Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Backdrop in Maizerets Mark 2

The last time I played with Maizerets photo backdrop was 2 years and half ago. At the time, it was a temporary measure, a simple way to test out ideas. The result – though crude – was good enough to stay in place until now. However, scenery progress is going steadily and putting in place a final backdrop is no longer a luxury but an imperative need.

The real location (credit: Google Earth)

While the actual backdrop is looking good, we decided adding the three large oil tanks in Maizerets was required. The original scale mock up did call for such iconic elements to be implemented. As I recently mentioned, we tried to create real 3D reservoirs, but it failed due to lack of space. There are limits to selective compression and thus, it was thought having the tanks printed on the backdrop would be much more suitable.
Revised photobackdrop

My first attempt was to simply paste the reservoirs onto the backdrop in Photoshop. No surprise, the result was garish and unnatural. Thus, I decided to rather place them in background, behind the trees. Using various filters and selection tools, I was able to blend both images together so we could see the tank silhouettes visible through the leafless trees. And boy, did it worked! I can’t wait to try out the new backdrop and see if it needs adjustments. 

Improved perspective closer to the prototype

By the way, Marty McGuirk recently shared a story about a discussion with fellow high profile modellers concerning his future layout. As many of you know, Marty recently dismantled is large Central Vermont based layout recently before moving to a new house and many are curious to know what he's planning.

While the new available estate would make many pale of envy, experience and wisdom made him take counter intuitive decisions like significantly downsizing his future project to better shape it according to his lifestyle, aspiration, resources and relation with the hobby... and then broking it into achievable parts. Far to be miserable, Marty's story retells us how framing a project into a reasonable set of parameters based on reality instead of fantasy is generally the best way to achieve success. Better, is step by step approach will probably help him to better gauge his enthusiasm and the merit of each of his design decision.

This is a point I often stress here on Hedley Junction and I certainly appreciate the kind, honest and down to earth way he has documented the demise and rebirth of his layout. This is food for thought for many people struggling with reality and dreams... worst, feeling the pressure from their peers and the hobby into taking decisions going against their capacities... 

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