Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Realistic Tattoos to Your Body

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Realistic Tattoos to Your Body


Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to quickly
place a tattoo onto someone, wrap it around the contours of the
skin and even change its color. You can apply these to text, as well. If you’d like to use this font,
I provided its link in the video description or project files. Before we begin,
you should have two documents ready. One is the photo you’d like to use for
your subject and the other is a black and white
design for the tattoo. If you’d like to use this design, I provided its link, as well. If the tattoo wraps around any part of your subject
such as the arm in this example, you need to make a selection of the arm
to ensure that the tattoo will be confined to that area. There are many ways to make selections
and I covered them in many of my tutorials. Once you make your selection,
to see it as a quick mask, press Q on your keyboard. Since I’ll be
placing the tattoo on the upper arm, I make sure the selection
surrounds that entire area. Go to Select and Save Selection. When this window pops up, just click OK. To delete the selection, press Ctrl + D on a PC or Cmd + D on a Mac.
Make a copy of the layer by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. We’ll use this
copy to make a displacement map. The displacement map will wrap the tattoo around the contours of your subject
based on your subject’s shadows, midtones and highlights. Since
displacement maps work best when they’re slightly blurred, go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. I’ll blur this image 3 pixels. Go to File and Save As. Save it to your desktop.
Name it “Displacement” as a PSD file. Then, click “Save”. If you see this window, click OK. Now we can trash the blurred layer since we don’t need anymore.
Open your tattoo design. We need to make a selection of the shape, so we can cut it out from its background. One of the quickest ways to separate
black and white is to use your Magic Wand Tool.
Make the Tolerance 5 pixels, make sure Anti-Alias is checked and Contiguous is unchecked. Click anywhere on the tattoo.
This created a selection of everything that’s black. To cut the
design out from its background and copy it to its own layer, press Ctrl or Cmd + J. To get it onto your subject, open your Move Tool
by pressing “v” on your keyboard. Then, drag it up onto
the tab of your subject. Without releasing your mouse or pen,
drag it down onto the image and then release.
To resize and position it, open your Transform Tool by pressing
Ctrl or Cmd + T. Go to a corner and when you see a curved, double-arrow,
rotate it to an angle you like. To reposition it, click inside and move it. Continue until you’re happy with its angle, size and position.
Then, press Enter or Return. The tattoo will blend in better with the skin if it’s slightly blurred. So go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. We’ll blur it 1 pixel. Then, click OK. Next, we’ll use the displacement map to conform
the shape of the tattoo to the contours of the arm. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. We’ll displace the
Horizontal and Vertical scales by 10, choose Stretch To Fit
and Repeat Edge Pixels. Click OK
and click the Displacement PSD file. Then, click “Open”. As I toggle back and forth,
you can see that the shape adjusted itself based on the tonal values
of the arm. Next, we’ll hide the parts the tattoo
that extend beyond the outside of the arm. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click on the thumbnail of the
tattoo to make a selection of shape. Open the Channels panel, go to “Alpha 1” and press Ctrl + Shift + Alt on a PC or Cmd + Shift + Opt on a Mac
as you click on it. This deletes the selection outside the arm. Open back up the Layers panel and click
on the layer mask icon to make a layer mask of the selection. next to the tattoo Next, we’ll blend the tattoo onto the skin. First, change the blend mode to Soft Light and make a composite snapshot of your
image by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E on a PC or Cmd + Shift + Opt + E on a Mac. Make a copy of it. Go to the layer mask and press and hold Alt a PC
or Opt on a Mac as you drag a copy of it
next to the top layer. Click on a thumbnail to make it active
and click on the adjustment layer icon. Choose Hue/Saturation and click the Clip-to-Layer icon. This clips or restricts the adjustment layer to effect just the one layer beneath it. I’ll reduce the Saturation to minus 30. Keep in mind, since every photo is different, you may want to adjust the numbers we’ll be using
in the adjustment layers. For this photo,
I’ll change the Lightness to minus 40. Many at the tattoo tutorials that I’ve
seen up to this point use “Multiply” for the blend mode, but I
find that this blend mode dulls the tones and nuances of the skin under the tattoo. As I toggle back and forth, you can see the difference. If you want
to change the color of the tattoo, experiment with the sliders to get just
the color you want. Using these simple techniques,
have fun creating realistic tattoos. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV.
Thanks for watching!

99 thoughts on “Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Realistic Tattoos to Your Body

  1. How would i make it look like its a brand new tattoo?
    like if i just got out of the shop and took a pic to scare my fam, how would i make it convincing…

  2. Although this is simple to do, This has got to be one of the best tutorials I have seen in a long time, the way you explain and show real close ups of what you are doing and I love the fact that you use so many keyboard short cuts. (I'm a "short cut" gal) Thank you

  3. Actually this is One of the Best tutorials i've ever Seen  and Absolutely is the best tattoo tutorial THNX Marty For the Explaining it So cool and Please Upload More Vidz like This I've subscribed 10x

  4. When I go to channels when trying to get rid of the outsides of the tattoo there is no Alpha 1 just blue red and stuff can you help?

  5. hey! can do a video about how to write in skin of a photo and this looks real? like fansing but in skin ? please! or someone tell me a link of a tutorial 🙁

  6. well done marty! thanks again and again happy new year to you, p.s. can you upload the subject image? 

  7. You are an amazing teacher and your videos are stellar.  Keep up the great work and I will continue watching and learning

  8. THUMBS UP THIS COMMENT:
    For those of you who like me, watch the video on repeat for each stencil you're practicing on, here's a step by step of what he says written short. If you've watched the video, reading these instructions will feel like a breeze rather then keeping up and rewinding each time so here you go:(again, much easier if you've already heard the video once and practiced once first time off the video, after that, my instructions are just go with flow)

    tattoo step by step PSD tutorial: 

    -select area for tattoo to be placed on canvas first
    -quick mask to check
    -save selection
    -now: ctrl D
    -ctrl J
    -filter Gausblur x 3
    -file: save as – desktop – displacement.psd
    -trash blurred layer
    -open tattoo
    -crop it out
    -transform and place it
    -blur or not the tattoo gaus x0.5-1
    filter distort-displace – displacement.psd
    -CTRL-click thumbnail of layer (select)
    -channel panel: ALPHA
    -CTRL+SHIFT+ALT
    -layer mask
    -blend mode: soft light/multply
    -CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E
    -CTRL J
    -alt the mask drag to top layer
    -hue saturation
    -clip to layer/thumbnails (aka create clipping mask) for those who dont have the button, just right click it.
    -play with saturation/lighting

    done.

  9. Thank you for this great tutorial! I just used this process on one of my composite images and it perfectly works.

  10. Nice tutorial, but if I can suggest, the fastest way to select a clear balck and white instead of using the magic wand tool, is to use the Channel and command click then inverse to select the black area.

  11. when I get to 6:00 any adjustments affect the entire image, not the tattoo. So when I try to make the tattoo darker, the entire image becomes black. How do I fix this? I followed the tutorial exactly as far as I can tell.

  12. when I get to the alpha part to hide the overlapping tattoo parts, it give me a red screen highlighting the parts but doesn't hide it… Im following every step as you dictate it, idk what I'm doing wrong

  13. Could this apply to adding a tattoo to a drawn character? I'm working on an album cover and I want to add the artist name to the girls arm in the picture as though she had a tattoo of his name.

  14. Marty , Best tutorial ever. So patience and clear in wt ever yu teach. Appreciate the work. Keep posting.

  15. Very helpful tutorial. But is it possible to make a tattoo design from a photo with it? Somehow this tutorial but backwards.

  16. Great tutorial. I feel like you complete-idiots-guided me through everything. Showing exactly what you were doing .Loved it. Thanks.

  17. Thanks! I have a question though, at 4.19. When opening Displacement, I get error, transforming masks has to be 8 bit! My wrong, or is it the tattoo?

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