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‘Leo’s World’ Returns — Colorizing Dad

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[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Substack column). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]

Good Morning Uni Watch. Hope everyone is having a good week.

Longtime readers will remember the name Leo Strawn, Jr., who shared several articles and sub-ledes on various uni observations, designs, and other uni-related minutia, all in what he lovingly deemed “Leo’s World.” I think the last time we featured a “Leo’s World” was way back in 2016.

Leo has made a triumphant return, and today I’m pleased to share a brand new article. This one features a new project of his. I’ve featured many colorizers over the years, but in most of those cases, the subject has been a star (or at least a player) from early 20th century sports teams. Leo has colorized a football player alright, but in this case, the photograph he has colorized is that of his father!

I’ll let Leo just take it from here…

• • • • •
Leo’s World
by Leo Strawn, Jr.

My dad and uncle played football together at Lancaster (Ohio) High School in 1957, which was my uncle’s senior and my dad’s sophomore (and only) season.

Side note full of minutia: My uncle played as a sophomore in 1955, assistant coach John McVay’s final season at Lancaster. Yes, that’s the same John McVay who was head coach of the Memphis Southmen/Grizzlies of the WFL and the New York Giants, as well as working in the front office for the Niners during their heyday in which they won their 5 Super Bowls, and whose grandson is head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Ironically, both of the NFL McVays were born in Ohio and were associated with the two teams (John as VP of the 49ers during the SB XVI and SB XXIII seasons and Sean as head coach of the Rams during the SB LVI campaign) that resulted in all 3 Cincinnati Super Bowl losses.

Anyway, my dad has a photo of himself in his LHS football uniform and I wanted to make a colorized version.

This is the original photo. It was taken at North School, where the Golden Gales played home games at the time. Part of the south side of Mount Pleasant (which the Wyandot, part of the Shawnee Confederacy, called “Standing Stone”) can be seen in the distance.

The first step was to take that black and white image and add several layers of different colors, including green, purple, red, etc. (The Gales’ colors were purple and gold at the time.) Then I started erasing large patches of colors on each layer, i.e., I erased the green from the buildings on the green layer, etc.

Layer by layer, I kept erasing out the unwanted color from each layer, getting more precise with each round.

I continued that process while adjusting colors along the way and began splitting some of the layers into multiple layers of the same color. The brown layer, for example, was split into hair, bleachers and mountains so I could adjust the contrast, saturation, color balance, etc., on each one individually.

In the next image, the green has several layers. For example, the grass is two layers now, one with the entire area of grass and a second layer overlaid with more contrast and vivid color that was erased in a fade toward the back to give the illusion of depth. I also added white over top of the yard lines and hash mark, with each one of the white overlays showing more of the green underneath as it went back in the distance by lowering the opacity of the layer.

Continued tweaking colors, values, etc., until I was satisfied. Hair became two layers. The face became several layers, some with just highlights, some with just shadow, one with additional yellow in areas and one with additional red in areas, all with varying degrees of opacity. Final version:

For comparison, I made a black and white version from the final version of the colorized image (on the right) and placed it side-by-side with the original b & w to show how much depth was added and how much crisper the image became.

Here is the original b & w photo side-by-side with the final color version:

For my first detailed colorization, I thought it came out pretty nice. More importantly, my dad loved it!

• • • • •
Wow! Fantastic job on that colorization — I would never have known that it was your first. And the best part is that it wasn’t some random old NFL or NCAA Football photo, but of your own pop! After seeing that result, I’m sure he really did love it — I know I would.



Guess the Game from the Scoreboard

Guess The Game…

…From The Scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Seamus McGillicuddy.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.



Guess the Game from the Uniform

Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.

Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.

Today’s GTGFTU comes from Jimmy Corcoran himself.

Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.



Uni Tweet of the Day

Despite both teams going through a TON of changes since then, those ’69s are both gorgeous and surprisingly not that far from what they wear today…


And finally...

…that’s it for the early morning lede. Big thanks again (and WELCOME BACK!) to Leo for sharing that wonderful colorization of the photo of his pop and for bringing Leo’s world out of hiatus.

I’ll definitely have at least one more post today (big NCAA uni news!) and possibly more than that.

If there is big breaking uni news late Friday or on Saturday, I’ll definitely add a post this weekend — but in case there’s not, everyone have a great weekend.



Comments (37)

    Chargers never look right to me in white pants, no matter the helmet or the jersey.
    Yellow pants, always!

    Yes – even though they were born in white pants, they really should not have been and should have never abandoned the yellow. Why it took them decades (and a move back to LA) to bring them back is puzzling.

    I just assumed that the NL logo disks on the outfield wall at the Murp were easy to take down/put back up – I’m guessing that’s what those green tarps are concealing.
    PS – ‘69 was the high water mark for MLB uniforms…I know someone out there agrees ; )

    The first couple of seasons, Texas Stadium looked weird with those tall concrete walls. Looked better after they painted them blue and put the stars on them.

    You got it Ted! what I like about this photo is that is Roy Gerela helping Preston Pearson make the tackle, three seasons later Pearson is now a Cowboy and Roy Gerela kicked the opening kickoff to him in Super Bowl 10. Of course, Preston Pearson only handled Garela’s kick for a moment then handed it off to Hollywood Henderson who almost went all the way with it.

    I really like this challenge. Even though I wasn’t the first to solve, I didn’t see the answer before I did. Looking forward to next week.

    Wow, Leo! That colorizing project ought to be a tutorial on the potential of Photoshop. The results are gorgeous!

    I didn’t know you could make a better black & white photo as well. I thought it was just for colorizing.
    Fantastic work!

    Thanks! Will consider doing a tutorial in the future, maybe over the winter when life slows down a bit.

    That tweet of the day is amazing! Wow.

    Great work Leo! I especially like the side by side black and white showing how the contrast is improved! So, how many total layers were on the final image?


    Good question! I couldn’t recall since it’s been a year and a half, but I opened the psd file to get a count.

    Started with black, yellow, purple, slate (gray), skintone (basically an ochre), blue, green, white and brown, and began erasing areas on those 9 layers.

    By the time I had cut those layers up into smaller layers (when I needed a layer to be different shades, opacity, etc.), I ended up with 41 different layers on top of the original!


    1985 Week 2
    Seattle Seahawks (2-0) 49
    San Diego (1-1) 35

    Score at the time of the photo is Seattle 35, San Diego 29
    Wes Chandler will end the day with 13 receptions and 243 yards, but Darryl Turner ends with 4 TD’s.
    Kreig goes 22/32 for 307 while Fouts goes 29/43 for 440.
    Teams ended with combined 1046 yards of offense and 12 TD’s (10 by air)

    Entire game available here

    Small (Leo’s) world, isn’t it? You and at least 2 others in the comments have Lancaster connections!

    My aunt lives across the street from the old North School (lot) and since it’s been replaced (I think it’s Mt. Pleasant Elementary now?) the old football field is sadly no longer there. My cousins and I used to go there to play some football and practice kicking field goals back in the day!

    Great to have Leo’s World back! Having gone to General Sherman Jr. High with him, his immediate prowess with colorizing is no surprise to me. Go Gales!

    And Stanbery for part of a year, where we were undefeated against other freshman schools in soccer! (I won’t mention the games against reserves and varsity teams…)

    Was good to see you again, last week…Cheers!

    That is a great lede, Leo and Phil!

    The sentimentality of the project really hits home, and the end result is amazing.

    Also, one of my mom’s best friends from high school teaches art at Lancaster (Ohio) Middle (I’m at least pretty sure she’s not high school), so that was an awesome connection too :). Crazy that your dad was coached by a pre-NFL John McVay, too!
    P.S.: I wonder if their family has a thing for rhyming names. John, Sean?

    Thanks, Ian!

    Just commented to someone else, there are 3 (so far) UW readers with Lancaster connections. Amazing!

    My dad only played for one year (1957), and John had moved on by then (he was coaching HS in Columbus that year), but my uncle played for him and my dad knew him. They both knew Woody Hayes, too, and my uncle almost ended up playing for him, as well. Woody recruited him but Dad told me he couldn’t keep his grades up. (Sigh)

    Love the photo colorization, Leo, and the story behind it! Great job! And welcome back to being a contributor! Glad to see your contributions on the site again!

    Is there some setting or something I can do on my end to keep the left side of this site from getting cut off when I view it on my phone? I already have to peek through the last half inch of my screen that isn’t populated by ads, but I also have to assume what the first word of every line is.

    Hi Dave,

    I don’t handle the back end so I don’t have any answers/suggestions, but I’ve let Paul and the site administrator, John Ekdahl, know of your concerns


    As a matter of fact yes… well it did look better until I clicked reply, then the same issue occurred. I’ll let you know what happens after I send this, if it reverts to the corrected set up or not.

    Upon first visit to the site, it was fixed, but after clicking “reply” the issue returned to stay.

    Great project with a wonderful result. The picture looks great in color. Ususally I am not a fan of coloring b/w pictures but in this case: even the new b/w version is indeed crisp and still natural.

    Sunday, October 8, 1972
    Dallas Cowboys 17
    Pittsburgh Steelers 13

Comments are closed.