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Cool Movie Tattoos

Cool Movie Tattoos

The Best Fake Tattoos Are In The MoviesJust like Hollywood has really made a skill out of doing old age makeup, they’ve also finally gotten down the art of making the fake tattoo. Since actors need to change their appearances a lot from role to role, it’s often a good idea to have fake tattoos instead of real ones. Sure you’ll still see plenty of gang and prison tattoos, but the good guy can also literally wear his heart on his sleeve or extend his cool to some badass tribal tattoos. Sometimes a movie gets carried away and puts tattoo all over someone for no apparent reason (other than someone thought it just looked good) but a really great character tattoo adds depth and detail to a personality. Learn how to make your stick on tattoo look just like a genuine tattoo.

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How Are Fake Tattoos Created?The first fake movie tattoos were just painted on with stage makeup. Although you can get elaborate designs with this method, it’s prone to running or smearing if the actor sweats or rubs up against anything. But a lot of really quick tattoo effects can still be done very cheaply this way.

In the 1970s, a company called Temptu invented an alcohol based skin paint. This had to be painted on by hand, but the effects were really realistic and the tattoo designs would stay on in water or if the actor sweated. After a day they could be a bit thrashed so they needed a good amount of touch ups and had to be redone daily. To cover an actor with heavy tattoos would take multiple artists many hours of non stop work to create. Although the formulas have changed a little, you will still find a lot of tattoo effects being done using methods very much like this.

In the late 1990s, a Hollywood makeup artist named Christian Tinsley was hired to do special effects for the movie PEARL HARBOR. They had to do wounds on tons of extras and he was trying to think of a faster way to do the makeup, and could they come up with something that didn’t require so much maintenance. He invented a way of doing the wounds using a skin transfer, sort of a very fancy and technologically modern Cracker Jack tattoo. What he came up with worked, and once he did the tattoos on Vin Diesel for the movie XXX, all of Hollywood wanted his product. Now using these special plastic skin transfers, extremely complex and contemporary tattoos can be applied all over an actor in just a couple of hours and they will last for up to a week.

As much as digital effects are used like crazy to remove or hide tattoos, when it comes to creating them it’s not something that’s big in live action films. First of all, the cost is outrageous. Second, it’s extremely hard to map them to an actor’s body and have them move and look realistic. The old fashioned makeup route is still the way to go for making a true to life appearance so as much as actor’s might hate a few extra hours of makeup per day to appear tattooed, that’s still what works best. The shoulders are Stallone’s own ink, with some character tattooing added.

Viggo Mortensen in EASTERN PROMISES. His Russian gangster tattoos were so realistic, when he went out to a Russian restaurant, he scared other patrons.

Vin Diesel in xXx. These were the movie tattoos that brought modern and cool to fake tattooing.

Matthew McConaughey in REIGN OF FIRE. A modern blackwork style goes really well with extreme devotion to the gym.

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