How to: Gypsy Queen

Alright Photoshop warriors, it’s tutorial time. A couple pre-requisites for this one. PS CS4 and above required for this one. I believe it was CS4 that added some of the HDR options we’ll be using. I’m using CS6, but 4 and 5 should be more than sufficient. Also, right off the bat, you’re going to need a really large source file. If you’re looking to use a 200k screen grab of your favorite player, you’re going to have a bad time, but more on this in a minute.

Alright, let’s outline what we’re trying to do: We’re trying to recreate the photo effect used on Topps Gypsy Queen baseball cards. I would describe this effect as High Dynamic Range coupled with copious amounts of grain. It’s just surreal enough to have an almost painterly look to it.


Custom Gypsy Queens

Today I have a teaser. I wanted to duplicate the HDR-ish effect of Gypsy Queen card photos and I think I came pretty close. Here’s a preview of the effect, and a side-by-side comparison with an actual real card. Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to actually do it.


Buying in Bulk

My preferred (but notably less “fun”) way of buying baseball cards is in team sets. That’s my primary focus and, I won’t lie, sellers who bust and sell sets make my life so much easier. Having the ability to buy a $5 team set and avoid wasting $20 on a blaster of cards I don’t need is an awesome thing. Plus there are some things I wouldn’t normally be able to buy, like hobby only team sets, because I don’t bust boxes of most things.


Finishing Sets

Man does this feel good. I love crossing stuff off the checklist. Be it huge dents, or desperately needed singles, completing things just feels awesome. I hit up SportLots for the very first time and my experience was very positive.


Feeling Blue

I have a saved search for the phrase “Red Sox Refractor” and randomly I’ll check it for good deals. Mostly it’s stuff I already have, or stuff that’s /5 and way to expensive. The other day however there was a couple of lots of Bowman Chrome and I picked a few up with combined shipping. Chase the rainbow… or catch the wave?


Random Pickups

I don’t really have a theme for any of these, they were just random pickups I’ve forgotten to scan until now. Mostly those “oh, look, it’s at $0.99 and ends in 10 minutes” sorts of things.


Blog Changes

In case you haven’t noticed, or are reading this through a RSS feed reader, the blog got a little update today. There were a bunch of reasons why, but primarily for security. The theme I had been using was full of security holes and old depreciated plugins. I had dodged a couple previous bullets with people trying to hack in but this time I wasn’t so lucky. Someone exploited a PHP hole and injected some evilness into one of my plugins. My host caught it nearly immediately, but in the 3 minutes it was there the person turned off notifications (so I would get emails about new users), registered themselves as an admin, and injected code into just about a half dozen PHP files. I spent most of today cleaning up the mess.

The real kicker is that my passwords are strong, unique, and 30+ characters. My passwords are all different and never reused. WordPress itself was completely up to date, as were the major of the plugins I use. It was the old theme that let them in. They exploited the only hole they could find. Let that be a lesson, nothing is 100%. I installed a couple additional plugins as well, just to help things a long. A security suite that actively bans IP ranges with failed login attempts, as well as one for traffic monitoring and a service for cloud backups.

That leads us to the theme, which is new. Among other things, it allows for some newer bells and whistles. The Cards page now has dropdowns for the sections and the About page has a little CSS trickery, to name a few. I’ll be messing with it more over time.

That’s all for now.

Hockey Hits

I’ve been on a bit of a hockey kick lately. Not that I’m ever “off” hockey, as a fan I’m always following my team, but it’s not a big part of my collecting habits. For one, hockey cards seem under-produced in general, which leads to higher prices. I’d rather throw $3 at a baseball relic/auto than $15 for a hockey one. I honestly don’t know how Greg does it. On the other hand, these two I picked up last week were so awesome I couldn’t resist.