May 23, 2010

Harbor Scene Backdrop Artwork

I spent a good part of the weekend working on the artwork for the Aquia Harbor Backdrop Scene. At the left is a greatly reduced version of the file. The actual file is 46,800 pixels wide by 6,300 pixels tall. At 150 pixels/inch that makes a 26 feet long image! This size really brings my iMac to its knees. Saving the file takes about 5 minutes.

The earlier version of the artwork did not have the correct overall dimensions. It also had a scene from Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on the Potomac as the distant horizon. After visiting the actual Aquia Landing location I realized that the far bank of the river is quite far off and the scene I used was inappropriate. I also had subsequently taken a better sky panorama (more pixels) so I decided to redo the whole image. I also edited and revised several of the ships in the scene while I was at it.

Ken of Afforadble Signs stopped by to offer his advice. He suggested cutting the image into pieces. His sign shop could print it in one long piece, but we decided it would be easier to install if it was in three pieces. The seams will be at the corners. The print will follow three walls of the room. The left wall is 5 feet 5 inches, then a 15 feet long stretch, the another 5 feet 5 inches section.

The sky is a panoramic photo I took last winter of an interesting cloud formation, but fairly typical. The distant horizon is a separate shot of the Maryland shore from Virginia across the Potomac River photographed two winters ago. There are about 27 ships visible in the image. The boats are a combination of Brian's paintings, scanned images from books, colorized images from the actual ACW photos, and computer generated water. The file is so big that many of the Photoshop filters, such as "Distort-Ocean Ripple" will not work. That complicated construction of the image somewhat.

Next step is to print a small test section using the Ken's machine to check colors and clarity. I have been printing a few test shots on paper at home to get sizing and relative colors, but you never know what the colors will look like when we go to the actual printer.

On the benchwork front, Marco got the foam glued down and the fascia pieces cut to width in Aquia Harbor. It's almost ready to lay some track.


  1. AnonymousMay 24, 2010

    Great panoramic view. What material will you use for the final prints? Can you print on a vinyl for durability?

  2. Affordable Signs has several printers that are amazing. The media is a self adhesive vinyl that is very sticky and permanent. The first one I used would not easily peel off. Ken helped me install it and it worked great. See the earlier blog post about it.

    I ended up hand painting in the main layout room because of the requirements for two special scenes that were quite deep.

    In the harbor area, this is a fairly straight forward scene that is level, so the computer printed backdrop may work better.