…but always fail forward. Otherwise known as improvement through iteration. Or so I hope.
With the backdrop on the transload & IML Containers side of the peninsula finished, and a day trip to Le Mars last week, I decided to play around with some photo backdrops. Needless to say (and not unsurprisingly) it didn’t work out too well. But after some consultation with James McNab I think I know a path forward.
The first spot I tried was in the transload area. Unfortunately, Google Street View is of no help, and the photos I took from a drone were at too high of an angle.
The horizon line is far too high, but it does add some visual interest. Next, I tried using just half the image.
Better, but still not great. For this area, I may end up using some generic farmland backdrops and represent the rebar and lumber stacks more to the right of the actual transload area, where I have more space between the tracks and the backdrop. Plus, that’s dead space anyway that needs to be filled between the transload and IML Containers. While not entirely prototypical, it may work better and still provide the feel of the area. More work will be needed here.
Next up was IML Containers. Here is what it looks like in real life:
While in Le Mars, I did manage to take a reasonably straight shot of the corner of the building.
Attaching this to a piece of poster board cut down to size, and Voila!, a building.
Next up was to try and add some “scenery” to the right of the building, primarily the road. While I did get a shot straight down the road, I don’t like it for a couple of reasons.
For one, it’s entirely the wrong season. I want it to be summer (green) in my version of Le Mars. Secondly, it’s not nearly wide enough. Fortunately, Google Street View comes to the rescue (almost) in this case.
The right season and (almost) the right vantage point. While I’d prefer the image be taken standing in the middle of the road, this might be the best option for now. So, with a little cropping, a piece of this image was extracted, edited, and printed.
Not too bad. The side angles look a little weird, but there may not be much that can be done in those cases. I’d prefer that the straight-on shot look a little better (straighter), too, but that may require another trip to Le Mars, in the right season, to get a photo from the middle of the road.
Next up is to figure out how to handle the parking lot between the IML Containers building and the road and how to continue the scene off to the right, toward the end of the backdrop.
Not satisfied with the off-center road, I tried some image manipulation. Here is the original from Google Street View.
Transforming the entire image to straighten the road caused massive distortion to the rest of the image.
Yikes! However, by cutting out the road in the transformed image and pasting it back into the original, it got better:
Some work with the clone tool to clean up on the right side made it even better:
Work is still needed on the left, where the driveway connects, if I decide to keep that. I may just extend the grass into the layout’s 3D space instead. The shadows into the road also need some tweaking, but that all seems doable.
Cropping ,resizing, and printing the full image results in this:
The perspective is… different. Straight-on is much better than before. To the right is about as bad as before (the road angles when it hits the backdrop). To the left is now worse than before (more angle at the backdrop transition). So I’m a little torn. Maybe it’s worth the compromise with the straight-on perspective in the original image to get a better view from the left? That is the direction you’ll most likely be viewing it when working the transload and IML anyway.
What I do like about this version is that the bottom of the image is cropped before the driveway. This results in a larger overall image since the smaller road at that point has to be enlarged more to match the actual road width. The image at these larger proportions seems to better fit with the IML building. However, I can crop the original image in the same way and get the same effect, too.
More iteration is needed, but it does feel like forward progress.