View Full Version : CheshireCat -- Re: Doing tattoos in photoshop

04-16-2002, 07:14 PM
Sorry for the delay. I bumped into this lovely little lady who required immediate attention ;]

Anway, you asked me how I got sharp edges on my tattoos in the other darth maul thread, so I figured I'd be a nice guy and share the lovely power of the pen tool in photoshop. Personally, I use Illustrator, but photoshop can do simple things like the tattoos you're after as well.

If you lookthe psd of my maul face (which you can't, btw, seeing as I'm not sharing :P), you'll notice a lot of work paths outlining the tattoos. these are all bezier curves in vector form created by the pen tool. I can resize and reshape these at will with no loss of quality, seeing as they are basically vector images. (Sorta like a shockwave movie. Rememebr how you can resize shockwave flash movies and not get jagged edges? that's how vector graphics work).


The first thing to do when making a vector shape in ps is to make sure you have a refernce to work from, as it makes creation that much easier. You would prolly create a new layer above you un-tattooed face, but I'm going to be the lazy way and pull a quick, ugly doodle out of my ass with the paintbrush for simplicitys sake.


Once you have your refernce, select the pen tool. On your toolbar, it looks like this:


With your pen, trace the refernce, placing as many points as you like at key points around the shape. You are specifically after points, corners or places where the curve has long, sharp turns. It takes a little practice, but if you miss a point, you can always go back and add it to the path with the pen tool afterwards.


Now select the convert point tool. It's on your toolbar, sharing button with your pen tool.


Click the path you want to work on. Then click on a specific point on the path and drag your mouse away from it. the lines leading up to the point will begin to form a bezier curve, and 2 handles will extend from the point.


Once you have the handles pulled out, click and drag each of them (make sure to use handles from the points at both ends of a curve so that the curve fits the outline of the refernce. this is the time-consuming part, and it takes a little practice.


Once you have the shape you want, right-click (still using the pen tool) and select "fill path" (you can also stroke it to paint an outline along the path you've traced, but personally, I prefer marking everythign out and filling, since it allows me to adjust the thickness of the line as I go).


And voila. You have a nice, sharp shape that follows your outline. You can then turn off the path in the paths tab (should be between your layers and channel tabs)


Hope this helps :]

04-16-2002, 07:21 PM
Thanks Aiee...

Hopefully I can figure this out.


04-16-2002, 07:23 PM
Wow if you made all those pics and the words are your own original you went through a load of time and work to make that little tutorial. You must have a lot of time on your hands:) Thankyou for the tutorial its worth bookmarking :)


04-16-2002, 07:24 PM
If not, gimme a yell about what causes you headaches, and I'll post a more detailed explanation of that part :]


Yes... umm... a grand total of 8 minutes ;] I work quickly in photoshop


Why? If people need a question answered, they can just post a thread in the forum. If I see a thread with my name on it when I pass by, I'll always have alook at it, and if it's a question, perhaps someone else can even give a better answer than me before I see it anyway ;]

04-16-2002, 07:25 PM
Aiee, your really gotta enable your PM and start using it.

04-16-2002, 07:26 PM
good description. i couldnt have said it better myself.


04-16-2002, 07:39 PM

Very nice and simple...

And to think, after all that freehand work I did.

(sticks Wacom Pen in Head).

04-16-2002, 07:42 PM
Is that the normal pen, the airbrush, the inking pen or the stroking pen?

I lost my airbrush, and the normal pen feels too small for my big hands :[

04-16-2002, 07:45 PM
Regular Wacom Pen. Want to get the Airbrush though, but I've spent so much cash on Graphics stuff this last year, I can't afford it.

Thanks alot for the TUT. Really makes alot of things nicer, other that just Tattoos. That's what I get for trying to learn too many things at once.

04-16-2002, 07:49 PM
I still prefer illustrator though. with a little practice, some good illustrator work can make you do things like this:


04-16-2002, 08:54 PM
Very Cool. I still don't know many tricks for Computer Graphics, but I'm learning.

04-17-2002, 12:12 AM
adobe roxors.


04-17-2002, 04:26 AM
Adobe is a god send to the graphic industry. Now all I need is one of those $1000 LCD/Pan tablets :D

04-17-2002, 11:14 AM
Toolboi -- in my experience, LCD tablets are overrated. Their pressure sensitivity is rather low, and with a little training, they don't really offer an advantage over a "normal" tablet.

If you are serious about creating art -- and feel like spending money on a tablet -- I would reccomend that you look into the adobe intuos line. They're reasonably cheap (for a graphics tablet) offer great pressure sensitivity and accuracy. They are pretty much the Adobe Photoshop of tablets ;]

Personally, I have the Intuos A4 (9x12) usb version, with the normal pen and the airbrush (because my hands are so big. Unless you have very big hands, there's very little chance of you needing the airbrush, in my experience). The A4 is nice because it allows me to work in very high resolutions, but many may be comfortable with the smaller A5, as the A4 generally requires large arm movements when drawing. That is pretty much a question of prefernce, though.

Ultimately, though, it's a question of personal prefernce. Kristen Perry (http://www.merekatcreations.com) is almost exclusively a mouse user (Jhenna and Savannah on her site are entirely done by mouse), and still does a damn good job with it. If you want to buy a tablet, I'd reccomend finding a demonstration of one somewhere and havign a go at some quick doodling in photoshop to see if it's something for you :]

04-17-2002, 12:11 PM
My Wacom Tablet is one of the best purchases I've ever made. Mix a tablet with Photoshop and you are Golden!!! Worth every cent.

04-17-2002, 11:50 PM
Ok i made an object now with ur tutorial.. ok how do I change the color inside the object? When I do change layer color itll change the whole layer red and I wont see the object anymore cause its flooded with the red.

04-18-2002, 12:39 AM
heh, I use a 6 year old Wintime omni-pen that doesn't even have pressure sensitivity... HA HAH - take that !

- barge

04-18-2002, 01:13 AM
if my tablet didn't have pressure sensitivity I wouldn't have bought it...

04-18-2002, 11:05 AM
Aiee, you need to have your own section on these forums for photoshop tutorials :D

I've had photoshop for 6 years now in different versions, and though I've tried to learn as much as I can about it, there's still tons of things I know it can do, I just don't know how to do it.

I've always wondered what the pen tool was good for, but all the tutorials I've found on the web assume a working knowledge of the program and only cover the finer points. the only things I know for PhotoShop are from trial and error and a few hints from friends.

that little tutorial you just posted opened up a whole new world for me in editing and graphics.

I do have one question though, assuming someone designed a really good shape from the pen tool, is there a way to save that shape as a custom shape and load it into the shape tool?

I do alot of repetative work and like to create my own templates whenever possible so I don't have to "reinvent the wheel" everytime, so to speak.

thanks again for the info :)

the purple one

04-18-2002, 12:29 PM
Sky Net choose your color before you start the pen tool.

Puple Wolf: I'd like to know about savine shapes too. Good Idea.

04-18-2002, 01:16 PM
SkyNet -- If you look at the little dialog that pops up after you click fill path, you'll notice that it fills with your current foreground color as default. Just select the color you want to fill with as your foreground color before filling.

04-18-2002, 04:22 PM