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Points of Perspective - Backscenes - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 03:31 am
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Gwiwer
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When we look at a scene with our eyes we benefit (in most cases) from stereoscopic vision which gives our brain information on depth of field.

Looking at a photograph, painting or other similar static image of a scene we can get the same effect.

When it comes to creating our backscenes we are often in the situation of having to create a long thin panel which will not be viewed from one point but from many, and will not be viewed by one person from the same spot all the time.

We are attempting to re-create a dynamic environment in still-life format.

There is the generic "sky board" with nothing but blue and puffs of white. That is one way to solve the problem but doesn't add background which we often need to include.

If I add trees, buildings and signs - however I choose to represent them - to a backscene then I need to create a sense of depth.

I can choose to say "Everything reduces towards and disappears at Point X" which may be fine if I only view the layout from one spot but as soon as I move it looks wrong. And I can only have one "Vanishing Point" on the layout - or at least only one per side - without things looking horribly wrong.

I have read through numerous topics, come across some part-solutions, but return here to the massed experience and skill of our membership to ask the question "How have you resolved this conundrum?"

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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 06:32 am
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MikeC
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 I know what you mean, Rick, and I've seen some extraordinarily contorted buildings on occasions.
The only solution I can come up with is to paint buildings flat-on to the viewer, with no real linear perspective. The only exception would be where, because of buildings and/or trees obscuring it, you know for a fact that the scene can be viewed from only the ideal vantage point.


 For this old Swanhurst backscene I avoided linear perspective, except for pic 3 which was visible from only one place.

 






 From extreme angles there would still be some distortion, but from most viewing angles it was kept to a minimum.



 I also think that to accommodate different camera heights, the backscene should be able to be raised or lowered as required.

Mike

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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 06:49 am
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Stubby47
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If I could paint as well as that, I wouldn't bother with the modelling at all...



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 09:32 am
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ddolfelin
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I don't think there is a definitive answer.
Mike is a long way towards doing the impossible.
Unless you have a very deep layout, the viewer will be looking down on it anyway.

The simple rule of 'eyeline' (looking up at things above eye level and down at things below) just doesn't work in our situation as our eyeline is akin to viewing from an aircraft - or a tall mountain.

As Rick says, the vanishing point we use in 2D work is almost irrelevant because we are in a different dimension.

I did some Production Design work for some Theatres years ago and the Director was obsessed about this idea of 'creating depth'.

Of course, this is possible with the use of colour and cheating on horizontal lines to an extent (and many stages slope towards the audience for this reason) but I ended up telling him to get the actors to enter on their knees and slowly stand up as they reached the front.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 09:57 am
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sparky
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 I did enquire on here some time ago ,if anyone knew the secret of holographs . Not the super double projection stuff  that meets in mid air..More like the photography i have seen on cosmetic packaging and choc boxes. Any thoughts anyone quest:



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2010 11:02 am
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Bod
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I seem to recall that we only view in 3D up to a certain distance anyway, after that we see in 2D so perspective does play an important role, although relative size of objects has an increasingly greater role as distance increases.

Another important aspect, which IMHO is often overlooked, is arial perspective where the further away the object the more muted and more blue/purple the colours. I was going to cite a Scottish layout, Lochinver, as a fine example until I saw Mike's photos above which show this superbly.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 06:49 am
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gordons19
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Your timing on this post/question is perfect Rick.  :thumbs

I've been playing around with a backscene on Eastwood and the whole issue of the angle of view is very much on my mind.  I now realise that much more work needs to be done to try and come up with something that works.  From the front, the trees and shrubs look reasonable against the muted distant backscene, but move slightly to one side and the illusion is shattered.  Not only do shadows on the backscene kill it completely, but you are immediately aware of the lack of depth.  I guess on top class layouts your eyes are drawn away from the backscene by interesting scenes in the foreground.

From the front...




.....but from the side...





 

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 07:03 am
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owen69
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Gordons 19, I agree with what you say about perspective,but in your pic I think it`s the trees
that are wrong, you appear to have an industrial back scene with waste ground  at the front,
some shrubbery, grass yes, but an avenue of trees ???
just my opinion of course.

:hmm:lol::cool:

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 07:09 am
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gordons19
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You may well be right Owen.  This is a first for me, so it's all a huge experiment.  They weren't meant to be an avenue of trees as such, but now you mention it....:sad:

I'm going to dwell on it for a day or so, because attacking it now may ruin the backscene.  I've sealed it with artist fixative and a couple of coats of matt varnish, so warm water may allow the pva to give.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 07:31 am
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henryparrot
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Gordons 2 photos highlight something i think most of us have problems with.

I actually think we are to blame ourselves for creating this because we have a space to build a layout in and naturally we try and maximise the space for the layout. As the backscene is a late thought in development.

For example in Gordons photo if his back retaining wall was say 6-8 inches forward from the backscene that would become a transition area between 3d scenery and 2d backscene.

If you look on RJR`s ho layout thread an idea he has used could in places be used in a backscene area using mirrors

He has used it to good effect whether you could use that with a backscene i am unsure.

Brian

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 09:44 am
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ElDavo
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Although the illusion of depth is lost at that angle, how many people will be able to view it in that way? It's impossible to make every angle look right so I think you have to concentrate on making things look right from the key view points. Of course the likes of Mr. Nevard will take photos from odd places but you can't accomodate every possibility.

Personally I think the trees look fine. Not so much an avenue as natural growth being stemmed by the railway boundary.

Cheers
Dave

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 09:46 am
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Gwiwer
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Mr Nevard would be welcome to come and take pictures at suitable angles here but he'll have to pay his own fare. ;-)

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 10:28 am
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Robert
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Purely from a personal viewpoint, because I have nothing to offer on this subject but I do like your modelling, and the photographs you put on here, so I have cropped the second picture you posted so that I think there is a more level playing field for them both to be judged by.

I'm sorry to say that this is a plain and simple hijack but I couldn't resist it as that second picture is a cracker. Sorry folks.














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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 05:15 pm
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pwarburton
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Hi

Interesting discussion.  It is great to see such concern with the backscene - I guess we have all been to exhibitions where the backscene really spoils a layout.  A friend of mine recently returned from an exhibition where he felt the backscene on one layout looked worse than a childs artwork!  It's a pity that some are very much a rushed afterthought and they can really spoil the overall effect.   

I don't claim to have got it right at all but I did get some nice comments at an exhibition a year ago.  I think the height of the material on the backscene needs to be realistic - helps to get down to eye level and think - how tall would the buildings etc be relative to what is in the foreground e.g. a church spire, houses, an office block etc?  Perspective needs to be taken into consideration too. 

This photo shows part of Beeches TMD before the backscene was painted. 




I totally agree with the idea of a bit of a buffer - an area where you can put say small shrubs, a fence maybe, possibly low relief buidings - so that this then blends into the backscene.  You can see how I attempted to start this in the photo above.  The building in the background (below) is supposed to be the back of a large supermarket - unloading bays etc.  An area of shrubs, small trees separates this from the track / yard.  


Below is a more recent photo of this area from a different angle - also one at night and one more at the other end showing backscene either side of a low relief building (backscene not quite finished here).  Does it work?   








You can spot the same building (above) here in a wider shot (below) of the right end of the layout (taken by Richard Wilson - British Railway Modelling).  Again a bit of work still to do behind the shed!





One further point - I personally don't think the backscene should be too distracting - I tried to paint a slightly muted shade for the sky - same applies to the clouds.  This is an old photo of the layout (below) pre weathering / detailing - I still need to complete this backscene so that there are some buildings etc beyond the models in the foreground - looks a bit ghastly like this but then has to start somewhere!  Any suggestions for backscene here gratefully received!




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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 06:27 pm
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Robert
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Is photo number 5 supposed to be photo number 2 PW? It looks like it from your text. Mind you perhaps I don't read so well.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 06:54 pm
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pwarburton
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No it's OK Bob like this - I have edited the entry a little - maybe clearer now. 

The text copied below refers to three photos that follow in the original entry ...

Below is a more recent photo of this area from a different angle - also one at night and one more at the other end either side of a low relief building (backscene not quite finished here).  Does it work?   


 

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 06:55 pm
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Christrerise
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Never mind the backscene, I love the point lever in this shot



Perhaps you could do a "how to" in a seperate thread?  Or alternatively, just send me 20 of them!

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 08:27 pm
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87 101
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Backscenes now there a black art ! I suppose I have been lucky with the backscene on potters  (thanks Brian) as the picture used fits the layout perfectly. At one end there is a road that disapears into the distance whilst the large factory fits nicely into the other corner. I think that some photo based backscenes look to false as the pics are too sharp. In reality your eyes carn't focus near and far at the same time so having a backscene that is slightly out of focus looks more natural. With my backscene I also had the advantage of printing the backdrop on the same printer as the brickpapers used on the buildings so all the colours blended together well.


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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 08:33 pm
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pwarburton
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In reality your eyes carn't focus near and far at the same time so having a backscene that is slightly out of focus looks more natural.

Did you take the pictures yourself - so that they were deliberately slightly out of focus?

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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2010 08:40 pm
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87 101
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No they were a freebe that I got from Henryparrot. I think that the slight blur was due to the use of the inkjet printer but however it happened it looks great. :roll: :thumbs 

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