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Tattoo on skin texturing by RawArt3d Tattoo on skin texturing by RawArt3d
So you decide it is finally time to get some ink.
But how to get it done in a realistic way?

In this tutorial I will be using photoshop, but I am sure there are similar options in other paint programs.

I will also be assuming some basic photoshop skills, so I won't go into details where the filters, or layer controls are.

The first thing to remember is that tattoo's are actually sub-dermal artwork (under the skin), so the colours will end up being somewhat translucent, and taking the overtones of the skin.
So we cannot simply lay a graphic on top of the skin and have it look like a tattoo.

So what I am going to show here is one technique I use to get fairly natural looking tattoos.

I am going to start off with a base texture that has alot of texture to it, it has wrinkles, spots and various kinds of discolourations. I choose this one because it will show off more clearly how the skin details will show through the art.



1) So first we will open up our skin texture (for this I choose the torso).


2) Then we place the artwork which we want to use on a layer on top of the skin.

Duplicate that layer with the art a couple of times (we will need two layers to make our tattoo, but I would make one extra with the original artwork, just in case we need it again later)

Turn off the visibility of all but the lowest layer of art. This is the layer we will start with, so make it the active layer.


3) Tattoo ink always has a slight "bleed" under the skin, giving it a softer edge. So on this layer we will give the art a relatively soft Gaussian Blur

(see image). Dont worry about the details of your artwork, we will bring them back later with the other layers, this one is simply to give that soft sub-dermal look to the art.


4) Then after the blur, we will set the layer to "soft light" by adjusting your layer attributes (in your layers toolbox). This will really make the image blend nicely into the skin.


5) Now lets turn on the layer of art that is on top of this one, and desaturate the image. The reason we are desaturating is because we want to sharpen the details of the artwork, but we do not want the colours to become over saturated. So working with a greyscale version will let us sharpen things but not introduce more colour to the mix.


6) Then we will also set this layer to "softlight", and you can see how the details jump back to life. But this is a little too sharp for my liking, so we then can adjust our "opacity" on this layer and bring it down to what will look more natural.


7) I brought it down to 40% opacity, and think this will suit the image I am working with.


Then you should have a very realistic looking tattoo for your figure.

This is just one technique, but it should work for most types of situations.

Hope you enjoy Smile

Rawn
Add a Comment:
 
:iconluceamluceo:
LuceamLuceo Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2017
Thanks for this :)
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:iconveneri:
Veneri Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for your efforts
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:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
you're welcome
Reply
:iconthomvinson:
thomvinson Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, this is what I needed to learn!
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
glad to help
Reply
:iconakarakak:
Akarakak Featured By Owner May 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ty
Reply
:iconedheldil3d:
Edheldil3D Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2014
Thx for this!
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
n/p :)
Reply
:iconjoepingleton:
JoePingleton Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014   Filmographer
Thanks for sharing the knowlege
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
glad to help
Reply
:iconarlesienne:
Arlesienne Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014
Nice tips. Do you think you could upload this tutorial as a PDF so that I can download it and read offline please?
Reply
:iconvestit75:
vestit75 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't use Photoshop but Knowing the ins and outs of my preferred image editing program (I use Corel Paintshop pro photo x2) I was able to apply the same concept to accomplish the same goal.
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I tried to keep it as general as possible...glad it worked for you. (always hate seeing tattoos that look more like body paint)
Reply
:iconeiliestl:
Eiliestl Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know next to nothing about photoshop. Man I really wish you would have showed step by step with the pics next to them.
Reply
:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I was just working on some tattoos for my characters. This is very helpful ^_^
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:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
glad to help
Reply
:icontheowl68:
TheOwl68 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great tutorial =D thank you for this!
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
you're welcome
Reply
:iconobscuroarcanum:
ObscuroArcanum Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Very useful tutorial. Thanks!
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thanx
Reply
:iconobscuroarcanum:
ObscuroArcanum Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconneilv:
NeilV Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad you brought this over here thought we had lost this with the new site :-)
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah...I was worried it was lost on the other site...I finally found it (and a few other things I lost)
Reply
:iconlizziedream9:
LizzieDream9 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Cool technique! I never thought of doing it this way. I'll have to give it a shot next time I need some realistic tats. :) Thank you!
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You are most welcome
Reply
:iconskiriki:
Skiriki Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! This will be handy!

Got any good tutorials for "how to make kickass specular, bump and other maps" and for those pesky subsurface scatters and translucencies too? :)
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
There is no real tutorial for spec, displacement and SSS maps other than really taking the time to figure what the maps are doing and making them specifically for that purpose.
Reply
:iconskiriki:
Skiriki Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, darn. Lots of "this is what it does" doesn't explain the process well-enough or focuses on technical nitty-gritty instead of actually explaining the usage. Your tattoo thing explained everything perfectly, and you do one of the most kickass spec, displacement, SSS etc maps, so that's why I wondered if you could explain it to a newb. :)
Reply
:iconjs-graphics:
JS-Graphics Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Tattoo's are easy. Its those darn full body tatt's that are a pain in the rear.
Reply
:iconrawart3d:
RawArt3d Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
They may be easy....but so many people do them so poorly that look like bad stick on decals.
Reply
:iconjs-graphics:
JS-Graphics Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Oh, I know that. I always look to make it as real as I can. Or just borrow it from an actual resource. I hate it when it just looks copied and pasted.
Reply
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