How to Age People With Photo Software

Written by heather laurent
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How to Age People With Photo Software
Age your photo by adding wrinkles, sagging skin and grey hair, as seen in this photo. (senior person image by Peter Baxter from

Photo-editing software has traditionally been used to reduce the effects of ageing by removing lines and blemishes from people in digital images. However, if you wish to reverse the process without investing in costly forensic software, you can creatively use the tools in standard editing software to add a few years or more to your subject's apparent age.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Digital image
  • Photo-editing software

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  1. 1

    Import your image to the photo-editing software of your choice. Create a snapshot of your image in your software's "History" panel if you wish to compare the "before" and "after" photos. Search online for a reference photo of an older person who resembles your subject.

  2. 2

    Use "Burn" and "Dodge" tools to create wrinkles. Select the "Burn" tool, choose a small brush size, and set the range to "Midtones." Trace and lengthen the natural creases along the face. Add new lines if necessary that extend directly out from the corners of the eyes and mouth. Choose an even smaller brush size to accent to the larger wrinkles and fill in any gaps. Select the "Dodge" tool to lighten the edge of the wrinkles, providing contrast against the recesses.

  3. 3

    Choose a wider brush setting and use the "Burn" tool to darken areas of the face such as cheeks and under the eyes to make the skin appear more sunken.

  4. 4

    Select the "Dodge" tool to work with the skin on the neck. Create thick, white lines running vertically down the neck with a larger brush size. Trace around each side of the white lines with the "Burn" tool to create shadow, which gives the illusion of protrusion.

  5. 5

    Thin and lighten the eyebrows. Use the "Clone Stamp" tool if your software has one to thin the eyebrows of your subject. Select a point on their forehead as a reference for the stamp and run the brush along the edges of the eyebrows to reduce the number of hairs. Select the "Dodge" tool and run it along the eyebrows to lighten their hue.

  6. 6

    Transform the shape of the face. Select the "Liquefy" mode if your software has it and use the "Push" tool to sag the skin on the cheeks and around the skin. You can optionally use the "Bloat" tool to add weight in the cheeks.

  7. 7

    Yellow the teeth of your subject. As people get older, their teeth become discoloured, especially if they are avid tea or coffee drinkers. Select the "Paint" tool and choose a shade of brownish-yellow from the colour swatch. Set your opacity between 15 per cent and 30 per cent. Paint over your subject's teeth until you have achieved adequate discolouration.

  8. 8

    Gray your subject's hair. Using the "Lasso" tool or by creating a mask, select the hair on your subject. Reduce the saturation level to below 50 per cent, which will make the hair appear grey or white.

  9. 9

    Add liver spots and other small details. Use the "Dropper" tool to sample the skin tone of your subject. Adjust the slider bar to obtain a slightly darker hue. Using the "Paint" tool with a small brush size, add some spots on your subject's forehead and neck. Compare your photo to your "before" reference photo to add other finishing touches to your image.

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