|The quick and dirty photo backdrop in place and permanently mounted.|
|The treeline takes shape in Adobe Photoshop, but any old photo editing|
tool will do the trick.
The techniques I used to fashion my photos into the backdrop could be the subject of a whole new blog, and there are plenty of resources available online, in print, and elsewhere (such as continuing education classes in your community, and if you are serious enough and want to pause your layout building for a few years, post-graduate degree programs in digital graphics). But what I did was select, move, and scale sections of my panoramic treeline photos to match measurements from my layout, and then used various stamping and healing tools to fill any rough or mismatched spots. It's not a perfect image, but it is a reasonably convincing 'woods' image.
The next step is to make a correctly sized print. Based on my previous treeline experiments, the overall height of the treeline needed to be 5" to 5 1/2". I used the scaling and ruler features of PhotoShop to ensure that my treeline conformed to this dimension, and then I switched over to the free Google Picasa program to print the backdrop, because I am too stupid to figure out how to control printing in PhotoShop.
|Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at: Using Picasa|
for printing the backdrop cuz I suck at PhotoShop.
I do all my color printing on my trusty Canon IP1600 inkjet printer. Any photo-capable color printer will do, but I picked up this printer on one of those 'free after rebate' deals' that came up at a local electronics or office supply store. Such deals seem to turn up every week or so here in Washington, and I suspect that if you have a Best Buy, Office Depot, Fry's, or Micro Center within driving distance, it shouldn't be too hard to lay your hands on a Canon, HP, Epson, or whatever brand photo printer for cheap. Of course, this is all a ploy to get you to buy inkjet printing cartridges, which tend to be fairly expensive. But it sure beats a darkroom or waiting for a lab to print photos that may not even work out, because there is a little trial and error involved in getting the photo backdrop right.
|A section of the backdrop, |
not yet cut or mounted,
Using drafting tape (a somewhat less aggressively gummed masking tape), I hung and adjusted the tree line print on the existing sky-colored backdrop, removing and replacing the layout from its brackets several times in the process. Once it was in a suitable position, I made some discrete pencil marks to note its position.
|Drafting tape holds the treeline in place for adjustment. The joints between prints are hard to see in the tree images.|
My two roads still head of into a blue void, so I still need to take some photos to fill those two gaps in the backdrop. But in the meantime, this treeline will create the illusion that a forest lies beyond the trees I will plant in the layout and the dark, textured hues will subdue any shadows that my trees and vegetation might cast.
Onward to to trees!