Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Custom Becomes Reality

I've had a blast playing around with Photoshop this past weekend.  Kate has CS5 on her Mac, while my laptop still has CS2.  For those who aren't Adobe inclined, the difference, as I've been learning, is miles apart.  Things that took hours and hours to perfect can now be accomplished in literally a matter of minutes with some of the improvements available.

Over the past couple weeks, I have been looking more seriously into how to take these jpeg files I dream up on my computer screen and turn them into something that looks like an actual baseball card.  You know - something I can hold, look at, put in the spokes of my bike.  Well, maybe not the last one.

In fact, I've come across some really cool work done by custom card makers.  Home-printed refractors, superfractors, and the like.  The catch is that they aren't the most caring and sharing bunch on the block.  I get it - time and energy went into perfecting their craft, and if they can make a few bucks charging people to make customs then that isn't a secret they're willing to give up.

But the thing is I've always been pretty shitty at capitalism.  So here begins my magical journey to make awesome looking custom cards come to life - and then to share that knowledge with anyone who cares to use it.

But first, I need to figure out how to calibrate my damn printer.

 As you can see, it took a few test runs (about a dozen in fact) to get something actually resembling a baseball card to correctly print out.  Don't judge.

In the past I have used heavier card stock to print, but found the more absorbent stock tends to give out a less crisp image.  If you're going for the 1984 Topps look, it might work perfectly.  But for now, I wanted clean, crisp images.

So photo paper it is.  But the stock is pretty flimsy, and definitely doesn't feel like a baseball card.  Fortunately this Joe Oliver test scrap was kind enough to volunteer for a test run.  With a little rubber cement in hand, it was time to cut him down to size merge him with some actual cardstock.  

 I've never been concerned with making custom card backs - the front is where the real action is.  So Joe can inherit Bo McLaughlin's stats from 1982.
 Put the two together, and presto!  Suddenly it feels like a baseball card.
 More importantly, the photo paper is so thin that is really doesn't add any extra weight or thickness to the card.  It feels pretty similar to a modern glossy thin stock card, akin to Topps Flagship from the past few years.
For now I'm sticking with getting some of these customs signed through the mail.  After all, that had been the original inspiration for my custom cards, filling in team sets for former Pirates who didn't have a card released as a Buc.  While I'm sure it will take me a while longer to perfect the basics, I do plan on experimenting on some of the super shiny premium stuff in the near future.

With some work and a little luck, maybe I'll become a card making master one of these days.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. I'd love to print up some cards myself someday. I'm still using Photoshop 6.0, I think. I should probably upgrade one of these days, but it's what I know and I'm lazy about learning new programs.