How to Make Real-Looking Piercings in Photoshop

Written by heather laurent
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How to Make Real-Looking Piercings in Photoshop
Get a piercing without the commitment by adding a fake one to your photo in Photoshop. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Experience the novelty of a body piercing without the pain and permanence of a real one by adding a piercing to your photo in Photoshop. If you plan to get a real piercing, you can also use Photoshop to experiment with different piercings and see which one you like best. Adding a piercing in Photoshop is surprisingly easy -- with just a few tools and layer styles, you'll have your own faux piercing in no time.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Load Photoshop. Select "File" and then "Open" to import your image. Portraits work best for adding piercings, as the head and face are large enough for the piercing to show well.

  2. 2

    Select the "Elliptical Marquee" tool from the toolbox. You can find it under the "Rectangular Marquee" tool. Choose "Fixed Ratio" from the "Style" drop-down menu. Enter a value of 1 for the width and height. Click and drag the circle where you want the piercing to appear.

  3. 3

    Choose "Select," "Modify" and then "Border." Enter a value of 3 pixels in the dialogue box and press "OK" to apply the border to your piercing.

  4. 4

    Select "Layer," "New" and then "Layer." Press "OK" to create a new layer for your piercing. Select "Edit" and then "Fill." Under "Contents," choose "50% Gray" from the drop-down menu in the Fill dialogue box. Set the blending mode to "Normal" and the opacity to 100 per cent. Your piercing now has a metallic colour.

  5. 5

    Choose "Edit," "Transform" and then "Perspective" to match the perspective of your piercing to the angle of your subject's head. Shift the individual anchor points on the transform plane until you achieve a realistic angle for your piercing that corresponds with the angle of your subject. Press "Enter" to apply the changes.

  6. 6

    Select the "Eraser" tool from the toolbox. Choose a brush size of 3 pixels to 5 pixels. Click and drag the tool to erase the areas of the piercing that should be hidden under the skin.

  7. 7

    Right-click on the piercing layer in the Layers panel and choose "Blending Options." Click on "Bevel and Emboss" in the Layer Styles dialogue box. Choose "Inner Bevel" for the style and "Smooth" for the technique. Choose a size of about 5 pixels. Adjust the shading angle by dragging the anchor point in the circle until the lighting looks realistic. Choose a gloss contour that flatters your piercing. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

  8. 8

    Right-click on the piercing layer and select "Flatten Image" to merge your layers. Select the "Burn" tool from the toolbox. Choose a brush size of 1 pixels to 3 pixels and an exposure of 70 per cent. Select "Midtones" as your range. Darken the area around the entrance of your piercing to create the illusion of a hole.

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