February 16, 2009

At the Printers!

The first section of the backdrop is now at the printers. This is for the section of the layout behind Falmouth. The view is to the east, as the railroad is running almost due north-south here. 

It will be printed on matte, self-adhesive vinyl. The material is similar to what is used on bumper stickers. The stock material is 51 inches wide. This first section is 12.5 feet by 31 inches. We will try printing it in one panel, though the printer, Ken, at Affordable Signs
says that installation might be trickier.  He has offered to help install it. We'll need a couple sets of hands to get it put up.

The ground section is about 7 inches tall.  Since the Falmouth scene is supposed to be in the bottom of a small ravine, the higher horizon should work well.   The detail that Brian has included in the painting is incredible. For example, the surgeon's tent has a placard with lettering visible.  I think it will be fun to look at the backdrop to see what other details he has included.

I decided to print the backdrop to the full height of the wall. At first Brian and I discussed cutting out the sky and only using the ground portion. But once all the tree detail was added, I felt it was worth the extra cost to print the whole panel.  While I was at it I added some subdued cloud detail.  I did this for two reasons. One, it will make the backdrop more interesting. On a shelf layout, the realism of the backdrop goes a long way to contributing to the realism of the overall scene.  Secondly, most computer printers have difficult printing a large expanse of continuous tone.  Adding the clouds hopefully will help break up the continuous tone of the sky and help hide any imperfections from the printing process.

Overall, I'd say I did about 15  hours of photoshop work on the backdrop to get it ready for print. The large file size really taxed my iMac. With 4 layers the file was 2.8GB when open in Photoshop. This large size means that Photoshop must use a virtual RAM disk. That is a slow process compared to solid state RAM. So saving and making changes took several minutes.

The backdrop should be done in a few days. In the meantime, there are many other chores to do on the layout to keep me busy.


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