DIY Backdrop Pt.V

Covering up – steamboats?
Grounded Steamboat!

Grounded Steamboat!

When I pasted the 1/3 photo over the 2/3 photo I was left with a steamboat sitting on what was now .. dry land. There are a couple of ways to fix this. One way would be to take a building from another part of the scene and trace around it using the “Freehand Selection Tool”, resizing as needed, copying to the clipboard and then pasting to the background layer over the steamboat. What I did was to open up Sketchup and then browse the free files in Trimble 3D Warehouse for buildings until I found one I liked – downloaded the Sketchup file and turned it until I was satisfied that it matched the perspective of the other buildings around the steamboat .. exported a 2D image, brought that into Paint Shop Pro and resized as necessary .. and then pasted into the background layer.
Adding Buildings etc.
In the end I added additional buildings to the left side using a selection from “Upward Mobility” – Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1908. To do this I merged the scene I had been working on and saved as a Jpeg. I then took this selection the 1908 photo, resized as necessary and put on a layer that I could fit into the prior scene. The only major difference is that this photo was not colorized. There is a way to Colorize Black and White photos which basically lets you paint onto a layer above the Black and White photo so you are in effect tinting the photo. There is no reason for me to go into any depth with this as there are plenty of tutorials online .. simply type in “Colorizing Black and White Photos” into your search engine.

Since I originally wrote that I did a short video on colorizing a black and white photo. Enjoy.

Finally – Printing
So. You have this nice backdrop. How do you get it printed? You could bring the file to a place like Office Depot and have it printed .. or you can do it yourself.

block postersThis website allows you to create any size wall psters from any size images – for free. – the cavaet is that the file has to be 1mb or less in size. That’s not that big of a problem unless you are printing a really large poster/backdrop.

When you are ready to print your backdrop, save it in Paint Shop Pro by selecting “Save as JPG” – then selecting the “Options” button. From the Save Options screen select the “Run Optimizer…” button. You will be shown a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ thumnail. Bump the “Set compression value to:” control up or down until the “Compressed:” value is equal to or below 1mb. That is it. Save and prepare to upload to block posters.

You upload the image – and then “Slice the image”. This means you click the control up or down to select how many pages wide your poster (backdrop) is to be. You select in addition whether it is in Portrait or Landscape .. and A4 or Letter. The poster size is updated as you make your selections telling you that the poster will be “approximately xx feet wide and xxx feet high (example: your poster will be approximately 2.8 feet wide and 1.9 feet high).

You simply play with the numbers until you get numbers that make you dance around the room. Finally you hit ‘Continue’ and you get a link to a PDF that you can download and use to print your backdrop. (sometimes you have to do this a couple of times and the uploaded file gets lost in hyperspace or something. No biggie. Just do it again.)

Here is a clip from the website. On the left the original and on the right the sliced poster.


In this case the poster is six pages wide and two and a bit tall. The PDF would be 18 pages. Print them off. My printer leaves a white area around prints. Fine .. I cut off the strip of white on one print and glue to the white strip on another while aligning the edges.

I just used this service and realized they are adding a watermark at the rivght bottom on one page. To remove it costs $5. You still may be able to use it with the watermark depending on where it is on your layout.


DIY Backdrop Pt.V — 5 Comments

  1. Ed,
    Thanks for the great SBS on the city Backdrop. I have Corel Draw, Sketch-up and MGI Photosuite III. I hope I can get them to work.

    • Corel Draw is a Vector Graphic program (I think). I believe Photosuite works with photo editing .. but not familiar with either. Note that on the first page of this thread I linked to where you can download a fully-functioning copy of Paint Shop Pro for 30 days .. and PSP will do everything you need I expect.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I’m currently searching Shorpy for building design inspiration for my circa 1905 layout as well as fine details. I plan on using some images for background as you have,so this came at just the right time.

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