Adding Cuts and Bruises to your Images by dperceful -

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Adding Cuts and Bruises to your Images by dperceful

By Adam Thur     September 03, 2003

I got alot of cool remarks on my Marrow piece so I thought I would go in depth on how to beat up a image. I am not going to show you how to recreate my Marrow image, I'm just going to show you the techniques that I used to make the image.

First off, I'll start by saying that this is not a tutorial for the kids. In searching for various images of lacerations, busted stitches, bones, etc....well, lets just say you don't get to see the most glamorous of things. So be aware of that now; you will be looking at some pretty gross stuff when you search out images on and don't say we didn't warn you.

Let's start.

Our test subject is Angelina Jolie. The image is from a wallpaper, so it's pretty crisp, and no touch up is needed, besides.....we are just going to bloody and bruise her, so don't even bother with touch up.

As to not mess up our original image, press Ctrl+J to duplicate the image.

Now select the burn tool and select a soft edge brush. Change out the range selection to shadows. Set the exposure to 45% for now (you will constantly be changing this setting so don't get hooked on a particular number).

For this exercise we will be roughing up her eye. With the burn tool selected with the above settings start working around the eye. You will notice the skin gets darker and much rougher. This is what you want. Consistently change the size of your brush (stay with soft edge brushes) and the exposure settings, by doing this you will have some variety on the bruise/cut and it won't get too dark and unrecognizable (tired of going back and forth to change your brush size press '[" or "]" to increase or decrease your brush size). After a little bit of work here is what the left eye looks like.

Let's try the same thing to the nose. I zoom in on the left nostril (Ctrl+"+" will zoom in an image Ctrl+"-" will zoom out an image. If you hold down the spacebar while zoomed in you can maneuver about the image) and using the same method as above create a blood trail. Since this is blood and not a bruise, i will go over the stroke a few extra times to make it darken up and look like blood.

Next is the lip. By going over her lips with the burn tool it increases the depth of her lips making them rough and chapped. Just like with the nose if I want some blood I just make the trail with the burn tool and stroke over a few times.

Zoom out and get a good look at what you have done. You might want to do some touch up in some areas. For example, use the burn tool along the bridge and side of the nose to make it more hard and slightly bruised. Same goes for the eye socket working over the area with the burn tool you can give a real soft face some hard lines that change the overall look of an image. After doing a little of what was described above here is what I have. Your image will likely look different....please experiment.

Now let's add a little cut on her cheek. Use a small soft brush to make an initial cut.

With that done you have a guideline for your cut. Use the burn tool repeatedly to darken out the cut. Now just make a blood trail work it's way out of the cut and down the cheek. Voila!

Now let's add some bruises. Honestly this is so simple I shouldn't even tell you. Let's take a dirty green/yellow color. On a whole new layer use the brush tool to brush in an area where you want some discoloration.

Change out the layer mode to something like Overlay, Soft Light, Multiply, Darken.....experiment and find the one that works the best for you image. For this one I ended up using Soft Light. Don't forget to clean up the paint that's over the eye with the eraser tool.

Let's get the nose. Same as mentioned before, but this time I'm using a dark blue.

This time I changed the layer mode to Overlay. Here is what she looks like.

Get ready for the fun and gross part of the tutorial. We will now blend a real world injury onto our picture. First you need to find a picture, I just go to and do a search thru their images. I search on stitches, lacerations, cuts, etc. You will see some pretty bad stuff, so be warned. Here is a pretty bad laceration image that I will blend into our picture.

I lower the opacity of the image and use the free transform tool (Ctrl+T) to size and rotate the image where I want it. I lowered the opacity so I could see where the cut is during my resizing and rotation. I however have a problem, Angelina has a tattoo. I could be cool and tear the tattoo apart and have it on both sides of the cut....but honestly that's nothing more than just selecting one side of the image and then the other and moving them into place (if you want to do it go ahead, it's a cool effect). I'm going to skip that torn tattoo and concentrate on getting the laceration blended in.

I removed that tattoo using the Clone tool and then I cleaned up the arm using the Blur and Smudge tools. If you are not sure on how to use the Clone tool, do a search for clone stamp tutorials on Google, you will find plenty of tutorials on it. My laceration would for the most part cover the tattoo.....but since I will be changing out layer modes I would rather work with plain skin.

Use the eraser tool and remove the excess parts of the laceration image. Use a soft edge brush. You can also mask out the image, it's up to you how you want to clean it up.

I now use the dodge tool to lighten up the outside areas of the laceration. This image is strong with deep purples and reds....however the part of the arm I am blending the image with is absent of any of those colors. By using the dodge tool it will make blending the image with the original that much easier.

Now it's time to match up colors. By pressing Ctrl+U I open up the Hue/Saturation editor. Place a checkmark in the colorize check box. Now using the Hue and Saturation sliders try and get the image color to match up with the color of the arm.

Here is my result.

Now we have a problem. I lost that cool looking wet look to the wound. No problem. I duplicate the laceration layer and set it's layer mode to Color Burn. Different layer modes yield different results. Experiment. If you find that doesn't work for you, you can always use the Burn and Dodge tools to bring out the highlights and shadows.

With a little work with the burn tool I work over the arm area and really rough it up.

That's really about it. If you look at my Marrow picture you will notice I had bones sticking out of her arms. I used the same blending method as above....I just burned the bones to dirty them up and make them look bloody.

Here is another thing you can do that will roughen up an image real quick. Create a whole new layer above your image. Using the default colors, fill the new layer with Clouds (Filter>Render>Clouds).

Now just run the Difference Cloud Filter (Filter>Render>Difference Clouds).

Change the Layer mode to Overlay, and BAM! Angelina is slightly grungy.

Hey it's a quick thing but it looks cool. For my original Marrow pic I used a picture of a mushroom to create a blistery look to her left shoulder where the bone pops out. Experiment with applying images to your work and changing out layer modes to get some interesting results.

Well that's about it. With a little more burning and blending here is my finished product.

There are a lot of other things you can do to beat up an image. You can add scars, protruding bones, swelling, etc.

I would go over those methods with you, but I'll save them for another lesson.

If you have questions, comments, or need help with a manip feel free to email me at

Thanks for taking time out of your day to go through this tutorial. Please take time to look or try out all of the lessons in the Art School to increase your artistic horizons.


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