Realistic Bruise/Black Eye Tutorial
I was working on this project a while back and was in search for a tutorial to help me achieve a realistic bruise effect in Photoshop but much to my dismay, I couldn’t find one that yielded acceptable results. I quickly decided that It was all up to me to figure it out on my own using the knowledge I already had. I spent a while looking at images of black eyes and large bruises to get a basic idea of what a bruise actually looks like (not just a bluish-purple blob on the skin) and how to digitally create them. The following is a step-by-step tutorial to help out anyone who was/is in the same situation I was a while back.
Step 1- First off lets start with adjusting the image we already have. Depending on what image you choose this first step will vary. We are just going to adjust the saturation and curves to bring out some detail and emphasize the flesh tones a little and add some contrast. I wanted to add an eerie feel so I also gave my image a cyan photo filter to soften up the tone.
Step 2- Next we want to create the basic “color template” in our layer pallet in order to keep things simple and organized. Create six new layers above your image and name them, starting from bottom to top: “Yellow, Pink, Green, Red, Violet and Veins”. Set the blending modes of Yellow, Pink, Green and Red to “Color Burn” and set Violet and Veins to “Multiply”. Group these layers.
Here are the Colors I used for each layer:
Yellow-#EBD700 Pink-#FFB5D3 Green-#93F370 Red-#F37171 Violet-#9508BD Veins-#E9698B
Step 3- Lets begin with the bruise making. First, select your Yellow layer and select a soft round brush set to multiply with an opacity of 20% (We will keep these same settings for each layer accept “Violet” and “Veins”). Paint the basic shape of the bruise. This layer will be about %50 bigger than what the darker regions of the bruise are. The yellow should not be defined, this is just a “base coat”.
Once you have the basic shape laid out in yellow, select the pink layer and with a slightly smaller sized brush begin to get more and more defined. Using a reference photo may also help.
Work your way through the next layers (stop at after violet) getting more and more defined until you reach a basic bruise shape.
At this point you should have a pretty decent looking bruise. You can add more colors like browns and oranges to give your bruises a unique look but for now lets focus on the basic bruise.
Step 4- Next we will at some fine details. To achieve an even more realist effect I added some subtle veins to my bruise. They should be long and extending from the center outward, stopping just around where the pink layer meets the yellow layer. Use a brush that is 1px with about 75% hardness and 100% opacity. Once you draw the veins they should look a little weird. We will take care of this in the next step.
Step 5- Now we make these veins take a realist look. Add an outer glow to your veins layer. Change the blending mode of the glow to “multiply”, the spread to 0 and the size to about 1-3px, depending on the size of your photo. The color I used for the glow was #F699CC. Adjust the Opacity of the layer in your layer palette. I dropped mine down to 75% for an even more subtle effect.
Step 6- If you are looking to make a black eye, there will be some swelling you need to address. Group all of the layers you have then duplicate them. Hide the originals and merge the new group into one flat layer. We want to keep an original version just in we don’t like the outcome of the next step. Now, with the merged layer selected, under filters select liquify. (Shortcut: ctl+shift+x on a PC, Cmd+Shift+X on Mac). Select the “pinch” mode and use a brush that is just bigger than the eye. Tap just over the entire eye a few times, you can reduce the brush rate if needed.
Once that is all done you should have a pretty good looking bruise or black eye. Here is how mine turned out.
That pretty much sums up this tutorial. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. You can also find some helpful materials listed below.