This posts is an offshoot on the discussion that jswakos started at "A Priceless Pursuit". The question is: Are painted sets really painted?
*This is just my interpretation of the cards, not necessarily truth.
Subject 1: Allen and Ginter
2009 Allen and Ginter base cards are not in fact painted. They are photos that are converted into a sketch looking form on the computer, which are then placed in front of a watercolor "wash" that was scanned. A "wash" is loose background coloring in a watercolor painting. I believe that these are actually painted because I don't know of a computer program than can create a digital wash well (Not to mention that it would have taken a painter about 5 minutes to create the wash for this card.). Once the wash is painted, it is scanned and placed behind the digitally altered photo of the player.
However, these Allen and Ginter insert sets are definitely real paintings.
Subject 2: Goodwin and Champions
These cards are not actually painted. Every time I look at them I have a very tough time deciding whether they are faked or are real. In my mind there are several clues that indicate they are faked. 1. On some cards the "brush strokieness" resembles a watercolor painting, but the color saturation is much more similar to an oil painting. 2. Each card seems to have a unique quirk that would not exist in an actual painting. Let's take #158 David Purcey as an example of this. On his right cheek (our left) the shadow does not flow from light to dark in a smooth manner, nor does it transition in a step-like gradation. Instead, there is a light tone, a dark tone, and a middle zone where there is a color of medium darkness in which the are tiny patches of the dark tone thrown in. A painter would not have inserted these tiny little patches of darkness in the transitioning shadow, but a computer could have. Sorry I couldn't get a photo of the David Purcey card.
Subject 3: Upper Deck Masterpieces.
Now this are what a painted set looks like! The cover of the Hobby box advertises "an entire base set of exclusive artist paintings". I'm sure they would have been sued by now for false advertising if they were lying. Also, most cards even have an artist signature on them. The 5x8 box loaders provide the best evidence that these are actual paintings. The set is done in watercolor, and there are clearly watercolor brush strokes visible in this card. The cloud of dust at his feet would have been created by using a sponge to blot the painting before the watercolor dried, thus soking up some of the color and creating a faded look.
I hope this was helpful. If anyone has any further insight, don't hesitate to comment.