Sunday, November 2, 2008

Virtual Layout Scenery

As I recently reported in my post titled Choosing the Right Sky Color, I have been trying to decide on the correct paint colors to use for painting the sky on my backdrop. Last week, I settled on two Behr shades of blue to use for my sky. While I am probably worrying a bit too much about this, I feel this is an important decision because the backdrop has to set the mood and frame the scene while managing to stay in the background and not distract from the real stars of the show: the trains and foreground scenery.

Thanks to the wonders of computer graphics, I have a way to simulate my backdrop sky using real paint colors on an actual prototype photo. Since I am trying to stay as low-budget as possible, I decided to use the flat latex paint available at Wal-Mart for $8 a gallon. So I took my Behr paint samples to Wal-Mart and had the comparable colors matched and mixed. Using these colors in my simulated sky, I found them to be a better match (on the computer) than the Behr colors I originally settled on:

In the above photo of a CSX train on the W&A Subdivision crossing the Etowah River near Cartersville, GA, the left half of the sky has been digitally created using the two shades of blue paint I purchased at Wal-Mart; the right half is the original sky from the photo. The match is nearly identical, especially the lighter blue in the lower sky at the horizon. For those keeping score at home, the colors I finally selected are:

Darker Blue (upper sky): Wal-Mart ColorPlace #91444 Cornflower
Lighter Blue (lower sky): Wal-Mart ColorPlace #92442 Blue Pearl

And just for fun, I took a few photos of my benchwork and overlaid them with prototype photos of the same bridge scene. This gives a pretty good idea of the scene I am trying to create and how it will look on the Dixie Line layout:

Original photos are from RailPictures.Net and are copyrighted by the photographer as indicated at the bottom of each photo.