Oct 21, 2014

How to Create a Scar in Photoshop

Creating Scars in Photoshop

In our third Halloween Episode, we show you how to create realistic scars in Photoshop! Wow humans and zombies alike with this scary gash technique!

From Scratch to Scarface

To begin, draw an outline of the scar with the lasso tool. Don’t worry about making it perfect; a little unsteadiness of the hand will actually make it look more realistic later on. Hit Shift + Delete on the layer and fill the selection with black.

The give the scar its necessary depth, create a new layer and paint over the hard edges with a soft edged clone stamp. Don’t go all the way to the center because this will look like the skin that is inside of the scar. Clip this layer to the underlying one by right clicking and choosing create clipping mask. Hit Ctrl+ M to bring up a curves panel and make this layer much darker.

Next, on new soft light layer, use black and white brushes to dodge & burn and create some depth and add realism to the scar.

On another layer set to an overlay blending mode, continue to add some detail to the scar by painting with a dark red color around it.

If you already have blood in an image, it is very helpful because you can clone stamp it from one section to another. In this particular image, we copy some of the blood from the nose onto the outside of the scar.

Finally, use the blur tool and make sure sample all layers is checked. Paint over top of the scar to blend it into the skin. This is especially helpful if the image is not perfectly in focus.


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    how come you used the brush instead of the dodge and burn tool to create the depth ??

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    Alessandro "Schindler" dos Santos

    Hi Aaron, thanks a lot fot this awesome tutorial. I work with PS for 10 years but I always had problem with blood.

    I have a sugestion for a tutorial, could you show how to work with fire?

    Thank you very much! You rocks!

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    Alvin canoy

    Can you show me how to make a caricature and how to add some details from it like how to merge add some colors etc. Just to show some details of the original picture while in caricature form.
    Thanks a lot and more power

  • user image

    It’s the first tutorial that I have seen that is really great!

  • user image

    Good tutorial. Can u make a tutorial on how to create a wax toy effect for portraits? I mean to make a portrait look like a wax doll.

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    Jordan Penard

    Awesome tutorial as always.
    I tried to use the main lines of this tutorial to do this attached picture. Something doesn’t look as it should be but I don’t know what. Do you have an advice ?

  • user image

    First of all, great tutorial, I managed to use it several times, but (and maybe this is me not being a native english speaker) I was looking for a tutorial to make scars and for me these are cuts. Is it an idea to also explain how to make ‘old’ healed scars. I tried to do the above without the blood but that wasn’t working for me.

  • user image

    Just FYI to fill scar with black, you said shift delete, but it actually is control delete.