Faux Topps football card of Tremaine Mack from the Cincinnati Bengals
Topps football card of James Brooks of the Cincinnati Bengals
Like every other kid of the 1980s a big part of my childhood from the ages of 6-12 was dedicated toward the collection of sports cards, and like a lot of other things these days, if you didn't experience it firsthand, then I find it very challenging trying to convey to you the firsthand experience of what it was really like. 
Although sports like baseball and football are just as popular (and perhaps even more popular) today as they were back when I was 8, collecting sports cards was a cultural phenomenon that has essentially disappeared. Something that formerly represented a shared experience by all young American boys in this country who were born in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s is now gone with the wind. It really does sound inconceivable to someone like myself, but I would find it surprising if any guy under the age of 30 even collected sports cards, due to the sheer fact that if I wanted to buy a pack of cards in person, I have no idea where I would go to buy them since all the card shops have been gone for quite sometime now. Of course, there is online shopping but then it becomes a "chicken and the egg conundrum," that is, who would be going online to buy something they never even knew existed because they've never seen it on facebook — because if it's not on facebook, then it doesn't exist, right? 
Hopefully, I'm just out of the loop and card trading has been continuing as an underground phenomenon happening in dark alleys and secret clubhouses all across America just bidding its time to take back its rightful place as integral component of American sports culture. Until then I'll just have to tap into my river of nostalgic memories on the subject.
Therefore, in an effort to graft the joy of some of my childhood hobbies onto my adult ones, I set out to recreate a vintage-looking sports card for my next Photoshop project. For the subject I went with Tremain Mack, a clutch former University of Miami and Cincinatti Bengals safety who I had just recently rewatched on youtube blocking a punt against West Virginia with like 30s left to win the game. So the first step was to get Tremain's image onto the old card, which was relatively straightforward and accomplished via layer mask. However, the key to making the new card seem vintage, and what would represent the lion's share of my work, was recapturing the "low definition" look of the old card, and that was a little more complicated. I started with giving the new image some texture and a somewhat grainy look, which was introduced by by adding a fill layer above the image that had been adjusted with noise and the "screen" blend mode with a reduced opacity. Additionally, I also feathered the edges of the new image in "select and mask" mode, as having sharp edges looked out of place on a "vintage" card. For the text, I had to go a step further by adding not only noise by a gaussian blur via added smart filters. 
I really like the way this project came out, as I feel that I was very successful in recapturing that "vintage sports card" look through a few different Photoshop tools that I really was not familiar with prior to constructing this image, so I definitely feel that I "leveled-up" my Photoshop skills working on this one.
PS - I called this one "TOPPS OF THE LINE" as a homage to TOPPS sports cards, who would represent the Ford Motor Company or Wrigley's gum of sports cards when I was young, i.e., an iconic brand synonymous with an industry.     

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