I think the concept of using skin as a canvas is curious. I don’t have any tattoos, and in a day where it seems everyone and their mother has one, or four, I’m the odd man out, and I like that. Tattoos were somewhat of a rebellious experiment that stuck, and is, as such, culturally ingrained. The Tā moko of the Māori is cultural, and like beanies, sort of represent a bit of bohemian flare, with a dash of rebellious cool. Clearly, I’ve considered getting one, though I think now to be different, you don’t.
But I think most people in the west have pondered what it would be like to get one. Some may have considered to the point of actively searching for just the right one; something meaningful perhaps? Or maybe just something interesting or beautiful. Either way, you never quite know what you’re going to end up with until it’s done. I suspect, that’s half the joy. Now, however, using Photoshop, you can get a pretty damn good idea, and Phlearn’s Aaron Nace offers his hand, and a chair, and talks you through it. Pain free.
The process is deceptive in that it can get quite intricate, but the fundamentals are actually easy to repeat. Aaron’s method is choice for a few reasons; it takes texture and light into proper consideration, and explains just how simple it is to take any image or design from a photo, and digitally stain your skin. The use of blending mode sliders to meticulously refine the image is an eye opener for many, and the touch of coloration also has huge impact, and they both help make the tattoo melt seamlessly into flesh. Here’s a quick example:
The difficulty for me came in when deciding to wrap tattoos around or set it to the curves of a body, but with some warping and vectoring, you really can achieve something surprising. It’s absolutely perfect for freaking out the family, and I guess you could use it as a preview to see if you like the design of one you’re considering for real. Get tatted up!