Thursday, 17 March 2016

Creating a scenic photography set-up

I've always been envious of those people who have beautifiul models, photographed beautifully against a stunning backdrop and placed within a wonderful scenic context. I'm a long way off from achieving this and realised that it needed to be rectified! So I got to work..

Initially I was incredibly inspired by James' version at the Realms of Chaos 80's; and set about making my own from some bits and pieces I had laying about at home. I found one of my sons old, unused toddler jigsaw trays, which works perfectly as a frame. It transpired that two layers of my favourite extruded polystyrene would fit inside it perfectly and then I started adding bits of old cork tile for rocky outcrops and engraved in a cobbled path with a pencil, dug out some puddles and cut out a river/bridge section. I also used an old stone to add some texture to the board before adding some old tree armatures, some Marauder goblin spider shields to the bridge and a thin covering of pva and sand to the surface to both add texture and seal the vulnerable polystyrene from the brown aerosol primer I intended to use.

Here's a step by step tutorial:

Blue, extruded polystyrene was used for the base. Here you can see some cobble stones drawn in with pencil onto a textured path and some holes dug out for puddles. It was cut to fit my son's old jigsaw tray.

A bit further in to the project here. I decided to go for a water feature and bravely cut out a section where a stream would go. Bridge sides were made with polystyrene, card squares and a couple of old Goblin Marauder Spider shields and then glue gunned to the path. I realised I could use the frame of the tray to act as a dam for when I poured in the water effects too. Some chunks of cork were added to create some rocky heights and texture was added by pressing a stone into the polystyrene and some sand glued on. Finally I added some crackle paste - seen as the white patches, But this was pretty ineffective.
My 3 year old son wanted to do some making with Dad, so he was given some off cuts and a bit of paint and he made this race track for his cars. He went into great detail about swamps and sinking sand.. He's got skills!

Finally the whole tile was coated with a thin pva and water mix to seal the polystyrene form the forthcoming aerosol primer. At the same time a final sprinkle of fine sand was added.

The whole piece was then spray primed brown (no picture of this stage) to create a muddy undercoat. Then I started drybrushing a range of pale/yellow tones into the muddy areas, greys into the stone areas and some green blues to the water areas. Some final washes of greens and browns were added in the foreground, on the rocks and along the road.

To prepare the tile for the pouring of the Woodlands Scenic Realistic Water, I coated the water areas with a gloss varnish. I didn't want the realistic water to burn through the polystyrene or cloud over from the cheap acylic paints I used. 

The next stage was to add the grass. After a bit of research and investigation, I decided to go for static grass rather than the flock I use on my Nurgle miniatures. Above you can see the three different blends of colour I used.

This was applied in mixed together and in individual patches using dilute pva glue. The excess static grass was tipped off and the remainder was made to stand upright with the aid of a balloon rubbed onto my jumper.
Here you can see it looking pretty grassy. Some scatter leaves were also applied with a little pva.
Finally some clump foliage was added in little clusters.

Here you can see the Woodlands Scenic water settling into the cut out stream bed.

And the finished version, with trees, backdrop and some Nurgle Champions:

Just need to get a decent camera now (these are all taken on my iphone) and an extra light as I currently have just the one daylight bulbed, anglepoise.

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