DIY Backdrop Pt.III

The Cut
TheCutMy On18 line runs around and down the short leg of the “L” of my layout. I decided that if I cut away a portion for a bridge/trestle I could use a photo backdrop to extend my town into the virtual space.

I ended up with about a 16 inch gap. The red square shows this .. the height of the square also 16 inches which gives an approximate size I needed for my backdrop photo – with a bit of the town spilling over either side. This is where I started. You need to do the same – determine the space you are trying to cover. You can of course do this in segments .. no need to make one continuous panorama as my method uses photos cut-out and glued so you can stack them as needed.

Steamboat Annie
SteamboatAnnie-1904This photo of the Vicksburg waterfront in 1904 forms the basis for the backdrop. It has been colorized – meaning that the original Black and White photo was colored using a graphics program. One thing I noticed looking at the photos on Shorpy that I could use is that shots such as this over the river work really well for what I want – even better if the boats were’s there!
Paint Shop Pro
In the following I am using Paint Shop Pro. If you have Photoshop then everything I do here are almost exactly the same (best as I can determine) – the controls even having similar if not exactly the same names and procedures. If you are using other graphics programs then they may have similar tools. Since you can download a free, 30-day, fully-functional copy of Paint Shop Pro .. well .. do as you wish.
Perspective Correction
Perspective Correction Tool

Perspective Correction Tool

Perspective Correction Tool Screen. If you look closely at the photo, the left hand bank is lower than the right hand. This is simply the angle that the photo was taken from. So – the first thing I will do is correct that. The Perspective Correction Tool has four handles – one on each corner. You simply drag the handles until you match the perspective in the photo.
Corrected Perspective

Corrected Perspective

When finished with placing the Perspective Correction Tool you click the “Check Mark” and the correction is applied.

The shift is slight – the black at the top and bottom show how the photo was shifted.

Crop Tool

Crop Tool

Next I got rid of everything I didn’t want – or – conversely kept just the bits I needed.

Using the Crop Tool I again used handles (sides and corners) to select the area I wanted to keep. Everything else will be discarded.

I cropped the photo just above the tallest spire of a church and just above the water. You then click the “Check Mark” to apply the Crop Tool.

Cropped Photo

Cropped Photo

At this point I could have done some modification to the buildings on the ends .. copy, cut, flip horizontally and pasted carefully to create the missing bits (using Layers and the Free Hand Selection Tool). That would have been easier but I needed more vertical area.


DIY Backdrop Pt.III — 2 Comments

    • The link on the site is the Red Bar at the bottom of the page ..

      It talks about Commercial use and Publishing. Using the photos for personal use as backdrops on a model railroad is different. If you were to use them to create a commercial backdrop for sale then you would have to contact them for that use.

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