Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bobby Layne custom card 2.0 and 3.0

I'll admit it, I'm too anal about my custom card creations. (I'm also one of those people who believes that if you confess to a personality fault, you don't have to do anything to correct it.) That's why my "update" series of 1955 Topps All-American-style college football cards will never be complete.

Even if I worked my to-do list and my wish list down to nothing, I'd still be compelled to go back and re-do some of my earlier cards. I've been at this series for almost seven years, and some of my earlier creations leave a but to be desired. It's a combination of settling for what I now recognize are substandard player photos in the early days, and the fact that I was a rank novice in terms of Photoshop.

As my technical skills have improved, so has my eye for what will or will not make a suitable card image.

In the back of my mind I have a list of those among my 125+ cards in the 1955 format that I am not altogether satisfied with. With the completion of a new (and newer) Bobby Layne card, that list of rehabilitation projects is one card shorter.

As you can see from my first attempt (the top card), the player photo is merely OK. My recollection is that it came from a book. Thus it started out low-resolution and didn't improve when enlarged a bit for my card. The colorization of the black-and-white image also left something to be desired. Layne's hair is too yellow and . . . I'm unsure why . . . the numerals on his jersey are the wrong color, at least according to the majority of color images I've found on the web.

So, when a press photo of Layne showed up on eBay a while back, I jumped at the chance to improve upon my first version. The initial result, Bobby Layne version 2.0, is in the center above. I spent a Saturday afternoon working on cleaning up and colorizing the press photo, and working it into my '55 design. Everything looked fine on the computer screen, but after I had printed out the front, I began to have second thoughts.

Do you see the problem? In the size to which I cropped the photo, Layne's "package" seems to just jump off the card at the viewer. In the case of Bobby Layne, one of the hardest-living NFL players or his era, that's probably not an altogether out of synch image. Layne is one of the persons whom I quote most often. He once said that it was his life's ambition to run out of breath and money at the same time. Nonetheless, I decided that since I hadn't yet cut and pasted the image into actual cards, I'd take another stab at it.

The result is the third card in the stack shown here, Bobby Layne version 3.0. That one I can live with.

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