Saturday, August 9, 2008

Is it real or is it Photoshop?

With Topps 2008 Allen & Ginter finally available in retail, I thought I'd pose a question. Maybe every other baseball card collector already knows the answer but it's not something I'd seen discussed before.

Allen & Ginter is one of a number of baseball cards that attempt to recreate the look and feel of baseball cards from earlier years. I'm thinking also of Topps Turkey Red, Topps 206, even to some extent Upper Deck Goudey,

My question is, are the pictures on these cards paintings (perhaps, and probably made from photographs) or are they Photoshopped photographs?

To the left is a 2005 Topps Update card featuring Sammy Sosa after he came back to baseball briefly with the Orioles.


The second card is from the 2005 Topps Turkey Red set. It looks pretty clear to me that the Turkey Red card was produced using the same photo as the Topps Update card. So how did they do this?

My guess is that Photoshop (or something like it) was used. I'm sure that a set of customized filters could be set up to make the transformation. There were only a few different backgrounds for these cards. The filters would do all the work. It would probably take just minutes per card.

I don't think I have a problem if Photoshop is used. I'm guessing if the Allen & Ginter Company had something like that in the 1880's they'd have used it instead of hand painting each card.



Finally, my feeble attempt to produce a card using Photoshop Elements. I obviously started with the Topps Update card. The card designers of Topps and Upper Deck have nothing to worry about from me.

9 comments:

dayf said...

I'm almost certain that they are all computer generated in one way or another. If the companies expended the time and the money to commission individual paintings, they would certainly use it as a selling point.

capewood said...

I agree.

electricfriar said...

I think they are definitely computer generated. The only ones I can think of that are actually hand drawn are the "Dick Perez" sketch cards. These are actually signed by Dick Perez. I know they were included in the 07 A&G, not sure about the 08 A&G.
I don't mind them using computer "enhancement" to recreate the vintage look & feel. I just wish they'd use a different photograph/pose instead of one they already used on another card.

capewood said...

Like dayf said, if a 'real' artist, like Perez was used, they'd make a big deal of it. As for Sosa, I think there may not have been a lot of Sosa photographs in an Orioles uniform available. But even so...

White Sox Cards said...

He played 102 games with Baltimore. I would think there would be well over 100 different photographs of him in an Orioles uniform to choose from.

Dr. Burt said...

I like your version! Where can I buy a pack?

capewood said...

Thanks Doc. Feel free to print out this one-of-a-kind card and display it proudly. If I had a few weeks with nothing else to do (like work, eat and sleep) I could probably knock off a pack's worth of cards. You'll have first crack, but don't hold your breath.

Greg Olsen said...

And... how they do it:
http://www.planetphotoshop.com/pin-up-effect.html

capewood said...

Greg, Thanks. That was a great link. I pretty much had no idea of what I was doing, just playing around with some effects. Which is why mine looks crude compared to the Turkey Red card.