Colors for backdrop sky, mountains, Etc.

Discovered a way to get really accurate colors for painted backdrops. Just take a digital photo of anything from sky to distant mountains,
blow it up on your computer until you have a section of one color that you want, and then take it down to your local Lowe's where you will find that they have a color-sensing computer that will mix paint specifically to an exact match for your photographed color -or colors.
To get an accurate color reproduction of our local mountains I first went out on a nice clear day and took telephotos of the darkest parts of (A) the more distant mountain ranges, (B) the distant mountain's front ranges, (C) the foothills below the front ranges, and (D) the sky just above the horizon.
I then went down to Lowe's and came home with 4 quarts of paint, and painted the entire backdrop sky blue, overspraying a thin coat of gray- brown near the horizon to mimic southern California's smog. Then using the photos for reference I pencil-sketched the skyline of the most distant mountains on the dry backdrop and filled them in with the appropriate color. (Color "A")
When *that* was dry I mixed a bit of sky blue into a pint or so of color "A" -just enough to tell a difference- and using the photos for reference again stippled in the lighter parts of the distant mountains where they were in direct sunlight. The effect is subtle, just suggesting dimensionality, but you have to look twice to see that it's paint and not a photo.
I then repeated the same process for the front range peaks which are darker in tone (Color "B") because they're several miles closer to the viewer; again mixing a *slightly* lighter second coat of "B" and using it for stippled highlights to bring out the depth.
Next, I drew the foothill's profile in and filled it in with the dead grass yellow that covers our southern California hills in late spring/ early summer. The foothills are close enough for some detail to be seen by the nekked eyeball, so I spent an evening or two adding patches of sagebrush and the like, again using the original photos as a rough guide and the end of a stiff brush to stipple them in.
Lastly, I eyeballed a few of the local Cottonwood trees that commonly grow in and around the seasonal watercourses at the bases of our foothills, and painted a couple of dozen of them in as if seen from a mile ar so away. (LIttle blotches of light green, with greyish-brown trunks suggested rather than being painfully reproduced in detail.)
Now: understand that up until now my sum total of artistic knowledge had sprung from painting a number of full-scale second-hand cars, three 1 to 1 houses, and a number of HO locomotives and other rolling stock. But I seem to have fallen into something interesting here by accident.
By *not* trying to put in anything but the right colors -with more-or- less correct profiles and shading- and ignoring distant details completely, I've got a mildly impressionistic backdrop that creates a really successful feeling of depth while drawing your eyes to the front of the layout where you *want* them to be anyway.
The lack of fine detail in the background seems to let your vision just slide over it without distracting your attention from the trains and other foreground detail.
I'm not sure that the same idea would work in a situation where you're trying to give the impression of mountains that are up-close-and- personal, but simplification while at the same time using the same colors that your eyes are used to translating as "distant mountains" seems to fool the mind into thinking that there's more there than meets the eye.
~Pete
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This sounds like a really interesting procedure.
Could you possibly post a picture or pictures somewhere for us to see?
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On Dec 27, 10:10 am, "video guy - www.locoworks.com"

Since I'm practically computer illiterate -and don't own a website- I have no idea how to do that.
Detailed suggestions would be welcome, however.
~Pete
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Sky is NOT blue.
Sky is darkish blue at the top and almost white at the horizon.
For a relalistic sky, go outside, look up at the sky and down towards the horizon (Unless you are at sea, the horizon is usually not visible) and copy what you see. There are NO correct colours just blue at the top and almost white at the bottom. Dead easy.
-- Merry Christmas,
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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Er, yes, it is. What *shades* of blue depend on several factors, depending on the weather, air pollution, the geography that happens to be *beneath* that patch of sky, and how close it is to the horizon, but it most commonly *IS* blue in general unless it's clouded over -in which case it's grey.

That's nice. But we're speaking of backdrops, which range from a foot or so to maybe six feet high. They don't *have* a zenith, so the color of the sky straight above you matters not, only the portion from the horizon to the top of the backdrop.
Also -depending upon the weather- the sky *can* be blue right down to the horizon. Happens frequently in dry climates such as ours in southern California.

Er (again), the horizon is always visible unless you're inside or it's foggy.
http://www.answers.com/topic/horizon

If you happen to be looking to reproduce the feel of a particular geographic area, there are some colors that are generic to those ares and some that are not.
That's why Backdrop Warehouse -for instance- breaks their backdrops down into western and eastern sub-sections: the skys out west are generally bluer than eastern skys.
http://www.backdropwarehouse.com/indexbdwh.htm
~Pete
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On 12/27/2008 5:35 PM Twibil spake thus:

Er, no, Mr. Smarty Pants, the horizon is definitely *not* always visible (as Roger stated). F'rinstance, where I live, there are lots of these things called buildings in the way. If I go out to the bay, then I can see the horizon.
--
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
  Click to see the full signature.
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"David Nebenzahl"

Thank you David.
Many people confuse the apparent horizon with the true horizon, as does our corespondent above. The true horizon, as you state, can be seen from the bay. For our reader above, the true horizon is always at your own personal eye level. It doesn't matter if you are 5 ft 7 in tall, or flying at 30,000ft or standing at the bottom of death Valley.
- For observers on the ground with eye-level 5 ft 7 in (5.583 ft), the horizon appears at a distance of 2.89 miles.
- For observers standing on a hill or tower with their eye-level at 100 ft in height, the horizon appears at a distance of 12.25 miles.
Simple, if you know how to navigate. :-)
-- Merry Christmas,
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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Dear idiot, we're not navigating.
Everyone here -with the possible exceptions of you and David- know exactly what we're talking about: model railroad backdrops. And it matters not if you want to play word games to try to avoid admitting that you posted some bad information when you said "there are NO correct colors". For modeling purposes a "horizon" is where the sky meets the scenery. Period.
That's also what *you* were referring to when you said "look down towards the horizon" to see how the sky changes colors.
Happy new year.
~Pete
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Twibil wrote: -
Dear idiot, we're not navigating.
--------------------------------------
And people wonder why this newgroup is dead?
------------------------------------- Twibil wrote: -
Everyone here -with the possible exceptions of you and David- know exactly what we're talking about: model railroad backdrops.
------------------------------------
Yes, we know it's about model railway backdrops.
----------------------------------- Twibil wrote: -
And it matters not if you want to play word games to try to avoid admitting that you posted some bad information when you said "there are NO correct colors". For modeling purposes a "horizon" is where the sky meets the scenery. Period.
------------------------------------
Other than my first post, I've not written anything about "colors" (sic).
Besides, I was correct when I wrote that there are NO correct colours for the sky. Anyone with an iota of artistic tallent will tell you that. You mean the "apparent horizon"?
------------------------------------- Twibil wrote: -
That's also what *you* were referring to when you said "look down towards the horizon" to see how the sky changes colors.
------------------------------------
Actually, I wrote "colours". :-)
Exactly! Look towards the horizon and you'll see the sky _is_ almost white at the horizon. Your point being?
As for the topic of the "horizon", I was being pedantic and have been correcting someone who posted an incorrect definition of "horizon". I've moved on from backdrops as what I wrote was correct. Call it "thread drift."
Merry Christmas,
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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See above URL: "The apparent intersection of the earth and sky as seen by an observer."
Kindly note that it says nothing about having to be well out to sea or standing in Kansas to see the horizon, nor does it say that a horizon must be flat.
It's just where the sky meets whatever scenery is surrounding you at any given moment.
Duh.
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"Twibil" <

See above URL: "The apparent intersection of the earth and sky as seen by an observer."
Kindly note that it says nothing about having to be well out to sea or standing in Kansas to see the horizon, nor does it say that a horizon must be flat.
It's just where the sky meets whatever scenery is surrounding you at any given moment.
Duh.
-------------------------------------------------
Err no!
That definition is incomplete. There are two "horizons". The "apparent horizon", the one the unwashed masses typically call the "horizon", as used in the vague definition above, and the "true horizon", the one navigators, pilots, scientists etc., etc., use.
The "true horizon" is where the sky meets the 'flat' plane of the earth, this is usually only visible at sea or from altitude. If you cannot see the "true horizon", due to trees, buildings, hills, mountains or other obstacle, what you are seeing is the "apparent" horizon. Not the same thing.
Much as I dislike Wikipeadia, see this : - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon
Duh!
-- Merry Christmas,
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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Er, yes.

Gee, if ever this Newsgroup morphs from (theoretically) being about model railroading into one concerning navigation, pilots, and scientists; you be sure and let us know.
Until then, the "unwashed masses" of rec.models.railroad will continue to use the word as it applies in the context of this thread -and as it agrees with the definition from the above URL- I.E. where the sky meets the scenery.
What a maroon.
~Pete
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Pete.
It's people like you, with your marvellous diplomatic language skills, that have made this poor newsgroup into what it has become. Almost dead.
Much as I'd like to continue this match of wits over the definition of horizon I'm afraid I don't like to go up against an unarmed combatant.
Do have a Happy New Year.
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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On 12/27/2008 10:26 PM Twibil spake thus:
>

So according to you, the horizon is where the sky meets the rooftop adjacent to the building I live in, izzat right?. Hmmm; interesting definition. "Duh", indeed.
--
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
  Click to see the full signature.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

[...]
Yup, that's right. The horizon that you appear to have in mind is technically the virtual or ideal horizon, because in practice there are few places on land where you can see it. And if the weather interferes, you can't see it at sea, either.
Interesting optical illusion: the ideal horizon always appears at the same level as you. So when you stand on a beach, the water seems to rise towards the horizon. The effect is increased if you stand on something high above the beach, such as the wall of a cliffside castle.
Cheers,
--
Wolf Kirchmeir

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Wolf, it's not an illusion.
The horizon is always at your eye level no matter if you are at the bottom of the Death Valley, at the top of Everest or standing on the beach. That which is below your eye level, the sea or the ground, will always rise up to your eye level.
It's not known as the "ideal horizon", it's known as the "true horizon".
-- Happy New Year.
Roger T. See the GER at: - http://www.islandnet.com/~rogertra /
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wrote:

Since I'm practically computer illiterate -and don't own a website- I have no idea how to do that.
Detailed suggestions would be welcome, however.
~Pete
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Take pictures. 2. Reduce to 'share for web' (not essential) 3. Create an account on flickr http://www.flickr.com / 4. Follow the flickr instructions for uploading your pictures to your flickr account And making them public. 5. Post the location of the photos here.
Here's an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luvmydogs/3142685547 /
No, I am not the dog, nor do I have any relationship with it or its owner. ;o)
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Thaks. I'm printing this out and will look into it.
Expect screw-ups.

Nice looking dog, though!
~Pete
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wrote:

Thaks. I'm printing this out and will look into it.
Expect screw-ups. ====================================================With at least three computers in the loop, that's a given! :) ====================================================> Here's an example:http://www.flickr.com/photos/luvmydogs/3142685547 /

Nice looking dog, though!
=============================================================Yeah, it is.
Should have mentioned up front that flickr is Free.
Have fun!
LD
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Basically, you really need to go out and see what the color of the sky is. Drop by the paint dept. and look at the paint chips and find something close to it. Doesn't need to be accurate but the tone is the more important part. The sky varies from day to day and with the lighting in your room. Get a quart of that color and try it in a part of the room up high. This is the basic color of the sky for you. If you like it, finish off the rest of the room with that color and then get some light gray (for rural) or brownish gray )for urban) and lightly spray it over the horizon ara of the sky to about the same height. You want to have a good foot or more from almost no gray to about 50 percent gray color at the horison. Thin that gray a lot for use in your sprayer and let it dry before checking it for color. If needed, you can also take the blue and thin it and spray it over the gray to get a bluer sky. This is all artsy-craftsy work so plan on taking a while to get is nice.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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