17 03 2012

Prepare yourself for a pretty long and visual post, July!ers. Haha. That was funny to me … I got to work today knowing that there were rumors swirling around that Peyton Manning, QB legend, was being courted by YOUR San Francisco 49ers. Duh! I mean really, did S.F brass really want us to believe they WEREN’T looking at him? Anyway, I get to work and with the rain, there wasn’t going to be too much in terms of sports action. As such, we concentrated our efforts on finding some good, front page, artwork. I told Nathan, sports editor, I had seen this (and next to it is something along the same vein that I saw earlier this week:


Randy Moss belongs to the man behind The City Graphix who posted it on his Facebook wall earlier this week. And Peyton, I think I saw that credited to the Huffington Post (gag). Anyways, I wanted the one with Peyton, send a message out and didn’t hear back as the clock kept moving along and we figured out what we were going to have as our Sports art. My editor then said, ‘well, you can put something like that together, can’t you?’ Hmmm. When I saw the Randy Moss on Facebook the other day, I wondered how I would go about doing something like if I had to. And, as it’s been the case with Peyton Manning, a lot of places have already gone ahead and put him in different uniforms. Just a quick search on Google gets you some:

I want to say the top ones are ESPN’s doing. And the bottom ones are just random ones I’ve found online. Let me tell you something people, GIVING A PLAYER A DIFFERENT UNIFORM IS NOT EASY. Especially if you want to make it look legit. Whoever ESPN hired to do the initial mock-ups deserves a raise. Just check out the difference between those and the Redskins’ one on the lower left. Night and day. And they made it look seamless.

Anyways, I had no clue where to begin or what would be the simplest, fastest, most effective way because, keep me mind, I still have to write stories. I went online, found a large picture of Peyton throwing the ball and went to work. Again, not easy. I used a couple of Alex Smith (I still want you on my team, Man!) photos to work off of (helmet, stance, facemask, all of that played a factor). Let’s take you through the process visually. First, the Peyton photo and the subsequent Alex Smith photos (and I’m sorry to whoever took these, but I didn’t pull your name off the internet to give you proper credit):


The first Alex Smith shot is the one I used for the helmet switch. I cut it out, tilted it a bit to make the angle fit a bit better and played with the selection a bit. I got really lucky that when I APPLE+X-ed I got a pretty decent cut that got me excited to keep working. Had that failed, I’m afraid there wouldn’t have been enough time to pull something like this off. If I was a full-time designer, no sweat. But I started plugging away at this with time ticking and a couple of stories still waiting to be written (I am a writer, first). Here’s how the rest of the process went:

Very raw. No additional filters here. If you look closely, you’ll still see the red patches I used to cover up the lines on the Colts jersey (which are very much NOT a part of the 49ers uniform). I’m trying to remember how I made those pants gold and I can’t exactly tell you. The helmet, oh the helmet, that was a bitch.  That is exactly why I’m in such envy of the ones ESPN put together, because they look so seamless. I wish I could pick that person’s brain. Anyways, I took this into Illustrator and then back into Photoshop:

I made the red darker with the levels and added a bit of surface blur on the top layer that I created, which sits on a Live Trace off of Illustrator. The trick with these filters is always about time. When you’re designing something quick, you want to make it as believable as possible. Were there more time, there is some definite touching up that can and should be done. But when you want something quickie-style, filters are your friend. Even with that, the back shoulder isn’t my favorite. I can still tell the discrepancy in color. But, anyways, what’s done is done. Now to add the headline:

It fit perfectly on the page, which thank god was in color because if it wasn’t I would have cried since it took me a bunch of time to get this to look remotely believable. Here’s how the page turned out with the rest of the copy:

Lesson here is: Man, I still have a ton ton ton to learn. But given the time alloted, and the fact that right after this I knocked out a pair of stories, I was quite pleased with the end result. Someone get me a number to that ESPN designer. What a freakin’ sav.

Ah yes, Peyton. Dude, S.F is cool, Bro. Come.




2 responses

3 04 2012
Brian Konnick

I’m actually the person who did the mock-ups of Manning in those 6 different uniforms. I’m not an ESPN employee, but I wouldn’t mind doing this on a freelance basis. Here is the link to my picturepush account for examples of many other mock-ups that I’ve made.

4 04 2012

You got mad skills! I’ll put a link up to your picture push account just in case someone stumbles on this. Great work. I’ll keep you in mind if my newspaper needs freelance work.

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