Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

This is an easy tutorial that will show you how to add a tattoo to someone.

Here are the two pictures I am using, obtained from Jupiter Images Unlimited.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Step 1: Inking the Tattoo

Open the tattoo design in Photoshop. Copy and paste the design on a second layer, making the bottom layer solid white. In the Layers window, while having the tattoo’s layer active, change the blending option to Multiply. You won’t see anything change at the moment, but it has just made all of the white transparent.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Add another layer in between the tattoo and background. You are going to be coloring on this layer. Be sure to keep in mind how tattoos are colored. A lot of time there’s a lot of fading out done, transitions into colors, kind of like gradients. Color the tattoo however you want it to look.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Step 2: Applying the Tattoo

When you are finished colorizing the tattoo, merge all of the layers (minus the background) together. Copy and paste this newly merged and colored tattoo image into the one of the woman.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

You’ll notice that there’s a big white rectangle around it when you first paste it in there. To solve this, we’re going to change this layer’s blending option to Multiply, like we did before. Doing this now make all but the black slightly transparent, allowing the natural shadows of the woman to be seen through the tattoo, as it would if it was actually on her.

We are now going to Skew the tattoo. Notice how her shoulders are slightly turned, so the perspective is not dead on like the tattoo is. She is not symmetrical and neither should the tattoo be. CTRL+T transform on the tattoo’s layer, and while holding down the CTRL button, click and drag the anchor points around a bit, adjusting the perspective.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

By only adjusting the perspective on the tattoo as a whole, the angles and things will still look a little off. The tattoo is right over her collarbone and neck. There are curves and stretching that are happening to parts of the tattoo, so we need to adjust those sections. To do this, select portions of the tattoo you want to change by using one of the selection tools. Draw around small areas at a time and CTRL+T transform, then hold CTRL while you click and drag anchor points around.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo
Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Once your positioning is good, make the tattoo layer’s opacity somewhere between 80% and 90%. This will make the whole tattoo a little more transparent, allowing some more of the skin tone to come through. This helps to make it appear more realistic. When someone is tattooed, it is never solid black.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Step 3: More Details

To accent the picture a little more, I added some other adjustments, making her look a little more colorful. Piercing the bridge of her nose and her lip, as well as changing the color of some of the portions of her hair.

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

Finished

Hope you enjoyed this easy tutorial!

Adding a Tattoo to a Photo

By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site, Inkdu.com.

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