Visual Computing

@IST Austria

Skin-Screen: A Computational Fabrication Framework for Color Tattoos



ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2023)


Tattoos are a highly popular medium, with both artistic and medical applications. Although the mechanical process of tattoo application has evolved historically, the results are reliant on the artisanal skill of the artist. This can be especially challenging for some skin tones, or in cases where artists lack experience. We provide the first systematic overview of tattooing as a computational fabrication technique. We built an automated tattooing rig and a recipe for the creation of silicone sheets mimicking realistic skin tones, which allowed us to create an accurate model predicting tattoo appearance. This enables several exciting applications including tattoo previewing, color retargeting, novel ink spectra optimization, color-accurate prosthetics, and more.

Submission Video


author = { Michal Piovar\v{c}i and Alexandre Chapiro] and Bernd Bickel},
title = {Skin-Screen: A Computational Fabrication Framework for Color Tattoos},
journal = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH)},
year = {2023},
volume = {42},
number = {4}


We thank Todor Asenov and the Miba Machine Shop for their help in assembling the tattoo machine and manufacturing the substrates. We thank Geysler Rodrigues for the insightful discussions on tattooing practices from a professional artist’s perspective. We thank Maria Fernanda Portugal for sharing a doctor’s perspective on medical applications of tattoos. This work is graciously supported by the FWF Lise Meitner (Grant M 3319).