APPLYING A REALISTIC TATTOO
Compiled by <<coldbing>>
There are lots of tutorials on the Web that claim to achieve a realistic tattoo effect. Usually
these tutorials instruct the user to import an image they want to use as a tattoo and to set it
to overlay. Out of experience I can say that this does NOT look like a tattoo. It looks
like...well...an overlayed image.
In this tutorial I will be demonstrating an advanced technique to achieve a realistic tattoo.
We will be using masks, adjustment layers, displacement maps, and several brushing skills
will be applied.
So the first thing I did was go looking for a good stock image. I wanted a face with a lot of
detail such as facial hair, expression, and most importantly, pores! I tend to get my stock
images from the free site www.sxc.hu. Being impoverished and all I can't afford to spend a
buck on each picture. I ended up using this great image by Emiliano Spada.
Next thing we need is a tattoo design. You can create your own but I am not only poor, I am
lazy as well. Head over to gomedia.us and get your hands on their Vector Sample Pack (from
the Freebie Section).
Ok, open up your stock image and duplicate it by clicking on the layer and dragging it to the
New Layer icon down the bottom (it's the one to the left of the trash can). Name this layer
Base, desaturate it (Ctrl+Shift+U) and duplicate it again. The reason I am doing this is that I
like to have multiple stages of my base image, just in case I mess up, so that I can come
back at any given time and fix errors.
Time to prepare our image. I really want to bring out the detail in the skin, so I am going to
up the contrast and adjust the tones a little bit. Let's add three adjustment layers: First, a
Levels layer, then a Brightness/Contrast layer, and last a Curves layer. You can add each by
going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels/Brightness/Curves depending on which
you're adding. Adjustm