This is a quick and dirty way to superimpose just about any digital image so as to look like a tattoo on a photo. Aka- how to know that the tattoo you want to get won't look terrible in the spot you want to get it.
I've personally done this for years for both friends and myself as a means for "previewing" tattoo ideas. You'd be surprised at the number of people who had never even considered it! It can also be done as a prank: I am currently awaiting my mother's response to my emailed pictures of the "new tattoo" that I supposedly got this week.
It only takes a few minutes and is easily done by even the Photoshop novice!
*Image editing software such as Photoshop or Gimp (I used Photoshop 7.0)
*Have a digital camera or a photo of the subject you want to "tattoo"
*Image to be superimposed as a tattoo
Step 1: Gather the Images
First, choose (or draw) the digital image that you wish to put on the picture. Higher quality images will obviously look more realistic. Something with a white background works best.
I chose a piece of artwork gleaned from Mark Haddon's art blog of a toilet monster, something I deemed suitably shocking- yet not entirely unbelievable- to my mother and father.
Next, take a picture of the body part you wish to "modify" in your image editor.
Step 2: Begin the Process
Open up the photo of your body part in Photoshop. I am still using version 7.0 because I'm far too cheap to buy CS2. Gimp would also work.
Pasting the image you want to become the tattoo will create its own layer- make sure that it's above and not below your background photo.
For the "blending option" select "Multiply" from the drop-down menu (Directly below the "Layers tab")
Starting to look pretty good already, eh?
Step 3: Tweaking the Effect
Drag the tattoo (by using the "Move Tool," clicking, and dragging) to the desired location, and resize the tattoo to the dimensions you desire. If a box with edges which can be dragged isn't appearing, you need to enable "bounding edges" in the upper left while the move tool is being used.
I then used the eraser tool to remove some parts of the tattoo, around my real tattoos, the nipples, and parts that were going off the edge of my body.
Step 4: Final Touches
Lower the opacity of the tattoo layer to somewhere around 78 percent, most tattoos don't look pure black.
I also chose to soften the edges of the tattoo by setting the eraser tools opacity to around 50% and gradually erasing away some of the outmost edges of the tattoo layer in several strokes.
Finally, I blurred the layer slightly by applying the "blur" filter in Filter > Blur > Blur
For this particular tattoo emulation, I stopped at this point. However, more curvy parts (such as arms, butts, or whatever) you could go even further by applying a distortion filter to selected parts of the tattoo layer in order to make it appear as though it curves over the bodies surface.
Save the file as a .jpg
Step 5: Utilization
Share the image with your friends and family or merely keep it for your own reference, the choice is yours.
If you are doing this as a prank (as I was in this particular instance) I recommend a smaller image size as the final product, as its less easily detected as a fraud. Email to prankee in the most nonchalant way you can manage.
Hope folks find this Instructable fun and useful! I recognize that this isn't the only way of doing this- so please feel free to post any suggestions in the comments!