Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Fast Growing Woods

Without further delay, I started to scenic the peninsula. This is a large piece of land covered by woods – mainly deciduous trees – is about 16 square feet. While I could go crazy over detailing, the sheer amount of scenic elements consumed by this disproportionate chunk of forest would make it both impractical and little rewarding. For these obvious reasons, I elected to use an impressionistic approach, relying on overall effect rather than fine rendition of individual trees.

Gloss acrylic medium not yet dry on the river...

Nevertheless, I aim to achieve two goals: create a dense enough forested cover to create a sense of distance and separation between both sides of the peninsula while creating an effective background to trains. For this reason, tree armatures used near the border are carefully selected while the ones in the middle are less than perfect. Some bare Super Trees are also used, mainly to add texture, but also to create opacity to hide defects or things I want to tone down such as the rock faces.

At this point, only trees are planted, with some vegetal debris here and there. However, the transition between the woods and the ditch as yet to be improved by addition of bushes, small trees and dead grass.

Forest floor is far too uniform

Interestingly enough, this woods works better than I thought. First, it did require far less trees than I expected when I made mock ups earlier this year. Second, since our eyes focus on the track and foreground, the wooden area get blurred in our field of vision, effectively disrupting the need for a solid backdrop between the two scenes. Interestingly enough, the creek scene works far better than we expected. Not only it becomes impossible to see where this river originates from, but the trees and meanders create a compelling impression of depth. Honestly, when covered in trees, the peninsula looks about 1.5 times deeper.

Pine trees add a touch of color to a drab scene

As for the color palettes, I kept it quite bland and regular. Greyish barks and brownish dead leaves as per prototype. Some greenish small plants add a touch of color. However, as prototypical it was, these colors were quite drab and I made about 8 Eastern pine trees using twigs, paint ad static grass. They are far to be perfect and I will probably replace them someday in the future, but they do add a touch of color that brings life to the scene. It doesn’t need a lot to completely transform our perceptions.

All in all, I’m quite satisfied with this forest as it stand now. It only took a few hours to put together and the results speak for themselves. It also brings us back exactly to the same level of completion before we tore down Clermont yard last year.

However, pictures show the woods are far too homogenous compared to the prototype. Trees haven't enough branches and some super trees will need to add texture in that department. In that regard, the problem with super trees is their branches start too long on the trunk while in a real wood, most branches are on top of the trees. I'll probably need to create hybrid trees using twigs and super trees branches. I suspect a dozen of them would make a sizeable improvement.

Another caveat is the forest floor. Shredded dead leaves does a good basic job but they can't be used in solo for a spring scene. A closer examination of photos show the leaves on the creek banks are much yellowish than anticipated. Also, many small grow plants are quite green and makes for a big contrast. Finally, ferns are also quite visible here and there among small bushes.

It means I'm about half done and probably two other layers of vegetation and debris will be required to add color and texture to this scene. The big issue being to not overdo it in the process. As for completion, about half the woods are in place, the other half to be done at a later date before starting to work again on Wieland scenery when all structures will be done and backdrop printed. I suspect I have about one month of work until I feel completely satisfied with this scene.

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