By Phil Hecken
Last weekend, I introduced you to some important, basic techniques to learn to change colors on uniforms. If you missed it, please check it out. Today, I’m going to teach you how to colorize black and white photographs. Since some of the techniques you will need to use today are explained in last weekend’s tutorial, if you are interested in learning to colorize black and white photos, you may want to refer back to that if you have any questions.
In just a moment, we’re going to learn how to colorize this black and white photo of Otto Graham, so if you’d like to try this tutorial, please download and save that now. But before we do that, I wanted to take a brief moment to go over some feedback I received on last weekend’s piece.
Reader Larry Torrez sent me this E-mail:
Thought I would send a colorized pic I did a looong time ago and never finished… could never get the heinous greenish grey of the old Colosseum paint job — still ugly in the 60’s when I attended my first scRams game, back then they wore Dodger blue and white unis (sweet). They had changed from bleachers to orange plastic seats in most of the place by then. But I digress…
Been restoring and coloring pics using Photoshop (industry beast) for work (ad agency) for years and I wanted to pass on Kudos to you for supporting this lost art and in a sports related way (doubly cool) too.
I first learned how to colorize actual black and white photographs with cave tools — women’s makeup and paints — in the olden days. Same rules apply… lotsa practice.
I hope that the Uni Watch Universe gets into the act and puts some color to some of the best photography of the past century.
Indeed. Thank you Larry. I realize we’ve come a long way since the “cave tools” days. I also received some feedback and tips on colorizing from The Jeff, who wanted to add this to last weeks tutorial:
Well, if we’re sticking to black & white, the method you’re using works fairly well. In fact, I use the same basic method when dealing with some colored images myself. (turning the Chargers pants from blue to yellow – colorization tool; seeing how the Browns would look with orange jerseys & brown pants – coloring a new layer) The only major drawbacks are that it doesn’t work particularly well on things like helmet glare – you end up drawing over the glare and it becomes much more subdued than the original, and it doesn’t work for changing colors to other colors.
I do have a few small tips though:
1. If you weren’t aware, the selection tool has multiple modes – you may want to set it on “Add” rather than the default of “Replace” – so you can make multiple small selections and chain them all together into one big selection, then filling, instead of the “select, fill, select, fill” that you used in the tutorial.
1a. Alternatively, because you’re working on a separate layer, you can just use the max zoom and free-hand the coloring with the paintbrush tool. I find that to be a little bit quicker sometimes.
2. Instead of just playing with transparency, set your layer to “Multiply”. This will allow you to use brighter colors without losing the underlying details.
3. A bit of a cheat – if at all possible, start with a larger image than what you actually need – when you resize it down, it can hide some minor mistakes or overlaps you might have made.
I think you’ll also want to make sure to remind people that it’s not a quick process, especially doing a full black & white photo. Patience is a very important virtue.
Feel free to ask anything else you want to know… I’ll try to help to the best of my abilities. I’m just as self-taught as you are though, so I don’t know everything yet. :)
– The Jeff
And thank you, Jeff. Any and all tips are greatly appreciated.
And finally, someone who actually used last week’s tutorial and tried it out. This comes from Derek Milleville:
I was messing around with that program you talked about in your post yesterday and I came up with these. They are the greatest cause it is my first time ever doing something like this. I just thought I’d share it with you.
Great — BFBS Buffalo Bills. I’ve created a monster. (I kid, I kid). Nice job on those Derek. Keep at it.
Now then, lets move on to black and white colorization. As with last week, the tutorial I created will speak for itself, so there won’t be much I can add in this article. If you’ve already downloaded and saved the picture of Otto Graham, you can begin with the thumbnail tutorial. Simply click on “Detail” to bring up the larger images, and then click on each individual image (they are numbered 1-24) and follow the steps.
I cannot stress enough the importance of creating a new layer with each new section. This is important because the opacity of each layer may (and likely will) need to be different — if you want to click through the tutorial before starting, you’ll notice the orange elements (jersey, helmet, sock stripe and pants stripe) each have a different strength of layer color. The same applies to the brown you’ll be adding to the uniform. For this tutorial, I have only given you instructions for working with the orange and the brown. Obviously, you can keep on colorizing as much of the photograph as you’d like, including fleshtones and the helmet mask, the football, etc. You may also wish to colorize other players and the grass.
It all depends on your level of patience. Sometimes, it looks cool simply to colorize a single image in a photo, or a pair of figures, leaving the rest of the background black and white. Other times (if you have plenty OF time and patience), you may wish to colorize an entire photograph. But beware, sometimes you may bite off more than you can chew. That photograph probably took me six or seven hours to colorize.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tutorial and will give it a try. Colorizing photos is a wonderful hobby (albeit one that may become a time-straining obsession). Hopefully, as Larry Torrez noted above, the Uni Watch community can begin building a wonderful colorized library of some of the great black and white photographs of the past.
Thanks for indulging me, and as always, if anyone has any questions, suggestions or thoughts, please shoot me an E-mail. Good luck, and happy colorizing!
No Baseball, Football for me
I know this has nothing to do with uniforms, but quite frankly, it needs to be mentioned, at least in passing. Due to a dispute between News Corp and my cable provider, Cablevision, I am unable to watch the Fox network. Normally, this would be no big deal, but it means that last night, I was unable to view the Phillies vs. Giants NLCS playoff game, and, unless something drastic happens, today I won’t be able to watch the Fox portion of the NFL. And that, quite frankly, is bullshit.
Normally, I’m no fan of the Dolans, who own Cablevision (and also the Knicks, Rangers, Madison Square Garden, several cable networks and a portion of my soul), but in this instance, I’m completely blaming this on News Corp. Others agree with me. According to this article, “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (Nasdaq: NWSA) is using the media domination it developed under the friendly oversight of the Bush Administration to extract more than double the amount of fees from local cable television provider, Cablevision – new funds that will likely help secure the election of more friendly elected officials.”
Now, sure, that’s an op-ed piece and not straight news reporting, but basically that’s the deal. The article continues, “The ability of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, owner of Fox Television, to hold Cablevision subscribers hostage during the MBL playoffs and World Series (it is extorting an $80 million increase in the fees to Cablevision, now at $70 million) is another example of the gross mistake (or rather the calculated strategy) that the Bush Administration made requiring broadcast to go digital, therefore requiring viewers to have a subscription to a profit-making cable company or satellite company.”
Now, the Bush-bashing aside, the point in that graf is clear: News Corp wants to charge my cable provider MORE THAN DOUBLE what it is currently charging them now, and in fact, that amount is more than ABC, NBC and CBS combined are receiving. Even if my cable company caves and pays, do you think they’re going to eat that? Hell no…I can see my already outrageous bill going up again. And since I live in a condo, I can’t get any of the satellite providers, so that’s not an option.
Here’s what really bothers me. News Corp has REFUSED to submit to independent, third-party arbitration. Cablevision has, offering to show Fox programming (including the NLCS and NFL) until the dispute can be settled. What kind of good faith is that?
Last evening, someone on the boards mentioned “The entire affair is despicable, but News Corp has a point with the arbitration thing. Based on their past practices it sounds like Cablevision holds out of negotiating until the contract enters its arbitration period, which is more likely to favor the local cable company, rather than the larger network. That is a bad faith tactic.”
Lets for a minute accept that that is true. How is that a bad faith tactic? When a contract agreement can’t be met, how is it that independent third party arbitration is bad? Even if that arbitration sides with the cable company (which I would dispute, but whatever), at least the consumer isn’t screwed out of what used to be FREE TV in the process. And if the cable company doesn’t have to pay the rates the provider is asking, how is that possibly BAD for the consumer?
Anyway, I was upset last evening after being denied the baseball playoffs. If I don’t get football today, I’ll be more than livid. Sorry for venting to you readers, but I really couldn’t let this pass without some kind of mention.
Anyone else affected by this? What do you think?
Slowly making it thought the tweak backlog, but keep them coming. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way. OK? OK! Here’s what’s on tap for today.
Those who’ve already sent in tweaks, they’re fine the way they are, but in the future, because many of you seem to enjoy elaborate write ups, can you possibly try to keep them to 50 words tops per team? (Every one I’ve received since I asked for the ~50 limit has complied so far!) Thanks!
Starting off the show is Terry Duroncelet, who really took me literally on the 50 word limit. That’s per TEAM, not per post, but I appreciate it nonetheless:
Hey, Phil. Via your request, I’ll TRY to keep it under 50 words.
And my best work yet, the Bengals
And finishing our tweaks this week is Bowen Hobbs, who has seven NFL concepts you have to see:
I have a few more NFL concepts for you, most of which have appeared in my blog, 44th & Goal:
49ers: I made the sleeve stripes fit, used a new number font to match the wordmark, and added brown instead of black.
Bengals: I developed a tiger-striping design around the shoulders and switched the orange jersey to the primary jersey.
Buccaneers: I created a design that echoes the ragged nature of the flag in the logo. I also added an orange alternate jersey.
Chargers: I darkened the powder blue and ditched the navy. I also found a new way to incorporate the lightning bolts. And then there’s the strikethrough on the numbers.
Jaguars: I’ve always wanted to see the Jags incorporate a spotted pattern, and this does just that. I also swapped out the teal for green because the Dolphins are Florida’s teal team.
Rams: I went back to royal and athletic gold, since the Edward Jones dome is pretty dimly lit. I also tweaked the helmet by adding white highlights to match the logo.
Seahawks: This one is a compromise of old and new. The blue is halfway between the slate and navy they currently have. The green is slightly darker, and the helmets are a blueish-silver. The design is supposed to mimic the blue/green split of the seahawk’s neck.
Great stuff today fellas. That’s it for today. Check back next week for more.
2010 Season Uni Tracking
Now that the 2010 Season has concluded it’s time for all of you who have tracked your team through the entire season to send me your final tweaks. When I have a few spare hours, I plan on compiling them and adding them to the Uni Watch Archives, to be a part of the permanent record.
So, if you’ve been doing your due diligence with your team, send me your end-of-season tracking reports, and I’ll post them as a “sub article” on the weekends. OK? OK! And I promise they’ll make it into the UW archives before the year is out. Please feel free to accompany your tracking with a write up, especially if your team had any interesting trends or patterns.
Today, we have Brandon Davis, who tracked the Oakland A’s this past season. Let’s hear from him now:
Not much to say about the A’s at the end of the season, they finished .500. They played well at home, where they wore white about 2/3 of the time at home and played even better in black (especially compared to last year), which they wore about a third of the time. Rumor is that the black will be replaced by a gold alternate next season though. The A’s still haven’t phased out the old helmet decal, and it kept creeping back every once in a while. Other than that, here’s the list.
Thanks Brandon. Any other trackers out there? If you have been doing the due diligence, I’d love to feature your efforts on here. And to those who’ve already sent me your final season wrap-ups, I thank you.
Tracking The Playoffs
At Uni Watch, we certainly have a dedicated band of obsessed folks, there is no denying that. And we do like to track teams in a variety of ways.
Alex Rocklein has come up with a really neat playoff tracker. He not only tracks the teams wins & losses, but he also tracks the teams by uniform! Awesome. It’s not only cool, but it’s a great way to look at the uni matchups from a graphical perspective:
Looking, for example, at the Braves vs. Giants matchup, we not only see the Giants won games 1, 3 and 4, but we can also see that the Braves wore a different top for all 4 games. Over on the AL side of the ledger, we see that Texases never wore their white top in an entire five game series, while the Rays wore their blue softball tops in 4 of their five games. Very interesting.
Alex sent me that yesterday, before the Yanks lost and (I think) the Giants won (if I had Fox, I would know that), so it’s updated as of Friday’s games.
Said Alex a week ago, before the divisional series’ had been decided:
Every year for the playoffs I roll out a playoff tree that I use for my desktop wallpaper. This year I added a new twist—adding each team jersey for each game played. I’ve attached a preview of what I use. I’m not too thrilled about the yellow but I took it from the World Series logo. Its an ongoing design project that I seem to change after each round. (The Giants/Braves is an assumption but I don’t see them going in any other direction).
He updated it for me after the first round. I look forward to showing you another update again next weekend. Thanks Alex!
5 & 1
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1. Jim really had some tough choices yesterday, but in the end, he got the Number One game correct, and really, isn’t that all that matters? I think so. Let’s see what else he got:
Honorable mention to FCS schools Villanova/Maine — I love double blue, so this was right up my alley.
4. Iowa/Michigan — Iowa calls it old gold, UM calls it maize…I just say, “I’d wear that.”
3. SMU/Navy — Great matchup, and great end zones as well.
2. Iowa State/Oklahoma — A blowout on the scoreboard, but a tie when it comes to the unis.
1. Ole Miss/Alabama — Numbers one and two are interchangeable in my opinion, so I gave the nod to Bama’s helmet numbers.
And my worst pick, Illinois/Michigan State — Goofy font + swirly stripes + a lot of white = a matchup that narrowly beat out Boise State/San Jose State.
Very nicely done this week Jim. Of course I don’t agree with all your selections, but you nailed the important one.
OK, boys and girls, that will do it for this Sunday. If you’re wondering where Michael Princip’s Duck Tracker is…well, the Ducks were idle this week, so there is nothing to update. I believe he’ll be working on a pretty nice update for next weekend, however, so be sure to check back Saturday, as Team Nike will be summarily destroying UCLA in the Thursday Night ESPN game this week.
Over in the league where they play for pay, the Stillers are supposed to wear their sweet throwbacks today, which also marks the return of Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger. Lets see what kind of reception he gets.
Paul’s enjoying a weekend out of town, so if you guys can help us out with any good MMUW grabs or information, please post them directly into the comments or shoot me an E-mail, in addition to sending them to the usual UW address. I’ll try to help our fearless leader to compile everything so when he returns later this evening, he’ll be able to put it all together for a nice Monday package. OK? OK!
Enjoy the games today, and for those of you who are screwed out of the Fox games and the Phillies game…well…there’s gotta be something else on TV, right?
Longtime Terps fan. One word for the new black bball unis – “Ghetto” — Jerry “Taxman” Adams