Pool ball collecting.

bfriesth

Bolder
Silver Member
I seem to remember RC or Mr K commenting on how after 15 sets collected you have to start writing stuff down. I just obtained my 16th set....the 3D number set that I only found because I saw them on this thread. I guess I now have to get a notepad and a sharp pencil.
 

bfriesth

Bolder
Silver Member
Manufacturer?

I picked up this first set and was a little disappointed in that the solids are so white you mistake them for the cue ball. I wonder if the second set with the more colorful solids might be a bit more fun playing them with the lights out. Have you tried both sets?

For documentation purposes does anyone know the manufacturer of these Glow-in-the-dark and the 3D number sets?
 

Rubik's Cube

Pool ball collector.
Silver Member
Good evening, Mr B. :)

Congratulations on joining the ranks of our crazy collecting club, dear chap. I salute your plans to document as much detailed information as possible. Such a diligent strategy will definitely stand you in good stead as the collection grows.

I believe I can help you with the manufacturer of the two sets mentioned, sir: Lincos Sports of Xiamen in south east China.

Best wishes,
RC.
 

poolhustler

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Decided to not get into pool ball collecting, the direction in which I was heading. Knives consume too much of my time and money :)

So I sold my really nice / almost new set of Bi-Cent's and got $250 for them.
 

K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I seem to remember RC or Mr K commenting on how after 15 sets collected you have to start writing stuff down. I just obtained my 16th set....the 3D number set that I only found because I saw them on this thread. I guess I now have to get a notepad and a sharp pencil.


Mr. bfriesth - I see you are acquiring a fine collection of both unique and treasured ball sets, with 16 being well within the manageable level. However, I’d recommend you abandon the celluloid computer path and go by way of spreadsheet....after you fill your prescription for a neat made-up drug I’ll call Fanaticol - a chewable gummy that looks like an of course - a placebo I tell my wife will help with the “collector bug” AND give me extra B12. Seems to calm her more than me

In all seriousness though, I’ll share a screenshot here of the spreadsheet headings I use to keep my treasures arranged for easy reference - if only to help with ideas for you or any other collector that may be viewing this post. I’ll also be sending out an email to you shortly, sir, about future projects on the drawing board for a few of us gathered phenolic fanatics.


59b64150f74693165d1185671b917cf4.jpg




Good evening, Mr B. :)

Congratulations on joining the ranks of our crazy collecting club, dear chap. I salute your plans to document as much detailed information as possible. Such a diligent strategy will definitely stand you in good stead as the collection grows.

I believe I can help you with the manufacturer of the two sets mentioned, sir: Lincos Sports of Xiamen in south east China.

Best wishes,
RC.


Great research there, RC! I believe you are correct with your answer for Mr. B’s mysterious balls (and those of us that have the same sets). Thank you for your continued selfless sharing and contributions, sir!

And....something else right up your neighborhood alleyway, RC....I’ve secured another addition for my Spirits & Beer category that I’m certain you’ll appreciate and share a long-distance toast with me and your favorite dram in a fine Glencairn glass. I’ll endeavor to have those out of the Polishing & Perfecting Lab this weekend

Cheers, everyone!

~ K.
 
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K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Decided to not get into pool ball collecting, the direction in which I was heading. Knives consume too much of my time and money :)



So I sold my really nice / almost new set of Bi-Cent's and got $250 for them.



Darn it, poolhustler - I’m sorry to see you venture off the ball collecting trail and dawdle in other fine interests. We hope you’ll hang around and at least see what the other crazies are up to here in the PBC thread and perhaps you can share any discovered phenolic gems that you may uncover whilst digging for new knives


~ K.
 

K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Apologies for bringing up this old post but these looks like 19th century pool balls. Although the photo is a bit blurry they look very good for their age.



No apologies needed, Game Hunter - we love being reminded of what’s out there worth pursuing - and those look to be fine examples of Hyatt clays in numbered red livery - a personal favorite ball color that ranks up there in my Top 3 ball designs I’ll have made one day ..... except I’ll have them numbered from 1 to 75 for an amazing array of games yet to be created

Thank for posting them up again, sir!

~ K.
 

bfriesth

Bolder
Silver Member
Mr. bfriesth - I see you are acquiring a fine collection of both unique and treasured ball sets, with 16 being well within the manageable level. However, I’d recommend you abandon the celluloid computer path and go by way of spreadsheet....after you fill your prescription for a neat made-up drug I’ll call Fanaticol - a chewable gummy that looks like an of course - a placebo I tell my wife will help with the “collector bug” AND give me extra B12. Seems to calm her more than me

In all seriousness though, I’ll share a screenshot here of the spreadsheet headings I use to keep my treasures arranged for easy reference - if only to help with ideas for you or any other collector that may be viewing this post. I’ll also be sending out an email to you shortly, sir, about future projects on the drawing board for a few of us gathered phenolic fanatics.


59b64150f74693165d1185671b917cf4.jpg







Great research there, RC! I believe you are correct with your answer for Mr. B’s mysterious balls (and those of us that have the same sets). Thank you for your continued selfless sharing and contributions, sir!

And....something else right up your neighborhood alleyway, RC....I’ve secured another addition for my Spirits & Beer category that I’m certain you’ll appreciate and share a long-distance toast with me and your favorite dram in a fine Glencairn glass. I’ll endeavor to have those out of the Polishing & Perfecting Lab this weekend

Cheers, everyone!

~ K.

Thanks K and RC. I have added the Manufacturer and updated my spreadsheet with K2s suggested headings. I'm a real professional collector now.

Photos of my last two additions.
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IMG_5415.jpg
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IMG_5411.jpg
 

K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Nice pics, sir! I see evidence of your photo talents as well with perspectives that really show off the unique ball designs - well done.

I’ll post up one of my Top 10 lists regarding photo tips for crazy collectors soon that I have picked up from experts along the way and will share with those interested.

~ K.
 

K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
69f61f8f734cd944b9003d3b33a7e91a.jpg


Here is another Top 10 list for PBC thread readers that may find something useful when photographing the tricky subject matter of pool ball collections. The following tips I’ve put together from years of experimenting and collecting suggestions from pro photographers - and by all means, this isn’t an all-inclusive list nor every trick in the proverbial book, so if readers of this thread can find something useful amongst the 10 items below, your photos of billiard balls will be even better than they already are

Here goes:

10. Use whatever camera device you have available. One you’re comfortable with. iPhones and iPads work great. Use that DSLR if you have it handy and know how to use it as well as you do that smartphone.

9. Clean AND polish the ball set you want to capture before the photo shoot. Take a few extra minutes and do them one at a time with the “best techniques” and products recommended previously in post #1150 dated 5/6/19. Place a bit more emphasis on the cue ball since it will be the most challenging to get all chalk marks removed.

8. Use a standard black ball tray or black background photo board if possible to keep things consistent and provide best contrast with the balls. Trays will also give you near-perfect ball spacing that allows neighboring ball reflections. Avoid using the ball box they came in.

7. Don’t use a flash of any kind. Reflected, indirect lighting always works best.

6. With the balls on the tray, angle that tray slightly so the overhead lighting is not projecting straight down at 90° to the balls creating unwanted reflections. Elevate the far edge of the tray at least 20° from horizontal and then keep your device parallel to that new angle so everything is square.

5. Avoid any special effects, HDR or editing of any kind that changes the ball coloring in any way - you want to showcase the balls as close to their original characteristics as possible.

4. Make slight but noticeable corrections for the barrel lens distortion. Using smartphones (and most camera lenses) to take photos of your ball set, you will most likely see results that look like this typical “before” photo:

7fe121dc56ccd872c229111227a4ff1b.jpg


It’s worth noting here that every ball was perfectly centered in the tray as they would appear if you pulled them off of your shelf to play (before arranging them in any way). See how the balls appear to be out of round and not centered with the lens after taking the photo? It’s somewhat of a shock to see them all out of position and look like they were tossed onto the tray without care.

Without using expensive lenses or photo editing software, you can use a simple trick while looking at the screen image on your device before snapping the pic. All you need to do is rotate each ball slightly, getting the numbers centered within the ball edges as close to perfect as possible - to ALLOW for the expected lens distortion. One at a time of course. Here is the same ball set moments later using this tip and it’s “after” photo:

40b342585131fefc2637682c4a1cded5.jpg


3. Use a tripod. This way, you’ll be able to re-create the same setup parameters such as distance from the balls, angles, lighting and so on for each ball set you acquire over time.

2. Verify the settings on your device are set to capture the highest quality possible with what you have. Go to SETTINGS and scroll down until you see Camera and see what options you have. For (most) social media or personal device photography, the “High Efficiency” camera capture will give nearly the same quality as using the “Most Compatible” setting while saving a ton of storage space.

1. Don’t be afraid to use the Markup feature right on your smartphone device (preferably iPad) with your photos while Editing them (cropping, etc). Don’t change the colors or effects - but using the various marker sizes and pen colors can rid a photo of unwanted glare or edging that cropping and setup can not. Experiment. You can always revert to your original or simply duplicate the photo and leave the original untouched. Oh - use an Apple Pencil if your device allows.

If there are any pro photographers reading this PBC thread, please feel free to chime in and add any other pointers or corrections that I may have erred on.

Here’s to the best pics possible


~K.
 
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poolhustler

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Darn it, poolhustler - I’m sorry to see you venture off the ball collecting trail and dawdle in other fine interests. We hope you’ll hang around and at least see what the other crazies are up to here in the PBC thread and perhaps you can share any discovered phenolic gems that you may uncover whilst digging for new knives


~ K.

Absolutely … love seeing what people dig up!
 

Rubik's Cube

Pool ball collector.
Silver Member
Good evening, everyone. :)

That really is a great TOP 10 photographic tips and tricks, Mr K. Some sound so simple, but I’d wager a pound to a penny that most would not have considered half of them without your words of wisdom.

As you know, dear chap, we have privately discussed at length many of the problems mentioned in your list, most notably the lens distortion issues. Looking at your beautiful photographs above, sir, a crazy notion suddenly popped into my head. The plastic tray upon which you place your pool balls for photographing is obviously completely flat. There will exist, however, a certain (very slightly concave) shape which would exactly counteract the barrel lens problem so that the balls not only all appear accurately centered, but also perfectly round.

How one could determine the precise measurements of this shallow, bowl-shaped tray (and then actually make one) is, alas, probably beyond my capabilities, but I am sure it is possible in theory. Perhaps a skilled mathematician or physicist might offer some kind advice as to the necessary calculations? With detailed instructions I’m thinking Mark would then be your man to fashion such a unique piece.

Best wishes,
RC.
 
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Rubik's Cube

Pool ball collector.
Silver Member
My own strategy in overcoming the lens distortion problems highlighted in Mr K’s list is rather time consuming to say the least.

The sixteen balls featured on each of my insert card samples (posts 1133 and 1159) were arranged on the cloth four by four exactly as shown. I then fashioned a moveable rig which allowed me to capture sixteen individual photographs, each one taken from directly above the pool ball in question so it stays centred, perfectly round and still retains its correct shadowing and reflections. Imported to the computer each of these sixteen separate ball images are then rearranged in their original formation once more.

What could be easier? :)
 

Meucciplayer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thank you for keeping so much information within this thread, K2Kraze and Rubik's.

One way to counter distortion is taking a "long" lens, like a 180mm or more. The problem being there to set up the pool balls so that you can still "shoot straight" with the camera. The angle of the tray (tilt) on the table would have to be quite a bit larger, most probably. Unless you can go really high up. I have not tried this with pool balls but it might be an idea ...
 

Rubik's Cube

Pool ball collector.
Silver Member
Excellent, Mr M. :)

I did imagine a very high perspective (using a zoom lens) might prove successful. Alas, my present equipment is a tad old fashioned. :)

Many thanks again for your valued input, sir.

Best wishes,
RC.
 

K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Thank you for keeping so much information within this thread, K2Kraze and Rubik's.

One way to counter distortion is taking a "long" lens, like a 180mm or more. The problem being there to set up the pool balls so that you can still "shoot straight" with the camera. The angle of the tray (tilt) on the table would have to be quite a bit larger, most probably. Unless you can go really high up. I have not tried this with pool balls but it might be an idea ...



Hello, Meucciplayer -

Thank you for the suggestions, sir .... precisely one of the many I left out of the Top 10 so I could present and focus on what most folks have access to and likely use these days

Your approach and suggestion using a telephoto/zoom lens is a project currently underway using my Nikon D5600 and a bevy of the best equip. It’s been a work in progress to create not only the best results but a perfectly repeatable process - studio quality. The perspective I’m able to shoot from is approx 12’ up to 16’ - so I’ll see what results I can capture.

The biggest challenge, I’m afraid, is starting from scratch with the entire Collection. Long overdue, I’m afraid.

Passion and persistence (should) prevail

~ K.
 
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K2Kraze

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Good evening, everyone. :)

How one could determine the precise measurements of this shallow, bowl-shaped tray (and then actually make one) is, alas, probably beyond my capabilities, but I am sure it is possible in theory. Perhaps a skilled mathematician or physicist might offer some kind advice as to the necessary calculations? With detailed instructions I’m thinking Mark would then be your man to fashion such a unique piece.

Best wishes,
RC.


I had to chuckle at even the thought of such a contraption - and of course it’s possible Even if by simple trial and error. The real challenge THEN would be how in the world one would arrange the balls upon a concave surface in relation to what reference plane! I’m reaching for Advil just typing that out

Of course a special perspective shifting lens would at least help the cause (to the tune of $3500+ for entry level) plus expert tricks and manipulation in photoshop. These hurdles and numerous challenges are all outside the scope of most hobbyists, so the ultimate trick will be to find a very, very, very good alternative - one that is easily duplicatable.

Lens. Distance. Settings. Equipment. Measurements. Techniques. Lighting. That’s all it is. Small, round, highly reflective balls.

Simple, right.

91ba61e828d00fea1f1226def69f4fe2.jpg


I have another idea....

~ K.
 
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Rubik's Cube

Pool ball collector.
Silver Member
Hello, Mr K. :)

I’ve been giving that crazy idea some more thought, sir.

Imagine starting with a square wooden board of sufficient dimensions and depth to incorporate the sixteen necessary guide holes. If one were then to push-fit sixteen rods (two feet or so in length) into each hole they should, of course, all stick straight up in the air... perpendicular to the board and parallel to one another.

And now the fun starts. Would it be possible to hollow out the board, creating the exact concavity required to cause all the rod ends to meet at the same apex point above? If the camera lens was then positioned at this precise point, and the balls in the slightly sloping holes, would the barrel lens distortion be successfully counteracted?

It all sounds so simple . :)
 

Meucciplayer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
First of all: Your pics (K2Kraze and Rubik's) are great. I know: Once you are deeply involved in a hobby you always strive for perfection. However, I don't think there is more than a 5% improvement to be gained in most of your pics. So - you'll have to decide if it is really worth it. If it is just a "hobby challenge", go ahead. But I don't really see a need for even better quality - unless you want to use the pics in a book or something like that.

Back to a few things you talked about:

1) A shaped tray. You could do that - I think - by inserting a regular one in hot water or using some kind of hot air blower to bend it to your needs. However - two drawbacks come to my mind. It will only work with one specific lens perfectly if you tune it to that one. And it will be unstable so you would also have to create some sort of support so it doesn't wobble.

2) If you want to get distortion completely out of the pictures easily, I would either go the telephoto route (BTW a fixed focus lens is always better than a zoom) or you could use dedicated software. I know you can do it all in Photoshop or Gimp. There are some - even free or shareware - software packages which are even easier to handle. Sadly, my old computer died a year ago so I can't look what I used to use back then. It was a really easy to use shareware software which got the distortion out of pics with 2 or 3 clicks once you saved the parameters for different lenses. I used it mostly for extreme wide-angle pictures. The last step was always a slight crop and you could not tell that software did the trick.

If you search for something like "lens distortion correction software" enough stuff should come up. I found this page for example. A little further reading might be advisable:

https://listoffreeware.com/best-free-lens-distortion-correction-software/
 
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