By Phil Hecken
Over the past several years, I’ve brought you some pretty amazing guests, many of whom have great artistic skills. You’ve seen the work of Tim E. O’Brien before, as he’s tweaked the NBA quite extensively, but he has also extensively concepted the NFL, and more recently tried his hand at MLB (with Jim “I’d Wear That” Vilk using a two-dimensional font.
But to both of our knowledge, there does not exist out on the Interwebs, a three-dimensional baseball uniform template, a la the football and basketball that are so familiar to Uni Watch readers. So when I approached Tim about this, he did the only thing a graphic artist does when the template he or she is looking for doesn’t exist — he made one. And it’s outstanding.
I could try to recreate just how he went about this (I will admit prodding him into doing it, but that’s as far as any credit I deserve goes) — but I’ll let Tim tell you how this all went down. So without further ado…here’s Timmah:
MLB, 3D Template Style
By Tim E. O’Brien
One night last week, Phil and I were exchanging a few emails (33 to be exact) and he quickly brought up the idea for this article.
While this idea was not new to me – I once had tried to request an NHL 3D uniform template from the same person who did the 3D templates – I was not sure how to go about creating a template from scratch.
After deciding I would try and reverse engineer the original 3D uniform templates, the first obstacle was figuring out which image should be used for this theorized template. This is precisely where Phil came in handy.
Not only were we looking for a photo that showed the front of a baseball uni, but we were looking for one that was worn right (read: no pajama pants). Also, we needed something high resolution – very high resolution.
After a few more emails, Phil found this image of Stephen Strasburg. This image was perfect for what we needed for a multitude of reasons. First, it’s huge. Next, not only do we get a pretty straight-on look at his chest, but we also get a good look at his left sleeve and the front of his cap.
So far, so good.
As Strasburg wears high socks, we knew that the template would at least have high socks if not stirrups. Combine that with his awkward pre-pitch stance that allows us to see one leg’s pants piping and we had ourselves the perfect picture to work from.
Now, here came the tricky part:
Not knowing how the previous 3D templates were constructed proved to be an obstacle but one I figured I would overcome by looking at a lot of the 3D templates (many of which can be found here) and finding the similarities.
Next — and this is where the complicated Photoshop stuff came in — I had to rid Strasburg’s uni of any unwanted logos and come up with a base uniform I could then edit. The objective then was to fill in this new blank uni with some color (and stirrups). Once the color was in place and I could edit it and fill the uniform with new logos, I tested out a design I’m quite familiar with.
From there, I created a softball top layer, which can be turned on or off and have its color changed with the easiest of commands. But while all that’s well and good for most uniforms, those teams that sport pinstripes would have to be left out.
As Phil put it, “I mean, the Yanks in ‘snow whites’ would look fine, no?” [I was only half sarcastic — PH]
Now while I have shown you the current Chicago White Sox uniform set in the previous description, that is not a uniform concept. So, what follows are some of my ideas in practice with the new 3D baseball template:
Angels: Home and Road — I don’t like the current Angels unis and I’m not even sure why. I do like these older logos a lot (especially the sleeve patch because whatever city you decide to say you’re from, it’s in CA and probably covered by that star) so I included them on a ‘West Coast Braves’ sort-of vibe.
Brewers: Home, Road, Road Alt — Some of my favorite stuff I’ve done so far. I love the MB mitt and I wanted it to remain the cap logo but the Wisconsin and M logo and the swinging Beer Barrelman logo are too good not to include in the set.
Cubs: Home, Home Alt, Road and Road Alt — The home alternate is almost verbatim what they wear today but the home and road are slight tweaks on their current set. The road alternate is a road pinstripe — somthing Phil advised against — but I say this look is too classic to throw away.
Rays: Home, Home Alt, Road, Road Alt and Just For Fun — Unless the Rays go through a major overhaul, they will remain painfully boring. But who knows, maybe they’ll add a BRayser alternate like I did…
Well, that’s it for this week’s tweaks. Things I learned about myself: I like minimal amounts of hat designs, I like script jerseys with numbers, I like softball tops and I love shoulder patches.
To play around with your designs using this new 3D template, go here and download the .PSD version of the template.
Wow, Tim. That’s pretty amazing stuff. And as with your football concepts, which are pretty traditional, I really like most of these — like… A LOT. Many of them stand out, but I particularly love the Reds Home, the Jays Powder and both shockingly and disturbingly, I love this Sox Softball Alt (and I shouldn’t, because there are already too many teams with red softball alts, teams with pins shouldn’t mix in solid tops, and I don’t generally like two-tone caps). Yet, despite all that — I freakin’ love that concept — I think the stirrups are the glue that holds it all together. Great job, Tim, just fantastic. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the A’s and the Mets (and any other teams you didn’t tweak, but those two in particular, since I have my own solid opinions on how to make them look right, once and for all).
OK, readers — how about you? How great is this, huh? Please let Tim know what you think — not just of the actual tweaks, but of the entire talent that went into producing this great template.
Be sure to check out Tim’s website to see more of his outstanding concepts.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
We took last weekend off, hoping to get some new blood into the colorizations, and we have succeeded. While this is still the G&G show, a couple non-G&G entries did come in. And they are good.
We start off today with one of those, a new colorizer, Andy, from the Dick Allen Hall of Fame:
I want to share this “colorized” image I did this afternoon.
If you think it is good enough, please feel free to show it off on UNIWATCH.
The image appears here.
Andy @ Dick Allen Hall of Fame
Next up is a B&W beaut, hopefully to be colorized, from Terry Proctor:
This picture of Tom Terrific would look great colorized. The colors are Royal Blue and Orange. Very fortunate because of the Suns being a Mets farm club from ’65-’68. The team used those colors from their inception as a Cleveland team in 1962. The Cardinals were there for 1964 and them the Mets. In 1969 the AAA Suns moved to Tidewater as the Tides. I saw the Suns (and later the Tides) play many times in Rochester.
The cap is Royal with an Orange “J.” The “Suns” lettering on front is Royal with an Orange outline. The “Sun” logo is mostly Orange with Royal Blue details. The undershirt and “junior-high prom” belt are Royal Blue. That belt was elastic with leather tabs.
Great picture, Terry. Lets hope the colorizers will give that one a shot.
One of the G&G tandem, George Chilvers, recently had his work “published” — and it’s a great shot:
The second half of the G&G Boys, Gary Chanko, was next:
The first photo was included in the recent There’s No Service Like Wire Service, Vol. 29. Because it was a former Phillies player I had to colorize it. Unfortunately I can’t come up with his name. The time period is somewhere between the early Fifties and late Sixties, a right handed pitcher with a number ending in “3.”
So my search to find out the player’s name lead me to another interesting photo.
The photo was taken on September 10, 1930 at the Highland Estates Country in South Carolina. Astute golf and baseball fans should be able to identify these guys.
Great job, as always, Gary.
And, as always, here’s George again with some beautiful colorizations:
This is Jimmy Speirs who captained Bradford City when they won the FA Cup in 1911. I’ve always liked those shirts, but had never seen them in full colour (Bradford currently wear stripes – nice enough but this yoke effect is quite stunning).
George also included this picture (in black & white) of George Pickett (and in living color). He does so to set up the following words of advice, for those who’d like to try their hand at colorization:
I’ll try and get some words together about actual technique, but this picture I think epitomises a fair bit of what I want to say to encourage people to try.
Don’t try to run before you can walk. Take a head and shoulders like this and have a go. There are actually only six colours in this piece – I have them as separate layers, but if your programme doesn’t support layers (or it’s a bit difficult to sort what they’re all about) it can still all be done on one layer – it’s just a bit more difficult to fix if you go wrong. In this pic there’s claret, amber, skin, background (blue), hair and lips. That’s all! The skill is in getting just the right tone to suit, and then very carefully selecting the areas.
If you try to do a full panoramic of all 87 players of the 1903 Chicago Gallopers or whoever you’ll get bored, it won’t work and it’ll get complicated. At least at first. You’ll give up and never know what you can achieve.
Have a go at something simple. Wikipedia has loads of good suitable pics, even non-sport (I’ve attached General George Pickett as an example). Alternatively Google whoever you want, or maybe your team, and filter by asking for just medium or large pictures in black and white – that way you’re likely to eliminate all the modern full-colour pictures and you can home in on suitable targets that will be big enough to have a reasonable go at. Try and pick something you can reasonably finish in one or two sittings. I know some of mine take ages, but very often I’ll do another in between. As I mentioned to you th eother day, I’ve strated on the Ebbets Field picture – but it’s big and complex and fiddly. So I’ve done these two in between just to lighten my day :)
I’ll try and put something together on actual techniques (and I may do another “head and shoulders” (no, not the shampoo) as I don’t think I’ll get Ebbets Field finished soon).
Thanks again, George.
The reason George added that to his usual fare was to kind of *jumpstart* a few of you would-be colorizers out there — start small and build up to it. He has wonderful advice.
For now, we have Tom Terrific and the floor is open to any other colorizations you would like to try. I really encourage anyone who wants to give this a shot to do so, and use George’s words of advice and suggestions. If you’re still apprehensive about giving this a shot, well…
Next weekend, I plan to feature Gary Chanko in a colorization tutorial, wherein he will teach and explain the techniques and tricks he uses to colorize black and white photographs. It should be wonderful and I hope it will get a few more of you into this excellent (if time-consuming) hobby/artform. Gary will be explaining how he worked on the Philly Pitcher he colorized for today’s entry.
Thanks again to all, and especially Gary & George, the G&G boys. See you next weekend with a tutorial.
by Rick Pearson
Never know when that game changing moment’s gonna come up…
And here’s the full-size, of course. Ouch.
We have another nice of tweaks today.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Isaac Schemm, who has an arena league (what?) concept:
Attached is a uniform concept for the Milwaukee Mustangs of the Arena Football League. I based the unis on the Packers (and the Wikipedia template). I think a simple, classic uniform reflects a “get down to business” attitude that fits an arena football team well.
Next up is Ron Rowland, who is back with more baseball concepts:
A couple more designs following up the Brewers’ tweak from last weekend:
I love the alt jersey they’ve broken out this year, which is a nice nod to the Swingin’ A’s of the 70’s and their three World Series championships. WIth the buttons and collar piping, it also remind me of the alt home jersey they had back in the Billyball days of the early 80’s. So I created a set based on some of those aesthetics.
Home: Almost a direct recreation of the ’82-’84 alt home uniform but with smaller sleeve piping moved up slightly from the edge. THe centerpiece being the use of the iconic “A’s” type over the left breast.
Road: A gray variation of the same design, but with the green and gold inverted on the logo and player number for more dramatic pop off the gray. Gold logo/number, green piping. Also, picking up on this inversion, a gold cap with a green logo and bill, which is a nod to the batting helmets of the late 60’s early 70’s unis, featured here in Reggie Jackson’s 1971 All-Star Game roof clearing home run off Doc Ellis (sorry couldn’t find a color version)
Alt: Almost a straight iteration of the terrific set they’re using this year but with simpler piping configuration.
Chicago Cubs Road Uni
Living in Chicago for two decades, I’ve seen my share of different looks the Cubbies have used on the road with varied success. Here’s I’ve combined their “Walking Cub” logo that’s currently used on their current road alts now onto a solid gray uniform with some traditional piping configurations. To spice it up, I’ve added a blue drop shadow to the red numbers on front and back.
Thanks! Have a great weekend!
Finally, we have a tweak from Tommy M., who has a Golden State entry:
I don’t like the Warrior’s new jersey because I think the front logo is too busy. I like the retro look though.
That’s all folks. More next weekend.
Braves & Phils Throwback
Yesterday afternoon in Atlanta, the Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies played a throwback game honoring the negro league players of each respective team. Each team wore uniforms depicting the year 1938, playing as the Atlanta Black Crackers and Philadelphia Stars.
The Braves wore gorgeous cream colored unis, with navy blue caps and navy stirrups, with a white-red-white northwestern pattern. The Black Crackers began play in 1919 and lasted through 1952, joining the Negro Southern Leage in 1920 and the Negro American League in 1938. I didn’t see the game, but it appeared as though the players wore dark sanis while the coaches wore the white undersocks. Conventional wisdom says the Black Crackers got their monicker from the minor league Atlanta Crackers, with whom they shared Ponce de Leon Park.
The Phillies wore beautiful gray uniforms, with a very ornate wordmark (resembling that which the Mets wear today), with a very unique “split”: the shortened city name, “PHILA” on the right side of the jersey, with the team name, “STARS”, on the left breast. You can read more about the Stars history here. The Stars were founded back in 1933 and used to play games at Passon field and the 44th and Parskide ballpark in West Philly, and occasionally played games at Shibe park on Monday nights.
Today, as part of the second half of “Civil Rights Weekend,” the Braves will turn the clock back to 1974, to honor Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. Both teams will wear fauxbacks from that era. The Phillies will don powder blue unis (although in 1974, they had zipper fronts), and the Braves will sport white pullovers with raglan sleeves, which do appear to be pretty accurate repros. (Of course, we’ll have to wait to see what they trot out to be sure).
The game takes place at 1:35 pm eastern, and the good news is, it’s on TBS, so most of us should be able to watch it. If you can’t be by the tube, be sure to set your DVR’s now.
• Paul pointed me towards this interesting article from Can’t Stop The Bleeding about today’s Phillies/Braves game entitled, “MLB’ Civil Rights Game: Nice Idea, Shame About One Of The Participants. If you couldn’t glean from the title, it is, not surprisingly, about whether Atlanta’s great strides in the Civil Rights movement is summarily undermined by their MLB club using a “racist” name (and iconography). Give it a read.
• While the author seems both biased and with an agenda, he brings up some valid observations. Does the Braves continued use of their name and the “Tomahawk Chop” continue to do harm to Native Americans in particular and civil rights of all people in general?
• I’m not sure why he drags the Cleveland Indians into this particular article, but it does reinforce the notion that the Braves are not alone in their use of Native American imagery, a caricature which is less than flattering.
• What about this line, “The same can’t be said for the actions of the paying customers, however, who see no irony in attending something that’s meant to mark “Civil Rights Weekend” while Tomahawk chopping during Kyle Kendrick’s warm-up tosses in the last of the 6th inning.”? Braves fans are by no means the only fans who “tomahawk chop,” but why are they now seemingly being singled out for this?
• Then there is this, “There’s also the unfortunate timing of Roger McDowell returning from suspension just in time for this weekend’s series, as if you needed any reminder that while toiling as one of the Braves’ most beloved players, John Smoltz famously compared same-sex marriage to getting hitched to Mr. Ed.” In case you missed it, McDowell had been suspended for two weeks when he uttered this homophobic slur towards three men in San Francisco, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?” Now, anti-gay taunts are nothing new in sports, and it’s good they are being punished. But are the members of the Braves (and past players to boot) really representative of the team or the city of Atlanta?
• I don’t like the Braves’ and Indians’ use of caricatures, and I believe the Redskins name and logo is one the most offensive and racist in all of sports, and really should have been changed years ago. But is the author taking things too far by attacking the Braves and their fans? Or is there a larger point to be made here that as far as we have come as a society, we still have a long way to go — and maybe MLB’s Civil Rights weekend is a good time for such grievances to be aired?
It’s a little early, but I wanted to offer Paul a HUGE CONGRATS in advance, as Uni Watch celebrates its Fifth Anniversary this Tuesday. Been an amazing journey since you threw out that First Pitch.
What a long, strange trip it’s been for this blog — thanks for taking us along for the ride.
FIVE MANY MORE great years, buddy! All the best.
Everyone have a great Sunday.
I don’t much care for blogs; I don’t even like word blog. But until we come up with a better term, this here thing you’re now reading is a blog devoted to the details of sports uniform design. — Paul Lukas, 17 May, 2006