Aging People

This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to add on the years to almost anybody. It’s basically a practice using the Burn and Dodge tools. This is a fairly advanced tutorial, so it helps to have a little bit of artistic talent, even though I don’t. Go ahead and select the Burn tool [O].


Now, I might have a slight advantage, since I’m using a Wacom tablet. Tablets are the perfect compliment to Photoshop for almost any project. If you have the means, I highly suggest picking up at least a Wacom Graphire 3. You can usually find them for under $100. Tablets let you control the sensitivity of your brushes by how much pressure you apply.


If you don’t have a tablet, then you’ll want to get used to using your [Enter] key on your number pad. This allows you to quickly jump to your Exposure setting in the Options bar. You’ll also want to get familiar with your [{] and [}] keys. These keys allow you to quickly adjust your brush size. Ready?

Another helpful tip, is to go to [Window > Arrange > New Window]. This will duplicate the window, not the image, and allow you to keep one window at 100%, while you do your work in the zoomed-in window. This helps you from having to repeatedly zoom in and out.

Let’s open the photo of the person that we’re going to be aging. I chose this photo of Salma Hayek, for one, cause she’s hot, and for two, she already has a bit of natural wrinkle going on… which is good to start with.


Select a small brush size of 2 or 3. Make sure the Range is set to “Midtones” in your Options bar. Start with the eye area and start brushing some straight lines for the wrinkles. Now these won’t look too realistic yet, so hold the [Alt] key and trace the lines you just made. This will highlight (Dodge) and add some depth to the wrinkles.


Now start tracing the natural lines of the face and extend the lines a little bit. This will strengthen and lengthen the natural wrinkles.


Now choose an even smaller brush size of 1 or 2, and add some “accent” wrinkles. Use the same Burn, then Dodge technique.


Select a wider brush size of around 4 or 5. Lower the Exposure to around 3-4% and darken in the areas around her eyes, the cheeks, and some of the wrinkles.

Now go to the neck region. Up your Exposure a bit, hold the [Alt] key and create some thick white lines vertically on her neck. Let got of the [Alt] key and trace the light lines. Add a little bit more shadow if you need, and try to make it blend into the chin.


Now you can go back and add any little accent wrinkles you want.


Now choose the Brush Tool [B] and select the Grass brush.


Open the Brushes palette [Window > Brushes] and under the Shape Dynamics, check on the Flip X Jitter and Flip Y Jitter checkboxes.


Choose a white foreground color and a grey background color. Create a new layer, and shrink your brush size to around 5 or 7. Paint in the eyebrows a little bit. Set the Layer Mode to “Hard Light” and you might want to lower the Opacity a bit. This will add some grey highlights to the eyebrows.


Now you can go back and add some forehead wrinkles, and darken the teeth a little bit. Create a new layer and choose the Brush Tool [B] choose a darker skintone color, and paint some liver spots. Set the Layer mode to Multiply and adjust the opacity.


Now choose a thin brush and the Brush tool. Choose a grey color and paint in some hair strands. Lower the opacity, create another layer, and do it again. This will add some depth to the grey hair.


And that’s about it. It’s hard to write a tutorial like this, because it’s more about technique than the process. Hopefully, with some practice, you can get pretty good at this.





Good luck!

Update: If you would like to learn how to do the opposite, check out Fountain of Youth by Lachlan Phillips.

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Comments Spill 17 Comments »

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  4. December 13, 2008 5:57 amJens

    Thats a great way to do the wrinkle part, but for aging there is something more to do, otherwise it just looks like a young face with wrinkles.
    At least some work with liquify is needed to show the effects of gravity under the eyes and on the cheek. Also the nose and ears won’t stop growing when aging, making them a little bit bigger will make the effect of aging more realistic.
    For the Hairpart it helped me to make it a little bit thinner especially at the hairline in this example.

    But you did a great job, thank you.

  5. December 15, 2008 2:22 amFour Great Aging Tutorials | PSDVIBE - Tutorials and Resources

    [...] Aging People [...]

  6. January 3, 2009 5:14 pmAlte Leute

    [...] mich mit einem Kommentar auf ein interessantes Tutorial aufmerksam gemacht. Es geht um das Thema Aging People, also um die künstliche Alterung von Menschen. Nicht so leicht, aber es ist ja auch ein kleiner [...]

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  10. April 27, 2009 8:18 pmraphnexx development catalyst

    This is absolutely awesome. Got to learn the basic first.

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  15. May 27, 2009 1:46

    Aging People | Effects, Photography, Tutorials | Photoshop Lab…

    Aging People | Effects, Photography, Tutorials | Photoshop Lab…

  16. July 11, 2009 12:03 pmSales Engineer

    Interesting, but more work is needed to achieve the authentic result of the ‘old – to- young’ example given at the end of your article.

  17. October 5, 2009 3:47 amPhotoshop Tutorials for Photo Touch-Ups | Cosmos Blog -- Internet News,Life,Culture,Polices,Resource,Make Money

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