Printed Backdrop

The Coke Oven Bank
My layout was originally a couple of On30 modules representing a single siding and a sixteen oven coke bank. While this was fine for a modular group it wasn’t ever that great for a small layout like mine.
Don’t get me wrong .. the little scene looked good. I took this photo just before I started to change everything. I am going to store the coke oven bank and it may reappear at some point as a diorama.
Removed the coke oven bank. That took a bit as it was very well glued down with scenic cement. I also tore out most of the cliff.

I ended up with about 5 ft of space. Note to self — when getting the distance for a backdrop get the exact and not the ‘about’ measurements .. I was a couple inches short. No biggie but something to remember.

The Backdrop
Fontana Lake
Last year I added a small backdrop behind my On18 bridge. I used a photo I found online of Fontana Lake, NC. Beautiful place – my sister lives about 18 miles from where this photo was taken.

This is the original photo.

On18 Bridge
I modified the photo a bit, adding to the rock on the left so it curves in a bit (you can’t see that in this photo) and moving the right side bank down and closer. I had this printed on Tyvek at my local “The UPS Store”.

I used an X-Acto knife and cut away the sky from the photo leaving just the hills to glue against the painted blue/white sky.

Removed the Rocks
You can do this in any graphic program but in PSP I use the Clone Brush .. basically copying a section of the photo and stamping that bit of the photo elsewhere. In this case .. water and hillside so the rocks go away.
Now .. I had 5 ft of space to cover with a backdrop. I wanted to extend the scene I started with under the bridge so the first thing I did was to take the photo with rocks removed and mirror it (all of my graphics are done using Paint Shop Pro 2018).
Mirror and Paste
Since I had a mirrored image that I wanted on the left, I took this mirrored image and mirrored it again and added it to the right side. I then went in with my clone stamp and removed glitches from the pasting, modified the right side of the center mountain so the mirroring wasn’t obvious and then using the Magic Wand Tool removed the sky.

At this point it is obvious that the left side is mirrored on the right. I fixed that in the next steps.

Adding additional details
I found three more photos take from the same area of the Smoky Mountains to paste into the right side of the backdrop.
Distant Ridge
From the photo the ridge shown circled was used to fill in to the right side. The trick here is to create a new Raster Layer, paste the graphic on that layer .. adjusting the size until you are happy and using the eraser tool to remove the unwanted parts. When happy merge the layers.
A slope
From this photo I grabbed the right side slope – again using the same procedures mentioned above
Foreground Stuff
This photo provided some foreground trees and bushes. I wanted to show the lake ending to create a change in the ‘lakey look’. I grabbed a single tree from somewhere too.
With all of that done I went back with the Eraser Tool, Clone Tool, Softening Brush to clean up the backdrop and called it finished. The final photo was only at 72 dpi which means it is a bit ‘fuzzy’ which works since the backdrop is a filler for the layout and really doesn’t have to be super detailed. JMO.