that, with a bit of work, might just fill the bill. Sure 'nuf... after some time in the photoshop software, printing out the results, cut/assembly, then tacked to the wall "just so". I stood back and... much better.
It still needs "something". Back to the folder, a bit more work, cut/assemble/tack in place...
Now THAT'S more like it! The "ahhhhh factor*" was in full force now. I was pleased with the way the scene was "balanced" better. Here's what I did:
As you can see, the height variation isn't as jarring as it was. Plus, I like the effect that having backdrop "layers" is giving the layout.
So... I expect I'll need to do the same thing on the other side of the large PhotoFlat... but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!
Andre "Ain't I Sumpthin'?" Ming
* The "Ahhh Factor" is that phenomonon you get when you're pleased with your latest effort and you spend time just staring at it, repleat with satisfaction.
Nice job Andre. I wanna do this sometime.
Ship IT on the Frisco!