BrightonMan wrote:Thanks for the nice comments. Bufferstop, I did try printing the backscene parts on photo paper but it didn't look right at all - far to shiney. Your right about the flatness of the card helping to blend the layout into the backscene. It hadn't even crossed my mind until I started building the layout, but it does seem to work well.
Shine and reflections, along with shadows in the wrong places play havoc with any attempt at joining the 3D and 2D worlds. Tall structures like signals and telegraph poles need either to be flat against the backscene or sufficiently far forward for their shadows to fall on the model not the wall. It helps to have the light source in the right place. My main lighting is three five foot "natural daylight tubes" as used in design studios and shop displays. They are mounted about a metre above the layout, one third of the board's width from the wall and screened from view by a deep valance or pelmet. From that position shadows going towards the wall are fairly short and don't actually make it to the backscene. If you look through my layout thread you'll find a photo of the viaduct where I positioned a fill in light at just the wrong angle and produced curved shadows visible through the arches.
Reflections and shine spoil the appearance of models because the reflections are of real world items, seen from angles that we don't normal view from. Take a look at some photos of the first generation diesels when the were new. You will see that the sides are glossy and very uneven, mainly the sheet metal bowing outwards between the lines of pop rivets that held the skin to the framing. It reflects but in a very random manor which our eyes are accustomed to. The model of course has much flatter sides, and mirrors things in the real rather than model world. "Shine" or "gloss" is a term we use to describe an objects level of reflectivity. If we reduce the reflectivity of a model we reduce both the shine and the innapropriate reflections from the objects around it. So we end up with a flat painted model lacking in the correct degree of reflectivity, gloss varnish adds reflectivity, semi gloss varnish restores some reflectivity, but this is one area in which there are no hard and fast rules, somewhere between matt and gloss will produce the right look in a particular setting, and that's about as good as anyone can say, what looks right in the right setting is as right as you can get it.
For backscenes and models of buildings etc. shine is definitely out, so any paint or varnish must be matt. the surface also affects shine, so if you are printing you need a rougher surface than photo quality paper. Older brick papers were often printed on thin paper which could be too shiny. I found that by scanning random stone paper and playing about with the RGB or CMY settings (depending on software) I could get an image that had strong joint lines but only light shading of the surfaces. I could print it onto the rougher side of paper cut from manilla envelopes, definitely no shine, looks far less flat, specially if you cut the quoins (big square blocks) at the corners and stick them onto the surface. Someone recently asked how long it took to scribe all the lines in the stone, so it must work.