Converting Portrait Photos to Portrait Tattoos


Infocomm - Video/Image Processing


This technology takes a portrait photo, a reference portrait tattoo and a skin image as input.

The region in the portrait photo which will be transformed to a synthetic portrait tattoo, is selected by the user manually. The region in the skin image where the portrait tattoo should be painted is also selected by the user manually.

A series of image processing methods including alpha-matting, sketch extraction, facial landmarks detection are applied on the portrait photo to enhance the image and extract the portrait detail information.

A colour mapping algorithm based on histogram mapping is designed to calculate the colour for tattooing portrait tattoo image. A tattoo needle model is applied to generate high resolution portrait tattoo images. The size and orientation of the model is decided automatically by the algorithm. The colour used in the tattoo needle is selected from the colour mapping results. The tattoo needle setting is decided by the user in order to generate the portrait tattoo that meets the user’s expectation.


The features and specifications of this technology are:

1)    The synthetic portrait tattoo colour and style are customizable.

2)    This technique supports both middle-resolution and high-resolution.

3)    Facial landmarks of portrait image are used in the pre-processing for enhancement.

4)    Alpha-matting technique is employed for portrait segmentation.

5)    Shading around the portrait tattoo is customizable.

6)    Portrait region is rotated automatically to match the shape of the skin area.

7)    This technique is able to generated synthetic tattoo sticker image.

8)    No requirement for alignment between portrait image and reference portrait tattoo.


This technology can be developed into smart phone application which allows user to take a portrait photo and convert it into portrait tattoo. This will also allow the user to preview the portrait tattoo before they actually make the tattoo on their own body.

Market Trends & Opportunities

Tattooing portraits of loved ones is a popular form of love expression and tribute. Putting a portrait tattoo on a body without seeing it before would easily cause bitter quarrels and even legal disputes. Therefore, customers would love to have an application which allows them to preview the portrait tattoo.

Photography and beautify applications become more and more popular in mobile platforms. An application which can convert a portrait photo into a portrait tattoo would attract the attention of young generation who are more willing to experience something new and interesting.


Customer can preview the portrait tattoo before the tattooists actually tattoo it on their body. It will let customer make a wise choice and reduce quarrels and disputes between customer and tattooists.

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