Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do-overs on my first custom cards

I don't remember now what convinced me to try my hand at creating custom cards. It was probably the fact that a computer I bought three or four generations ago came with a Photoshop Elements program in its software package.

I do know that since a was a childhood collector in the 1950s I had wanted to make my own cards. Like many of you, I suppose, I tried my hand at creating my own cards with crayons, pictures cut out of magazines, etc.
Once I was armed with a computer graphics program and a " . . . for Dummies" book to get me started, I was on my way to a fun new hobby.
My first card was created in the late summer of 2003. It was a Peyton Manning card done in the style of one of my childhood favorite sets, the 1955 Topps All-American college football cards.
To get the photo I needed, I google-searched Peyton Manning and found what at the time I thought was a suitable photo; it's the bare-headed chest-up portrait shown here. After years of creating cards and refining my processes, I now realize that the original Manning photo was too low-resolution.
The background I chose for my first card was that used on the original '55 card of Bowden Wyatt. I had to touch up a few of the black-and-white figures once I had dropped my Manning picture into the frame. If you looked closely at that first custom card, you'd notice that I added a left arm to player #98 at the left end. I doubt you can see the touch-up on this scan, but by my current standards, it was a clumsy attempt. I was more successful in removing some typography from the area of Manning's left shoulder; if I deidn't mention it, I doubt anyone would notice.
After studying more of the original All-American cards over the years as I worked on completing my set of the 1955s, I later realized that I had erred in not extending Manning's left arm and elbow into the green inner border. Regardless, by the time I was done with that first card in my "update" All-American set, I was pretty pleased with myself.
A couple of years after the first Manning card was completed, I saw a college football magazine for sale that had a great cover photo of Manning in a posed action shot. It dawned on me that since I was the creator of my custom card series, I was free to revise my work. The result was the version you see here, with the L.A. Coliseum background. I had to do more touching up on the background photo, but by that time I had gotten better at it and the improvements are seamless.
I'm still not 100% satisfied with my second-edition Manning card because the borders came out a bit more "aged" than I would have liked. On most of my custom cards I avoid using snow white borders, adding a bit of tint to give them a look more befitting what we commonly think of when we think of 40-50 year old cards.
I have also done a second edition of the card I numbered 102 in my "Second Series" of All-Americans.
As a teen-ager I had enjoyed countless times listening to one of Bill Cosby's comedy albums on which he recounted his days of playing college football at Temple.
From early on, I knew a Cos card was going to be part of my set. I had to wait quite awhile to find a photo of Cosby that I could use, and when I did, it was a picture that would take work. The black-and-white photo that I purchased on eBay pictured Cosby is a sweatshirt, but it was a portrait of the actor in his earlier years, so it seemed appropriate for a football card picturing him in his college days.
To put Cosby in uniform, I copied the picture of Johnny Luljack from his 1955 Topps card and substituted Cosby's head. I had colorized the portrait and changed the color of the jersey to the Temple colors.
I never really thought about doing a second version of my Bill Cosby college card until I was perusing the eBay offerings of a New York dealer who regularly has stellar offerings of great vintage sports and celebrity photos. Among his pictures was what was probably a Temple athletic department publicity photo of Cosby in his playing days.
From my perspective as a custom card creator, the right-click, "Copy Photo" function is one of the greatest things about the internet. While I was outbid in my attempt to buy the original black-and-white print, I had taken the precaution of copying the image from the auction, so I had access to the new, more contemporary, photo. A little bit of colorization and I had what I feel is a nice upgrade to my Cosby card.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments, criticism, additional information, questions, etc., are welcome . . . as long as they are germane to the original topic. All comments are moderated before they are allowed to appear and spam comments are deleted before they ever appear. No "Anonymous User" comments are allowed.