6 New Custom Designs

I work on a lot of custom designs, just to try out different techniques and experiment. Here are six recent designs I made that haven’t been posted yet.

I like a couple of these more than the others, and I’m still thinking about making larger sets with some of these designs.

I’d love to hear your feedback on which of these designs you like or dislike.

1979 Topps

Here are a couple of alternate versions of 1979 Topps cards for Reds Ray Knight and Doug Bair. This is my second card for Knight, but the first one that shows him in a Reds uniform (the other Knight card was part of the 1986 Game Six set I made for the Mets).

I also made a retro card for A’s draft pick Kyler Murray, who is now the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Murray passed on a promising baseball career to pursue a promising football career. I’ll always wonder how good Kyler would have been as a pro infielder.

Would you rather get beaned by a Gerrit Cole fastball, or get sacked by J.J. Watt?

Removing Backgrounds

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to document my progress with different Photoshop techniques. One of the skills I’ve been trying to improve lately is the ability to remove the backgrounds from photos.

There are free services that will do this for you, like Remove.bg, but those sites reduce the image size. I try to work with only high-res images, so this is a problem. The images I post here are scaled down to roughly 1/4 of their original size. I would post the full versions, but I’ve been warned that shady characters out there are likely to try to sell them on eBay.

Lately I’ve been working on removing backgrounds with Photoshop’s “Quick Selection Tool.” It takes more time than the free services, but maintains the full image resolution.

The Spirit of ’76

The 1976 Topps set was one of the first that I collected as a kid, so I’ve always had a soft spot for that design. Ever since I started this blog, I’ve wanted to be able to recreate that design. The problem was those little position icons on the lower left. I couldn’t find clean versions of those icons to work with, and without those, the whole card just looked bad.

Fortunately, Bob Jonas from the Custom Baseball Cards group was kind enough to share a set of icons that he had cleaned up. I worked in Photoshop to try to nail every little detail of the 1976 design – from the fonts down to the exact borders around those icons.

Here are the results – 6 alternate cards for the 2020 Reds. I even made one for the newest Red, Travis Jankowski. Janky plays every OF position, so he’ll probably get a chance to play a lot in early 2020, especially if Senzel isn’t ready for the start of the season.

Custom Reds Set

This design is based on the wonderful “Brothers” typeface. Brothers was designed by John Downer and released through Emigre in 1999. You can read more about Brothers at the Font Review Journal (which is a fantastic resource for font enthusiasts).

This is a really simple design, but I kinda love the look of the Bench card in this set.

Two artists

Here are a couple of new takes on the 1980 Topps template.

I love both of these pics for different reasons. The Concepcion card shows how he used to make the tough plays at shortstop look so effortless. And the Warhol card just makes me laugh. Why is he wearing a Reds cap and holding a pug? Who knows. And who cares? I mean, it’s Warhol.

1971 Topps Football Remixes

The 1971 Topps football design was kind of quirky. The lower left corner featured a cartoon drawing of each player position. That made it a bit more difficult to remix the card for a baseball design.

Fortunately, I was able to find the two cartoon characters you see in the design below. I also helped that the characters were already wearing uniforms like the Reds.

It also took me a little while to find the font used for the team names. I’m using Rama Slab here, which isn’t a perfect match, but it’s pretty darn close.

As a side note…I would pay a lot of money to see the Reds use these uniforms in every game next season.

1973 Football Remixes

Here’s another set of football “remixes.” This time, I took the 1973 Topps football design and converted it into baseball cards. I changed the colors to reflect the Reds’ color scheme (the original cards seemed to ignore team colors altogether).

I added the current Topps “rookie card” logo to the O’Grady card, since he made his major league debut this year. I still prefer the old All-Star trophy logos, but this one is growing on me.

Neon Lights

One of the members of Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group posted a really nice basketball card design that used a neon look for the team and player names.

I decided to take a shot at my own neon design, and came up with this after a few failed attempts. This is more of a rough idea than a finished, polished, pixel-perfect design…but I’m liking it so far.

1977 & 1978 Topps Football Remixes

Here’s a mix of some more football card designs turned into baseball card designs. The ’77 and ’78 sets were two of the ones I collected as a kid. Sadly, most of them were destroyed when our basement flooded.

The ’77 design is a classic, but the ’78 design is pretty bland, in my opinion. On the other hand, the ’77 design was a pain to recreate, but the ’78 design only took a few minutes.

New Custom Cards

I love the 2019 MLB post-season logo, so I used it as the starting point for this design.

I created several different versions of this design before landing on this one. The placement of the name was the part that took the longest – I tried it at the top, on the left side, and then at the bottom. I chose the version with the red bar at the bottom, since it brings together the red from the home plate element.

I wanted to try this design with another team, just to see how the design holds up for other colors. So…here are the first non-Reds custom cards I’ve ever created.

Here are the 3 of the Astros:

I also created a couple of cards for the A’s:

And finally, I made a horizontal version of the card:

NOTE: Big thanks to Frank Jewett from Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group. Frank suggested a couple of small revisions that really improved the overall look of this design.

1964 Alternates

I can just imagine how this photo day went…

Photographer: “OK, guys…just stand there with your hands on your knees!”
Frank: “Um…why?”
Photographer: “‘Cause that’s what you ballplayers do.”
Pete: “Well, actually…the proper stance is to…”
Photographer: “I SAID HANDS ON KNEES!!!”
Frank & Pete: “Yeah, OK. Whatever.”

Custom Cards

I created this card design yesterday, and it was one of those times when all the pieces just kind of clicked right away. I usually keep tweaking and editing my designs until all the elements feel right, but this one seemed to work on the first try.

I know I’ve made a lot of cards for Senzel and VanMeter, but I’ve got a lot of hope for what these guys will do for the Reds. VanMeter should be an everyday player in 2020, and I’m hoping we see more of the “early 2019 Senzel” next year.

UPDATE: I got some valuable feedback on the original card designs from JT over at The Writer’s Journey and Frank Jewett from the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group. Big thanks to both of these guys for helping me make improvements to this design.

Castillo & Votto Customs

When I found the Luis Catillo picture, I knew I had to do something with it. So I immediately started working on a design that, I hoped, would bring more focus on the photo than the other design elements.

Then I found the Votto pic yesterday, and it seemed like a natural fit for the same design. I’d love to add more cards to this series, but I don’t think it will be easy to find more photos with this same style.

Custom Reds Designs

Here are a couple of my recent custom designs for a pair of great Reds outfielders.

With the Davis card, I was working with the idea of including more statistical info on the front of the card. The Foster card was an experiment with Photoshop’s “darken” feature.

I really liked the way these turned out. They’re kinda different than most of the cards out there (that I’m aware of, at least), but I think full team sets of these would look pretty cool.

What do you think?

2019 “Highlights”

The Reds’ 2019 season didn’t end the way I wanted it to, of course, but it wasn’t without its share of highlights. I created these 3 cards, based on Topps’ 1975 Highlights series, to honor my three favorite things about this season.

Aquino’s 2019 is one of my all-time favorite seasons by any player, ever. They way he burst into the majors was an amazing thing to witness.

And when Garrett charged at the Pirates’ dugout, he gave us a bit of hope that there was still some life in this team.

And Geno’s record-breaking home run pace down the stretch kept things interesting even when the playoffs were well out of reach. He set new records for the number of home runs in a season by National League third basemen, and also broke the record for most homers in a season by a Venezuelan.

I posted two of these on Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group the other day, so I thought I’d throw ’em all up here.

These cards use the same colors as the 1975 Highlights cards for Bob Gibson, Al Kaline & others. How in the world did Topps come up with this color scheme in 1975?

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