Thursday, December 23, 2010

A tip for custom card makers

Those who have held in their hand actual examples of my printed custom cards sometimes remark on the "sharpness" of the graphics.

One of the ways I accomplish this is to not merely accept the graphic elements as they appear on the cards I scan as the basis for my customs. The old four-color printing technology of the 1950s-1980s was frequently subject to distracting off-register printing of one or more of the colors.

At arm's length this usually isn't a problem, but up close it can give lettering, picture frames, etc., a muddy or blurry look.

To produce the lettering on my cards, I can usually closely replicate the original type face with one of the fonts available in my Photoshop Elements graphics package, so I don't have to pick up such things as team names, positions, etc., that might exhibit dot-pattern structure (if they were in color on the original).

On some cards, though, there is no readily available substitute for something the Topps artists created. A case in point is the 1971 Topps football card. Team names on those cards are in a tall, thin, very bold font, shadowed in black.

At my level of semi-expertise in Photoshop, I don't have the skill to produce shadowed type, and while I've seen some fonts that seem like they might be close to those on the '71T, I'm not sure they're an exact fit.

In cases like that, I opt to clean up the scan from the original card. This involves hours of nit-picky work with the pencil tool. Since making the customs is my hobby, however, I don't mind putting in the time, and I like the crisp graphics that result.

The accompanying picture shows the contrast between an original letter (the A), and my cleaned up version (the R).

Keep watching this space, in a few days, or a week or two, you can see the card I'm currently working on; I think you'll like it.

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.