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May 16, 2014

Create an Amazing Cracked Skin Effect in Photoshop (Part 1)

Adding Cracks to Skin

In this tutorial we show you how to create an amazing cracked skin effect in Photoshop. This is obviously not something you are going to do on every portrait you take but when you are looking for a creative outlet adding texture to skin is a lot of fun. Our goal is to take a flat image and make it look like it wraps around the subject’s face and blend the images together to make the effect realistic. This part one of two episodes teaching how to make cracked skin in Photoshop.

How to Transform and Warp the Crack Texture

The first step is choosing the proper textures for the face. For an added challenge try taking the photos yourself, you would be amazed at how many textures you can photograph during an afternoon walk. For this tutorial we use an image by Liz West.

After choosing the best texture it is time to transform and warp it into place. Lower the opacity of your texture layer so you can see through to the original photo and hit CMD+T to start the transform. From here it is up to you to rotate and scale the texture so it fits the face. After getting the sizing and rotation correct hit CMD+T and right click on the layer and go down to Warp. This is where you want to do the majority of the wrapping around your subject’s face. Pull in the corners and adjust the handles to shape the texture around the face.

Use the Liquify Tool for Details and Wrapping

After transforming and warping the texture it is time to take care of the smaller details and the wrapping. The Liquify tool is prefect for doing just that. In this episode we show you how to use the liquify tool to push and pull the texture to wrap perfectly around the face, making sure to give the edges special attention, making the texture look as though it is wrapping around the face.

We also show you how to use the Freeze Mask tool to take care of tricky areas like eyes and the nose.

Layer Blend Modes

After the texture is in place and warped correctly we use blending modes to make it look as though it interacts with the skin. Using a Multiply blending mode will make the light areas of a texture invisible and the darker areas blend in, the perfect choice for cracks. After changing the layer blend mode we use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to color the texture similar to skin color.

Check out Part 2

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this episode where we show you how to make the cracks look 3 dimensional and add a blur effect the the cracks.

31 Comments


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    Natasha Heredia

    This is great!! There are so many things you can use this for… adding tattoos or images to people’s skin or other things. I’ve seen fashion-y photos where people look like they’re wrapped in fabric or have flowers on their face, etc. I’ve had lots of ideas like that but didn’t know how to accomplish it. Thanks!!

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    Natasha Heredia

    I’ve been watching older tutorials and I just have to say how much these have improved over the past year or so. They were always great, but Aaron seems so much more comfortable and the overall feel is much more professional. Good job all!

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    Bettelyoun

    Great video, and I agree with the comment below. The videos are better as Aaron already did do this this video before and some others are repeats but he always adds another great trick.

    I’m addicted to collecting Actions, with you being a Pro at Photoshop you don’t need such things but it would be cool to see you edit a image using some. Like your thought process. Keep it up and can’t wait for the next Pro to come out

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    Todd Bielby

    Hi Aaron and the phlearn team. This is something that im having trouble with. As you know nature doesn’t always cooperate with composition. I would like to fill in the gaps with this photo and other photos like it in order to get a better coverage of flowers in the photo. Is there a way to do this?

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    Guest

    I have done the first phase on a picture of my daughter (she’s not gonna be too pleased) but i think i have gone a bit overboard with the cracks

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    David M

    I have done the first phase on a picture of my daughter (she’s not gonna be too pleased) but i think i have gone a bit overboard with the cracks?

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      Natasha Heredia

      the most disturbing thing is her skin is rather on the orange side… lol

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      Georgino

      Man, I will tell you this because nobody will, this is just bad, I mean beyond bad and in every way. I don’t think you can do any worth if you even will try it. Please watch do tutorial again. You can’t even cut your subject correctly not to mention colour adjustments? Go back and try it again, I am sure you can do better then this !!!

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          Georgino

          Sorry for being honest, just trying to help. Honestly this is bad, if anybody tell you otherwise they are ether your friends or family and don’t want to hurt your feeling. You will not learn unless someone tells you you doing bad job, but if you think you doing great then go ahead and be delusional

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    Michael Woloszynowicz

    Nicely done Aaron, creepy to see my photo transformed like this but it works well. Would you mind changing the text above with the proper credit. It says “we use an image by Liz West.” when in fact it’s my image. Thanks

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      Kristan Williams

      If you re-read, I believe he credits Liz West for the cracked texture under the section discussing the adding of textures to the face.

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        Michael Woloszynowicz

        Ahh, indeed, it does seem to be related to the texture. Disregard my comment in that case.

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    Ron Miller

    I really liked this. I’ll use this technique to do so many other things. I don’t remember for sure, but couldn’t this be used on the Snow Globe image that was made a terrible Christmas Card? I’d use the warp and liquify tool, for sure. Btw, I used what I saw in this video on a simple composite. I will add it below. Also, I’ll be trying this on a friend of mine. I’ll come back and post it here.

    Here is what I did. No cracks, but I used the same process.

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    Tom Sproule

    Had great fun doing this and partnered it up with the black eyes tutorial.

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      Georgino

      Man this is disturbing, way too much. Don’t like it at all. It can be great but tone down the effect and you will be golden
      Cheers

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    Guest

    Great effect here’s a photo I did a few weeks back with this effect