Layout Presentation

Discussion in 'Talk' started by 28ten, 28 August 2012.

  1. iploffy

    iploffy OC Blue Brigade

    Are you sure it's not a Baldrick cunning plan for G Plan furniture
  2. No, it's a much smaller scale than G.

    OO9-Plan furniture, anyone?
  3. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Looks a splendid piece to me - even got a handy shelf for one's favourite Tiffin Holder...:)
  4. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Time I think to resuscitate this thread as I have a bit of a dilemma and I hope that by discussing it here some idea may be sparked off. You may have noticed elsewhere that I'm slowly building up a collection of continental stock in HO. I'm also firming up an idea of the setting I'd like to run them in. However there's a conflict in the presentation. I'd like for the layout to have an open and airy feel, not hemmed in by a proscenium arch/lighting rig but I've often fancied building a layout with controlled lighting so I can go from dawn to dusk, which implies some sort of enclosure. I'm a bit stumped as to how I might reconcile these conflicting desires; any ideas?
  5. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    No problem - build it in the garden....!!! :) ;) :thumbs:

    Sorry, got coat, gone already....... :oops:
    Simon Dunkley, Neil and Dan Randall like this.
  6. Pugsley

    Pugsley Western Thunderer

    I think achieving those two objectives is going to be a difficult contradiction to overcome.

    How about a slender lighting rig made out of metal, that sits higher than the norm, that may move it out of view enough to make it less noticeable? The only downside is that you'd need more powerful lighting, but it could also act as a frame for a material sky backdrop, which could also enclose the layout.
  7. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thanks chaps, both sets of suggestions have been helpful. Jordan you've set me off thinking about where the layout will be seen; I usually build small layouts to be portable, which in some ways is a bit of a waste as I'm not really into the exhibition scene these days. Perhaps I only need to rig up something which would work in my playroom, leading me onto Pugsley's big/high light, a concept easier to engineer in a fixed environment. In many ways I'd be happier to accept a compromised display if I do take the toys on the road than I would at home, two or three days - vs - three hundred and sixty something days.

    I'll try to keep the thread updated as I work/ricochet to a solution, but there may be big gaps between posts.
  8. The only way you can truly control lighting on a layout is to constrain as many view points as possible, by enclosing as much as possible. This is in direct contradiction to your desires, of course! If the layout is not portable, or if you are less worried about how it might look under the lighting at an exhibition, then you have a controlled environment already, and don't need to worry about it.
    The only alternative idea is to have some kind of "light safe" made primarily from fabric strung around (and above) the layout.

    Martin has really said this already:

    If you look at the rig you produced for Shell Island, you went a long way to achieving this. A very light blue/grey cloth around the layout would not be too distracting, I would suggest. Also, it may depend on the layout size and conformation of the scenics, etc. As an example, Barry Norman's Lydham Heath was the best part of 3' wide, and designed to be viewed from one end as well as one side. There was a small, black, rod acting as a strut to support the lighting pelmet, and not many people noticed it. With the bank of trees along the back, the lack of a scenic background was not noticed, and a cloth could have been raised to help keep the eye focused on the layout. With a lightweight frame, it could have arched over the layout, too.

  9. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Good question Neil.
    Build a small room that has lighting which replicates what you want light wise and just stick a layout in the middle of it - that should hopefully avoid the issue of rain in Wales that Jordan failed to address :)) :D

    In all honesty and in my opinion, its impossible to answer the question as there aren't enough defined constraints. Of the two concerns, which one will you compromise on first? How are you going to define each of 'open and airy feel' and 'dawn to dusk'?

    Is dawn to dusk a combination of light intensity, colour, angle and direction of source and should it be confined to the model or do you need a background to bring out the transition from light diffused pinks and blues through to harsh yellows to inky blues at night? Is dusk defined just by the light, or the length of the shadows, by silhouettes, lighting on and in the models themselves?

    I note you said open and airy feel, are you going for a Shell Island presentation that achieved that aim, or a layout where the physical edges are blurred and therefore you loose the dimensioned feel in a large space? Are you going to be using colour, track density, subject, composition and relative heights, widths and physical dimensions of the models to carry the feel you want? Is it going to be an eye level presentation so you can control horizon and perspective, or table top, or an island of colour and activity in a sea of neutrals? From how far away does the layout need to convey its feel, across the room, 20 paces, three feet or 6 inches?

    To my mind once you have defined what you want to see and experience in front of you, you can then go on to work out what is going to be required to achieve that. It is then a matter of letting the brain work out the best way of combining those requirements which will give you the experience you desire.

    I know that doesn't help much, but we could design a light rig for you that is either a single pole with three different bulbs on just to give you colour variation, or it could be a graceful arch containing a multitude of lights to allow you to present changes in colour, intensity and direction. Both would do 'dawn to dusk', but with varying levels of success and replication of real life, until we know where you wish to sit within that spectrum its a bit like guessing the length of a piece of string you can't see :)

    The above is not intended as criticism of the question, just a response to the 'creative hand grenade' lobbed over the wall :) I'm an engineer, I like to have defined boundaries to the problem as that is what leads to solutions and innovations, for me. I haven't written the above with any desire for you to answer the questions, but hopefully something might nudge you off down a particular route. We are all different, take different approaches and I like that. I do try to learn from it - but I am an engineer :oops:

    Steve (I'm on the knack spectrum but it is not full blown for me :) )
  10. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    Just thinking rather abstractly, and after reading through Steve's parameters post, I suppose that if one thinks of stage productions then pretty much everything mood-wise is done with lighting, which is possibly a helpful thought, but then the house lights are usually dimmed, which isn't a helpful thought.

    An idea which still bumps around inside my head is the layout that provides its own backdrop,
    I imagine this is achieved by viewing the scene down a track/along its length towards an overbridge or tunnel surrounded by, say, greenery.

    A bit like that EM Villiers Street depot I suppose, it could work pretty effectively in G1 I think.

    But sorry, that was't what you were asking about:))


    Red wine opened, further progress in garden still a vague possibility....
  11. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thanks chaps, I like being asked questions even if I don't know the answer yet. In many ways I admire the clarity of the engineers aproach and while I can usually build things well I find that the creative bit of me gets kicked into action in some other way. A couple of months ago there was a fabulous programme on Beeb 2 or 4 which looked into creativity; to cut an hours worth of story very short, creativity can be enhanced and encouraged by exposure to stuff that's a little beyond our normal orbit, hence opening the discussion. Still at the pre eureka stage, but I've got a few ideas which may spark off a better one.

    Love the cartoon Steve, thanks.
  12. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    I may be an engineer, but I suspect I have inverse knack. As a machine reliability specialist* my very presence stops things working...


    *Not actually joking about that bit.
  13. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Perfect person for the job then Steph :D
    The 'inverse knack' is OK, it is the 'inverse Midas touch' which is really bad for an engineer.

    PS - Please don't touch my steam engine at Larkrail :p:))

    Sorry, back on topic Neil
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  14. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Dream the vision, engineer the solution.
    I think there is creativity in both aspects, in fact I would go so far as to suggest that there needs to be, but where and how it comes forward is different for everybody. I'll try to hunt out that program Neil, thanks for the heads up. Look forward to seeing down which route you travel.
    It makes me smile every time I watch it, its such a good put down line and disarmingly accurate for a lot of engineers I know :)
  15. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    I like the idea of trying to emulate the dawn to dusk lighting and having had a quick think about it I believe this could be achieved by using LEDS. I presume we are entering the realms of theatre lighting and then I suppose a model railway is a miniature stage set :) .

    As alluded to earlier, a rig can be constructed to have the lighting dictate the orientation of the layout i.e. East-West with the morning orange/pink light at, say, the right hand side; harsher and brighter light overhead; warmer evening light at the left hand side and finally the overall blueish cooler light of a moonlit night.

    There are a multitude of coloured and colour changing LEDS around now and has got me thinking of an experiment with them. It's not going to be a exact science but as long as the impression/effect is given then the viewers brain will fill in the rest.

    However, if a equatorial layout is modelled then it's day/night - dawn and dusk are just fleeting unlike the longer dawn and dusk of countries north of the Tropic of Cancer and south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
  16. Pugsley

    Pugsley Western Thunderer

    In fact, adding to Dave's post above, it's entirely possible to have an array of RGB LEDs controlled by an Arduino to shift in colour, intensity and direction. It would take some programming, mind.
  17. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    You'll need to define how dark that dawn and dusk is. If its dark then you'll need an enclosure. If its to go to shows then it'll need a very big pro rata your layout dimension. If you ever saw Dave and Shirley Rowe's Spanish seafront (which is at Pecorama, still working) then you'll remember the Punch and Judy type enclosure they had, complete with awning. It took a while to get to the front but it was worth it.
  18. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Found, it was a Horizon programme and is available on i-player here.

    Thank you Dave, Pugsley and Paul, you've set me off thinking about the lighting and helped me realise that absolute blackout would be a pain to engineer away from the home environment, so that helps sort out what might be possible for exhibition appearances and what's a non starter. I remember the Rowe's Spanish masterpiece, I was totally transfixed by it when it appeared at York, but the tent looked to be a logistical nightmare. However the current blazing sunshine makes me wonder if a good degree of shade could be sorted using a black golf brolly mated to my camera tripod.
    Steve Cook likes this.
  19. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    I'd suggest that a model railway doesn't need to go very dark... just occasionally I have turned off the light up the loft while a train is going round; just as at night in real life, once the locomotive headlights have passed you, there is no more invisible transport than a freight train....:confused:

    Boring...!!! ......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz................................................ :rolleyes:
  20. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Thanks Neil, that was an interesting watch :)