Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tutorial Tuesday: Tattoos

Yep, I'm starting something else new. Every other week on Tuesday, I'm going to try and put out a process post. Give everyone a little look into how I do what I do, and hopefully even help out some fellow designers in the process.
Since tattooed men seem to be a rather popular, I figured I would tackle how to add tattoos to a person. Honestly, the steps are super simple but it does take practice and even I get an off looking tattoo sometimes. This tutorial does require you to know about photoshop, and to be able to move around. If these posts get a lot of attention I will considering posting more detailed steps with photos.

1. To start with I'm using Photoshop CS3. I use Photoshop for just about everything, and I'm poor so I use CS3 until I can afford a new computer so I can use the newer Photoshop. I'm also using a stockimage purchased from 123RF.com and an illustration of a wolf I did for a previous project.

 2. First thing to do is drag the wolf design onto the guy. To get just the black design here's what you do. On the image of the wolf go to Select>Color Range and us the eye dropper to select the black area. Make sure the selection is turned up to about 150 or more. This will select all the black in the picture. Now use your move tool (the pointer looking thing), and drag it onto the image of the guy. Easy, huh?
This is a great tip to use instead of selecting all the white piece by piece and deleting. However; the Color Range tool does get tricky when there is a lot of rendering or shading. So play with it, because it's a great time saver.
 3. Alright, the wolf is on the guy now you need to place it. This step can be really easy or really difficult. It all depends where you want the tattoo. For this one I went for a more flatish surface, but I still needed to round the image of the wolf. You do this by using a combination of Free Transform and Wrap tools. To get to those you want to make sure you're on your wolf layer then Ctrl+T (for pc). From here you right click for a menu and get your options for everything from the Free Transform to Perspective.
At this is where the practice comes into play. You have to take into account the contour and shape of the body and muscles.
Where does the image need to wrap around an arm, or dip into muscle valley?
the best way is to imagine what a tattoo would look like on an actual person. Don't worry if you don't get it right away, like I said it takes practice.
4. Tattoo's in place and now I want to change the color of it. Before it was solid black. The blackist black you could get, and it stood out like a sore thumb. I don't want that. Instead I took a dark color right off the skin using the Eyedropper, then went a shade or two darker. I did this because I want the tattoo to look fleshy, and like it belongs in the rest of the image. I want it to match the color platte.
Also, you want to blur the edges of the tattoo. Which is super easy with a Gaussian Blur. Go Fliter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. I would recommend anything from a .5 to 2.5 setting for a tattoo, but play around and see what you looks good. Your strongest tool is your eyes.
 5. Now comes the fun part, actually making it look like a tattoo. To do this we will be using Blending Modes. You can do a lot with Blending Modes, use them well. After filtering through all the different modes I settled for Soft Light. For tattoos a lot of people use Multiply, which is awesome if you have a tattoo with colors. Since mine is just black I find either Overlay or Soft Light works great.
What?
The tattoo is too light, you can hardly see it? No problem. See the next step for the solution.
 6. I like the look and effect of the Soft Light setting but it was too light in some areas. Easy way to fix that, duplicate the layer. Either right click on the layer to duplicate or Ctrl + J (on pc). This will darken it, and while I'm at it I also rough up the layer.
To do that, add a bit of noise from the Filter tab. Make sure to do it on the bottom (old) wolf layer because we are going to get rid of some of the top layer.
 7. Two things I'm doing at this point. One, I need to get rid of where the tattoo overlaps his sword. Two, I want to take down the darkness of some of the tattoo. You can do all of this with...LAYER MASKS!
They are the greatest thing ever next to the pen tool. Learn how to use them, they will save you every time.
First, lets lighten some of the tattoo. With the top wolf layer selected (the one without the noise filter on it), add a layer mask. Either use the shortcut in the layer box, or go Layer>Layer Marks>Reveal All. Now you can paint out the darker portions. It makes the dark less intense and more realistic.
To do the same when it comes to removing the overlapping portion on the sword. Or you could just erase it. It's up to you. The reason I use layer marks before the eraser is because if I take out too much I can easier put it back in with a layer mask. With layer masks nothing it set till I apply the mask.
 8. And there you have it, a nice looking tattoo. I added a few more just to show you the wrap on different parts of the body. Adding tattoos is one of those things that done well is digital magic, and when done wrong stands out with a flashing sign that says "I'm not suppose to be here".
 If there is something you would like to see, or any suggestions on what tutorial/process I should do next. Please comment below.