By Phil Hecken
“Not seeing the forest for the trees?”
“Oregon Being Oregon?”
“What the Duck?”
So many headlines went through my head when I first saw today’s splash photo. It’s actually quite difficult to put into words. Well, my own words, anyway. So, I’ll let Tinker Hatfield, the man who designed the court, say it in his own words: “We wanted to design the most iconic television presence possible for the University of Oregon by conjuring up a highly unique and visible basketball floor design.” OK then.
According to the University of Nike, “The court is framed by a representation of a view from beneath a forest of fir trees.” It’s actually pretty cool. I’m not so sure it belongs on a basketball floor, but it’s pretty interesting. At first I through it was some kind of Rorschach inkblot test. But then I looked a bit more closely. Perhaps I should have read the press release first and saved myself some eye strain.
Now that we’ve established what that graphic representation is, the next logical question is “why is it on the court?” Once again, according to Tinker Hatfield, “Its inspired by our beautiful tree-covered region and the UO 1939 NCAA Championship basketball team nicknamed the ‘Tall Firs.’” Of course it is. Oh, if the name Tinker Hatfield sounds somewhat familiar, you may have heard of him before.
If you look at the court, you’ll notice it’s named “Kilkenny Floor.” And who is Kilkenny? He’s actually Pat Kilkenny, a long-time Oregon supporter and from 2007-2009 was the school’s Director of Athletics. And if you look at the floor a bit more closely, you’ll notice three graphics. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to make out (sorry, I couldn’t find any closeups). They are, according to Oregon, designed “to pay respect to Pat Kilkenny, and the Kilkenny family, by telling their story in a classy and subdued series of three symbolic graphics.”
If you look closely, perhaps you can make out the following: “Graphic 1 (left side) depicts Morrow County and Heppner, Ore., where Pat Kilkenny grew up. Graphic 2, which symbolizes his education at UO, is the 1970’s interlocking UO logo adorned with three shamrocks representative of his very green and very Irish heritage. Graphic 3 symbolizes the beach and sunset of San Diego, where he became a highly successful entrepreneur and still resides today.”
The arena where the Kilkenny court is housed is also represented on the court. If you look closely at the sort-of “pi-A-pi” shaped graphic, that’s the Matt Knight logo, for whom the building is named. If the name “Knight” rings a bell, it’s because the building is named for Phil Knight’s son, Matthew, who was tragically killed in a scuba diving accident at the age of 34. So that’s on the floor too.
Finally, there’s the slogan “Deep In The Woods” on the court, which is meant to intimidate opponents (no, really). You can check out the press release here and some specs on the court here. For a bit more detail on the arena, take a look at Tinker Hatfield describing it in his own words.
Now, about that design. It’s not quite finished being put on the court, but so far it doesn’t look very intimidating. In fact, it actually looks like a big bucket of white paint was spilled in the middle of a standard brown court. Now, I suppose if you’re seated somewhere beneath the scoreboard, this will look pretty cool. And I’m sure it will look better (or will it?) on all those nationally televised games they’re hoping to host. But from that one static shot, it honestly doesn’t look all that impressive.
I thought if they really wanted to make a splash, they could have gone with something like this. Of course, if they actually wanted to depict trees, instead of some brown amorphous blob, perhaps they could have done something like this. However, those may not have passed NCAA muster. But at least they would have looked better than what they have planned.
Now, is this just “Oregon being Oregon”? Or is this the “future” of basketball court design? Say what you will about what Nike has done for Oregon’s football (and to a lesser extent basketball) uniform designs, but it’s almost impossible not to talk about them. Does this, as Paul is so correct in saying, now act as a one-way ratchet for court design? And where does this leave Autzen Stadium? Is their next design something only Jim Vilk could love?
I guess there truly is “no such thing as bad publicity.” Will this generate the kind of buzz Oregon is hoping for? Probably. It’s certainly out of the box thinking. The basic basketball court design has served us well for 100 years (give or take), so is this just a ridiculous extreme — or the next logical step?
(Special thanks to Andrew Greif for the PDFs & main graphic)
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Last week, I featured this beautiful Shorpy photo of the 1913 Washington baseball club. Four of you took me up on the challenge of colorizing it. It’s pretty amazing how four different “angles” could yield four different, yet equally amazing end results. Check them out:
Our first colorizer is Dylan Buell and here’s his masterpiece. I asked Dylan to tell me about his technique:
First a little about myself for some background. My name is Dylan Buell and I’m a junior at Ball State University and work for the Daily News (our school newspaper) as a chief photographer.
Photography, oddly enough, is simply a hobby for me (I’m studying to be a high school social studies teacher and want to coach baseball while I’m there) and have been shooting since I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve been reading UniWatch for almost two years now and contribute when I can.
Now to colorization. Honestly I’m new to this as well. However, I’ve been using Photoshop for many years and know my way around it. When I first heard about colorization, I jumped on the project and immediately loved it.
For this photo, it was pretty simple with the guide that was given about what colors to use for the uniforms. In Photoshop, I opened both that original photo and the guide photo. One important thing to do while using Photoshop to do a project like this, or many other projects in Photoshop, is to create layers for each different element of the photo. For example, for each color I’m adding, they’re each in a separate layer. That way, I can easily fix anything if I need to.
The process of colorization is pretty simple. I choose a color after creating a layer for it. Then I simply paint over the area that needs to be that color. Here’s where the magic happens though. It’s all about blending modes.
In the panel where the layers are located (usually at the bottom right), there should be a text bubble next to the opacity meter. (The default is set to ‘Normal’). Click on Normal and you should see a list of options. You can experiment with different options, but for me, for basic colors, such as ROY G. BIV, I click on the ‘Color’ blend mode option. However, this blend mode won’t work with colors like white black and gray. For white and black, I’ve found that ‘Soft Light’ works the best, and ‘Color Burn’ for gray.
Once you figure out which blending modes work for which colors, it’s a simple process of just coloring the areas that need the specific color. It can be a very time consuming process, but once you see the finished product, it’s very worth it. And with any other project, the more you do it the better you get. So as my mom says to her third grade students, “Just keep coloring!”
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks.
Great stuff. Next up is Michael Ferry, who took a decidedly different approach. Here is Michael’s colorization of the Nats. Likewise, I asked him for a bit of background:
Hey, thanks for posting my response — glad to make a small contribution to the great work y’all do. Anyway, couldn’t resist the challenge, and did what I could — see attached.
OK, I tried to colorize the picture using the method I described as closely as possible. To be honest, using the fill/color command didn’t quite capture what I wanted, so I adjusted the levels on pretty much everything, but especially the blue. Originally I pulled up the Dressed to the Nines graphic and used the eye dropper, but it looked a little too purple. I left the grandstand black and white, and did not add any additonal layers. The blue sky and green grass were adjusted with additional fill/color commands to deepen the blue and desaturate the green a bit.
Also had to start over at one point, because my old Photoshop crashed. Ouch — save early, save often. Note: including the crash, it took just over an hour.
Finally, I adjusted the resolution to 72 dpi and the size to make it a little smaller and easier to work with on my monitor. I guess I could start using 96 dpi since I’ve finally got a flat screen, but…
Also decided to make the sweater a little more gray.
Hope you like the picture, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you and other people have done. Thanks again.
Baton Rouge, LA
Our third colorizer is Carlos Sosa, who had a really different take on colorization. Here’s what Carlos created for his Washington recolor. Pretty amazing right. Carlos says, “Whadayathink? Even fixed the right guy’s smile!” Nice!
And our final colorization is brought to us by The Jeff, who actually posted this in the comments but I wanted to give it the full front page treatment it deserves. How’d he do? See for yourself.
Awesome stuff from all the colorizers.
I had planned on having this week’s “Colorize This!” come from one of the photos Paul ran during this past week’s Wire Service article, but I was contacted this week by Terry Proctor, who approached me with a challenge.
I was wondering if you could help me out. For the Rochester Amerks Booster Club web site I’ve written the team’s uniform history for the first 25 years. I’ve come across photos of actual Rochester sweaters that have been offered for sale by various auction houses or some that have already been purchased by local collector Dave Parlet. Dave has provided pictures of his sweaters plus other vintage AHL sweaters for the page. We’ve got just about every era of Rochester uniforms taken care of except the first two versions of the striped sweater.
So I have attached a photo of former Amerk favorite Stan Smrke from 1957-58. I was wondering if you could “colorize” this photo and another of the 1956-57 sweater that I will send you in a separate e-mail. If you could do these for me it would be greatly appreciated. The Amerks Booster Club web site is IMHO, the premier site of its kind. Not bragging, but through the efforts of people like webmaster Bill Flynn (he works at WHAM Radio 1180 in Rochester), jersey collector Dave Parlet and myself, we’ve done some historical things that the team really should have done themselves. But most of those kids at the team office can’t tell a hockey puck from a stale bagel.
If you can do these two photos for us we’ll of course give you full credit.”
Terry also sent along two additional photos he’d like colorized. Now, I could do the colorizations myself, but since a number of us are really getting into this hobby, I asked Terry if he minded if I asked for reader submissions as well. He heartily agreed.
So, here’s today’s challenge. Let’s see how many of you want to take a shot at the following photos, and not only will I post them here but you’ll also be helping out Terry Proctor (and I don’t need to tell you how great he’s been to the UW community). Plus, you’ll get your “name in lights” as it were over at the Rochester Americans Booster Club. OK? OK!
Now, these photos are a bit smaller than we’re used to working with, but I’m sure we can produce some outstanding results for Terry.
Our first photo is Stan Smrke, whom Terry describes as follows:
Upper Sweater Shoulders: Royal Blue
Body and Sleeve stripes: Red
Team Name “AMERICANS”: Royal Blue w/Red outline
Sleeve Numbers: Solid Royal Blue
Pants: Royal Blue w/White-Red-White Stripes
Hockey Socks: Red w/White and Royal Blue Stripes (Chicago-style)
Gloves: Leather Light Brown
Stick: Wood Color
Face: Flesh Color w/Light Brown Hair
Next up is Mike Nykoluk, and the photo is described thusly:
Upper shoulders: Royal Blue
Body & Sleeve Stripes: Red
Large “R” on front: Red w/ White outline
“AMERICANS” on front: Royal w/Red outline
“R” in sleeve crest: Royal Blue
Pants: Royal Blue w/White-Red-White stripes
Socks: Red w/White-Royal Blue-White (Montreal style)
Gloves: Brown Leather
Face & Hair: Flesh w/Dark Brown hair
Finally we have Tommy Williams, who is wearing a similar uniform to Mike Nykoluk. Terry says, “This pic of Tommy Williams is a little better than the Nykolouk shot. Tommy had red hair. His nickname was “Red.” Sorry for the confusion. Your efforts will help us greatly.”
OK, Uni Watchers. I apologize for the length of this section, but I wanted to have the contributors explain their techniques and the second part about helping Terry out is real important. So, everyone,
get your crayons out fire up the Photoshop/GIMP and let’s see if we can’t do these photos some justice. You can do one, two or all three. I’ll post all the responses next week, and I’m sure Terry will be very proud of your efforts.
Catching up with the tweaks, but they keep coming in (which is good), so lots to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
You guys have been pretty great keeping to the ~50 word limit per team tweak, and it’s greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Now, on to today’s tweaks:
Starting off the show is James Powel, who has a new look for the LA Kings:
Dear Mr. Hecken,
First of all I love the blog and have been a long time reader and this is my first time tweaking. Anyway as a LA Kings fan I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to uniform design but as I saw the renderings of what my Kings would wear Opening Night in Vancouver I was excited and it looked better than I thought on TV. So I wondered if the team made that the home sweater what would the road version look like? The obvious choice would be a “gold” version but that did not look good when they tried it the first time. So then I thought, what about a white version? That’s what I created. Tell me what you think and thanks for your time.
Next up is Kevin Callahan with a Washington Wizards concept:
A tweak of the Washington Wizards uniforms in to red, white and blue. The trick was to ride the line between retro and something that might actually be used today. While normally I would play on a fifties/sixties NBA look, this one lands squarely in the seventies. Enjoy!
And finally we have Joseph Kotwick, who has a new home & road for the Detroit Lions:
Us Leo’s fans had to go through a ‘re-brand’ last year. New script with the same un-originiality.
Here’s a fresh take on a classic look/logo.
Joe from Detroit
Thus endeth the Tweaks, Concepts & Revisions for today. Check back tomorrow for more.
That’s all for today. Don’t forget, Texas Tech and Utah will both be sporting the “camo blackout” unis today. Isn’t that special. Here’s what the jerseys will look like. No comment. But, unlike those wonderful MLB S&S caps and the adidas 9/11 gear, “The jerseys will be auctioned off by the teams after the game,” and according to Under Armour, “100 percent of the proceeds of the jersey auctions will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.” Hmmmm.
No Pro Combat unis today, but there will be one team wearing them next weekend. As far as anything else out of the ordinary, you’ll just have to watch the games to see.
Have a great Saturday, everyone.
As a Nats fan, after watching a Nats game, I often want to knock over a Walgreen’s. But that sort of pointless violence is best left to Phillies fans. — Scott Rogers