How To Add A Cool Tattoo To Your Photo in Photoshop

Aibek Esengulov 10-10-2009

1Ever thought about having a cool tattoo but not sure what it will look like?


We’re lucky to be Photoshop friendly, unlike Lil Wayne (I’d put him in Top Ten Ugliest Tats Ever list).  And history has lots of examples of “unfortunate” tattoos. Like Johnny Depp’s “Winona Forever“ tattoo. He had to change it to “Wino Forever“ after their break-up. Or like the Game’s famous “star” tat on his face – he had a teardrop before, then changed to a star and now he has an “LA” I guess. Looks so weird.

So think twice before making a tattoo, it’s permanent. And removing a tattoo is a painful procedure leaving ugly scars on your skin. So before you decide on one, why not design a tattoo first and than add that tattoo to your photos in Photoshop, and see what it will look like?

I’ll give our beautiful R&B diva Beyonce a nice music tattoo. Hope she likes it.

1. Open your photo in Photoshop (Ctrl+O or File->Open”¦)

2. Open your tattoo image as well.


3. Now Select all (Ctrl+A) on your tattoo image and Copy (Ctrl+C):

add tattoo to your photos

4. Now go to your photo workspace and paste it there (Ctrl+V):

add tattoo photoshop


5. Select the tattoo layer by left-clicking on it:

add tattoos to pictures

Now we need to remove all the white from the tattoo image.

6. Select the Magic Wand tool by pressing W on your keyboard or select from Tools menu:


add tattoos to your photos photoshop

7. Just below the Main menu you will see options for the Magic Wand Tool. Set as below:

add tattoos

8. Now left-click on the white area on your tattoo image:


tattoo design photoshop

9. Press Delete. Here’s the result:


10. Now deselect (Ctrl+D) and with the Move Tool (M) place the tattoo where you want it.

If the tattoo is too large, you’ll need to resize it.

11. Select the tattoo layer. Press Ctrl+T. Now you’re in Free Transform mode. Resize and rotate it:


12. While still in Free Transform mode, right-click on the tattoo and select Warp:


13. Stretch it and distort it just enough to make it look like it’s really on your skin:


14. Apply changes by pressing Enter. You should come up with this:


15. Now in the Layers window set properties of your tattoo layer as below:


Here’s the result:


Cool huh? You can add some text as well using almost the same technique. The only different step will be rasterizing your text layer before Free Transforming it:


I hope you found this tutorial on how to design and add tattoos to your photos in Photoshop useful. If you have any thoughts or comments, please leave them here. Maybe you have some interesting ideas for the next Photoshop tutorial? Just let me know. I want to feed you guys with really useful and interesting tutorials and for that I need to know what you really want.

Related topics: Adobe Photoshop, Image Editor.

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  1. Video Converter
    November 29, 2009 at 6:26 am

    I Collected some best video converter.

  2. farhan bashir
    October 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    really interesting thing. keeep it up and share good tutorial
    on photoshop

  3. Online Health Tips
    October 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Nice trick mate!! I am doing it now..will ask again if i face any problem

    • Orkut Greetings
      October 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

      I just made 1 of my old pic so kool with these effects ..thanks for the tip

  4. ILoveFreeSoftware
    October 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I hope this works on freeware Photoscape as well.

  5. Greg
    October 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    You can skip the magic wand tool altogether if you use multiply as your layer mode with the tattoo. It combines the two layers and makes it look much more natural because the skin's pigment shows through. Oh, and it removes the white parts automatically, which is good for anything with two or more colors.

  6. Scooter
    October 10, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I'm just waiting till these tattooed idiots grow up and their grandchildren ask, "mommy, what's that funny thing on your arm?"

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 10, 2009 at 10:53 am

      That's funny. My mother has the same attitude towards tattoos - that when you get really old, the tattoos will look ridiculous. But I think that if you get a really nice tattoo, then being old with it shouldn't matter. Some tattoos are really impressive artwork and on the right person, they would look fantastic.

      And by the time I get "old" (say 40 years or so from now), technology will probably be really advanced to be able to remove the tattoo easily, cheaply and without any skin damage (or very minimal damage) afterwards.

    • A. G.
      October 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      Or you can use Henna Tatoos =)