Old 12-08-2007, 01:12 AM   #1
John Ryan
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Default CSX 2008 Calendar: How NOT to Photoshop

A friend at CSX gave me a copy of the company's 2008 calendar. I leafed through and was pleasantly surprised to see that the calendar was comprised entirely of photos posted on railpictures.net. Congratulations are due for the photographers whose work was featured in this publication.

However, it didn't take long to notice that CSX had performed some sort of botched abortion on more than half of the photos. In all cases, the photoshopping involved "repainting" locomotives into the newest CSX paint scheme. Working in marketing and communications myself, I know the importance of "corporate branding," but I found this to be a bit on the extreme side. In cases where there was significant alteration to the calendar images, I've scanned and posted the calendar version. Take a look for yourselves:


January
Image © Mike Schaller
PhotoID: 134034
Photograph © Mike Schaller


February
Image © Trainmasterrob
PhotoID: 181050
Photograph © Trainmasterrob


March
Image © Dave Kerr
PhotoID: 138889
Photograph © Dave Kerr



April
Image © Ross M.
PhotoID: 148433
Photograph © Ross M.



May
Image © Arthur James
PhotoID: 143202
Photograph © Arthur James


June
Image © Gary Knapp
PhotoID: 158408
Photograph © Gary Knapp


July
Image © Brian Wiggins
PhotoID: 190451
Photograph © Brian Wiggins


August
Image © George W. Hamlin
PhotoID: 192500
Photograph © George W. Hamlin


Last edited by John Ryan; 12-08-2007 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:13 AM   #2
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September
Image © Thomas Mik
PhotoID: 192352
Photograph © Thomas Mik



October
Image © Robert Benkovitz
PhotoID: 94785
Photograph © Robert Benkovitz



November
Image © David B Davies
PhotoID: 127608
Photograph © David B Davies



December
Image © Gary Knapp
PhotoID: 179951
Photograph © Gary Knapp



How many "issues" can you spot? What about the SD70 "B Unit"? I'd be especially interested in hearing from the photographers, and what they think about these "photo illustrations."

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Old 12-08-2007, 01:24 AM   #3
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That's plain tacky! For starters, notice how the YN2 slant off the nose is still there when the engine gets a PS "paint" job?


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Old 12-08-2007, 01:24 AM   #4
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That's amazing! In a bad way.

Did they actually leave February in YN2 or did you just not include that one?

Also, please fix the may RP link, looks like a missing bracket at the end.

PS: that "B" unit is just wild!
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:26 AM   #5
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Well, at least they obtained permissions to use the photos, right?

Still pretty amusing... I'd be laughing all the way to the bank, if any of those shots were mine.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:28 AM   #6
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Closer look. On Nov. they have both engines numbered 5275. Besides the at least two months the YN2 slant was left on the YN3 "repaint" and the numbering fiasco, my monitor won't let me see any more blunders. I know it's just a calendar, but this speaks volumes about CSX.


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Old 12-08-2007, 01:28 AM   #7
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Note the 5th comment left on the RP version of the December shot!
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Closer look. On Nov. they have both engines numbered 5275.
Also, they put only the 5275 body from the first engine on the chassis/trucks of the second - the fuel tank was not revised so the two 5275s have different tanks and trucks.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:37 AM   #9
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My favorite is August...ever see a GEVO that short before? And with the same number as a longer one? Didn't think so!
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:38 AM   #10
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Here's one of my favorite CSX shots I've taken. Can you imagine the headache it would have caused someone in Jacksonville? First, the motive power is a few paint schemes behind YN3. Secondly, there's not a GEVO or a &)MAC variation in the lash up.

But to me, this is real railroading.

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Old 12-08-2007, 01:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Also, they put only the 5275 body from the first engine on the chassis/trucks of the second - the fuel tank was not revised so the two 5275s have different tanks and trucks.
That's great! This is wonderful comedy!


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Old 12-08-2007, 01:41 AM   #12
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I want a model of the SD70MAC B-unit!
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Railfan Ohio
I want a model of the SD70MAC B-unit!
You'd expect that from BNSF maybe, but not CSX!




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Old 12-08-2007, 01:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Also, they put only the 5275 body from the first engine on the chassis/trucks of the second - the fuel tank was not revised so the two 5275s have different tanks and trucks.
Yeah, and look how distorted the second one is!

Edit: Also notice how they removed the smoke in Dave Kerr's shot.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:58 AM   #15
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The August shot has both locomotives with the same roadnumber and the September shot is also a mess. There are some very basic issues with perspective here - note how the third and fifth locomotives look all humped up and the poor fourth locomotive looks squished. I should add that there is so much color noise in the December shot that it looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Personally, as a photographer, I'd be a little jolted to sell a photo and have it come back looking like some of these. Even though the photos in the calendar went uncredited, I still recognized some of them immediately. Yes, it's money in the bank, but it's also recognizable work.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:10 AM   #16
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Another one no ones has pointed out yet, on Oct they just copy and pasted the lead engine, you can easily see the same shadows and reflections on both units.

I can understand if they were doing this for a simple ad in the Wall Street Journal or for a spot on TV were the target is the unknowing consumer who is just going to see it for a second, but this product is going out to those who work around trains all day and who will be looking at it at least 30 times a month.

Very disappointing, with the exception of the first one, those all would have been 'throw 'em back' photoshop jobs for me.

If it was that important to them, why not just pick all YN2 GEVO shots? God knows there are enough out there.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:37 AM   #17
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Lord, those are terrible. Jeez. It boggles the mind. Who are the PR people who did this? It looks like they did it in 15 minutes.
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:17 AM   #18
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well..., at least they finally painted a few of their engines!
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:39 AM   #19
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There was a rather spirited discussion of this very topic over on TrainOrders.

They contacted me about one of my photos last summer and I agreed to sell the one-time use of the photo. So they faxed the contract to me for signature I read it, saw the clause that stated "Retouching allowed if needed".

Needless to say I didn't like the sounds of it, when I called back to inquire as to the nature of "retouching" the guy told me that it was just for "printing purposes". So I went ahead and sold the photo to them, about 2 weeks later, a different guy calls asking if I have any other photos from that location where all the units are in matching paintschemes, which I didn't. So he said that he could "photoshop it right".

He unwittingly did me a favor by calling, though I'm pretty sure it wasn't his intention. I told him that I was exercising my right to void the contract and had decided not to sell the photo to them. This of course set off all sorts of fireworks, and 20 minutes of bickering later, I had told them to expect a full refund of their money which they received and cashed the following week.

I was very surprised when they called again this year to ask about this other photo from Hagerstown, but I respectfully told them to go pound salt. Guess they don't keep track of who they contact in previous years.

No skin off my back. . .
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:39 AM   #20
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Hey, at least they didn't touch any of the rolling stock.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
I can understand if they were doing this for a simple ad in the Wall Street Journal or for a spot on TV were the target is the unknowing consumer who is just going to see it for a second, but this product is going out to those who work around trains all day and who will be looking at it at least 30 times a month.
This is what I was thinking. What CSX did would almost be like taking photos of random football players and then Photoshopping in the various NFL team logos and uniforms and passing it off as real.

This is bad. I cannot believe that:
a) someone thought this was a good idea
b) they got other people to agree with it
c) it got approved and made
d) no one's going to get fired because of this

Wow.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:07 PM   #22
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Despite all the negative critiques in this thread, I think these are some damn good photoshop jobs. I'm pretty decent with photoshop, but most of these images are beyond my abilities.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:38 PM   #23
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Jim;

Huh? Good photoshopping would be where you couldn't tell it was photoshopped or at the least the photoshopping was so good you didn't care. We all knew that Forrest Gump didn't meet JFK, but the special effects worked really well. But the photoshopping here is just bad. I don't know a lot of the ins and outs of photoshopping and I wouldn't try some of what they did. But you would think a national company with deep pockets could hire someone who was at least decent at what they did.

Oh, wait. You were being sarcastic! Never mind. It's still early.




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Old 12-08-2007, 02:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Despite all the negative critiques in this thread, I think these are some damn good photoshop jobs. I'm pretty decent with photoshop, but most of these images are beyond my abilities.
Sorry Jim, but this time I think you're crazy or just being sarcastic, which I hope it's the latter.

That is CRAP photoshop at best, plain and simple. My kid sister could have done better than this and she'd never even used the program. (Now I'm being sarcastic.)

This was clearly a rush, hack & slash job, and whoever allowed this to go to publishing at CSX should be FIRED with utmost expediency. But then again, when you think CSX Quality, this is about par for the course.
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:26 PM   #25
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Nope. The coloring and perspective of the lettering is a damn good job on a couple of them, specifically March and September. Like I said, it exceeds my ability. If I could "fake" a locomotive that well, I wouldn't think it's anything special.

I didn't mean to intend they ALL looked great...obviously the shortened Gevo is pretty bogus, as well as the two matched numbers...oh, and the reflection from the yellow locomotive on the water in the October shot. But come on, look at September...GREAT job with the coloring and perspective.

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