After about a year working exclusively on helping to get XTrackCAD V5 released, its time to turn back to the subject of the backdrop – the next item to be tackled.  As no sort of real artist, I want to print it rather than paint it as that gives me much more control over the final product.  We have installed plywood for a height of between 2 and 3 ft on three and a bit sides with 3 concave corners to suit.  These are either attached to the baseboard or (for the stretch where the baseboards come away from the wall) to the wall itself.

Now we have to sort out what will go onto them!  It needs to look correct for the scenery of the Llŷn, so pre-made backdrops are not suitable – but it also cannot possibly be straight photos of the area.  That’s because there is a tremendous amount of geographic distortion involved in the positioning of the tracks compared to an OS map both in terms of locations and directions.  Even if that was possible, I also want to give an impression of the place that will not detract from the foreground, so something more impressionistic is what I desire.

For the output, we can use the many printers who have roll printers that produce an up to 3ft wide sheet up to 50 ft long. Using Photoshop, we can attempt to “digitally paint” the backdrop – so hopefully as we go along, I’ll publish methods which may help others.

Here’s the methodology I propose to use –

First of all, design is required to show the desirable features that we need and their positions.  This will try and integrate the foreground and background.

Then we will use photographs as a basis for “digital painting” as desired.

Finally, once all is in place we will print and install.

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