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Creating A Digital Montage For Your Mode

If you are looking for a little extra dimension to your modeling then a digital photo montage might just be the thing. It gives you an idea of what your model might look like in action. First off, a few words about taking digital photographs of your models. I covered the kitchen table with a large sheet of white card taping it at the front edge and letting it sweep up from the horizontal to the vertical, leaving enough room in the foreground to place your model. I shot in the kitchen using daylight coming through the window. If you can set up outside in a shady spot so much the better, especially on cloudy days. The light is defused then. A tripod is essential. My camera is an Olympus Stylus that shoots at 4 megapixels.


This is the pic to be used for the montage.

The Fw P1 is balanced, in this case on an eraser, to give an angle that would not be possible to shoot if the aircraft simply sat on its wheels.


Import the shot into Photoshop (or similar graphics program) on your computer and adjust brightness/contrast to suit. Then, using the pen tool, create a path around the entire aircraft omitting the parts that would not be seen in normal flight such as the main undercarriage. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN AS A GLITCH IN THE COMPUTER CAN LOSE HOURS OF WORK.


Once the path is complete save it naming it "path 1", then click on "make selection" and it will be highlighted by a pulsing line.

Next press "command" to delete everything outside "path 1".

Then go to layers and click on the eye icon at the side of layer titled "background". This will leave the cut out plane on a transparent background.

PICTURE 4 a and b.

The next step is to find a suitable Royalty Free background. If you wish you can adjust the colours by going to "Image", "Adjust" and then "Variations". This will open a screen with many colour variants and the original. Simply adjust the colours to your liking. If you go too far just click on "original" and start again. In this case I adjusted the colour to take on a tonal value that complemented the aircraft.


Now you have a master aircraft and the adjusted background. Open both in Photoshop and drag the aircraft image on to the background. Adjust angle and size to your liking. At this point, I would mention adding the pilot. Here, just for fun I happened to have a picture of myself in a position similar to that of a pilot. I airbrushed in a helmet and jacket. I blurred and darkened the finished assembly as it wouldn't be seen too clearly.


After the first aircraft was completed I copied the layer for each additional aircraft and adjusted angle, position and size over the background layer. Then I retouched the camouflage, numbers and pilots to make it look like 3 different aircraft flying as a group. Last I added contrails and jet exhaust by drawing paths and blowing in colour with the airbrush.

The main thing is to have fun.

Peter (flitzer)

About the Author

About Peter Allen (flitzer)

Greetings to all. My real name is Peter Allen and I have recently returned to UK from working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as a creative director in an advertising agency. My home town is Wigan in the north of England. I’m married to Emily, a Polish lass who tolerates my modelling well. I’ve wor...


Peter Allen (flitzer) is here with his first article on Armorama. He's put together a handy little feature on how to take a picture of your completed model and superimpose it on a background to create a natural looking scene. Creating A Digital Montage For Your Models Thanks for the submission Peter.
JAN 17, 2004 - 02:29 AM
Very nice and a good step by step feature. I'll try that on my next kit.
JAN 19, 2004 - 11:50 PM
Thanks for sharing this nice feature Peter!!! Ciao
JAN 20, 2004 - 12:31 AM
Ooooooh, nice article! Would love to do it, but first I need to figure out what all these buttons do on my keyboard. #:-) Tread.
JAN 20, 2004 - 04:02 AM
Hi Treadhead, I'm no expert. I just had a go until I got decent results. If you fancy having a go and need any help, I'm more than happy to share what (little) I know. It could be fun...Imagine yourself atop of your latest tank for instance. Best wishes. Peter
JAN 20, 2004 - 04:21 AM
Great article!! I really enjoyed it and I hope to read more in the future!! Ciao Luca
JAN 20, 2004 - 11:14 PM
That's an excellent article .... THANKS fo sharing this technique !
JAN 20, 2004 - 11:22 PM
Hi all. as I mentioned to treadhead, if anyone has a go and gets stuck, I'd be happy to help out if I can. To date I have only done jets, so I might try one with props just to see how it turns out. Keep you posted. Cheers Peter
JAN 21, 2004 - 03:46 AM
A little bit very late my comment. Thanks for sharing this article! I also made a collage/montage from one of my models. Its a soviet spacecraft´s planetary lander. http://i641.photobucket.com/albums/uu138/Gorizont-33/scratchVenera-10onhawaiianlavafield.jpg greetings... Soeren
SEP 05, 2010 - 08:52 AM
Definitely an oldie but a goodie. Thanks for posting your photo! Remember folks... articles like this (that deal with general modeling tips and subjects) can be found in the KitMaker University section of all the sites. HERE Cheers, Jim
SEP 05, 2010 - 09:08 AM