How to paint back drop?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by SoulfulRecover, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Figured this was the appropriate section to ask this. I have an old white paper back drop that's getting dirty and turning a yellow ish color. I have been wanting a nice painted back drop but figured I would try my hand at doing it myself. Only problem, I don't know how to create this look. What technique is used? Any help to create something like this?

    I like the texture and that its not a solid color


     

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  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The technique involves starting with your base coat, then adding layers of color. Some let the layers dry then blend in with sponges and some build up color while the bottom layers are still wet, brushing it to blend with the underlying layers.

    I'm not sure the paper is a strong enough base.
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    To me, that looks like sponge painting. Use several harmonious colors to blend. Keep your sponge dry. If you get too much moisture in the paper it will start to warp. This technique requires the sponge to be nearly so dry that you get very little paint per dab.

    Keep dabbing with your dry sponge until you get the color/coverage that you want. Change up with the colors or values as you need. Do not try to mix the colors wet, as you'll just end up with that one color instead of "blotchy" and uneven. Don't try to make it look all even, as uneven will look better.

    Have several panels of cardboard or heavy paper handy to dab off excess paint before you dab paint onto the backdrop. This is not an easy task, which is why some people buy a backdrop already done.
     
  4. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    From what I remember learning/doing in art classes and from other crafts or artwork I've done, I'd start with other paper to figure out the blending, how much black to add as you go, etc. I'd try out your technique (brush or sponge and how much to blend or if you want to see brush strokes, etc.), then see how it looks dry. If needed test in a corner where eventually you're going to paint it black. I've never tried a backdrop or anything that large.
     
  5. Amocholes

    Amocholes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to do theater sets. The sample looks like a combination of sponge and dry brush. Notice that there are no straight/hard lines. That particular drop is also lighter in the center and dark towards the edges. This will add vignette to any images. Your best bet would be to make it an even brightness. Then if you want to add vignette, you can do it later.
     
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  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I still believe that you will have trouble rolling/brushing/sponging any of the latex paints on paper. However for a few bucks at the discount store pickup some cans of spray paint. You can add layers, fog, fade, etc. to your hearts content, and as long as you don't get carried away with the thickness the paper should hold up. The other advantage is it's quick dry.
     
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  7. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I remember my sister had to make a backdrop as part of one of her college photography courses. It was canvas and as I remember from one sitting it had a dark grey base and then a very mixed bag of other colors - all in curved form with sort of a partially full paint brush stroke. All the colors were sort of subdued, no bright yellows or reds and blended in with the dark grey (the grey may have been over a black base coat) and overall it either looked like a lot of work or just a very old painters drop cloth - and just as wrinkled. She assured me this background would give depth to the shot - back then I shot mostly landscape and had not thought much about out-of-focus backgrounds. This shot was in a big studio and the backdrop was at least six feet behind me, your studio set-up will also define a bit on what kind of look to go for. The image you included would still work well with the subject closer to it, though you might want room to put some gelled lights onto it. I don't know if I would put too much vignette into the backdrop as that could be adjusted later with lighting or in post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  8. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Will you need to roll it after? The paint could make it too stiff for that.
     
  9. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I will need to roll it up and I wouldn't be able to use latex paint. Wife is deathly allergic to latex. Sounds like I'll have to get some canvas instead of using the paper as well.
     
  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Canvas is a more durable base, but from the sound of it the paper is ruined anyhow so why not get a couple of spray cans? You can usually find them at the discount stores for $1. If it didn't work you wouldn't be out much but your time.
     
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  11. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I believe @DanOstergren posted recently about a backdrop he hand painted?
     

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