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Ghost Mannequin Photography Part II: Edit your Images Using this 3D Effect to Sell More


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Follow these steps to make your apparel product images look supernatural!

Using mannequins for your product images is an efficient and cost-effective way to promote your products.

Mannequins allow your products to hold their shapes, which can make product images seem more professional and consistent. However, mannequins can be distracting, so a great alternative is to create a ghost mannequin effect for your product images, like the one below:

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At first glance, this type of image may appear to be difficult to reproduce. It’s important to understand how you need to photograph your products in order to make the post-production process more effective.

Creating a ghost mannequin effect is actually quite simple given that you own the proper post-production software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop) and that your products have been photographed correctly. You can also outsource this editing work to professional editors and get back your ghost mannequin images in 24 hours, ready to sell.

In order to create this desired effect, we will follow a simple process that consists in combining two images of the product.

Take a look at the two “base” images that we used to create our ghost mannequin example:

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Using some of your own suitable product shots (e.g. a clothed mannequin and a top-down shot of your product turned inside-out and laid flat), follow these simple steps to create your own ghost mannequin effect in Photoshop:

Step One: Open your files in Photoshop and create layers.

First, you will need to open the mannequin image and the top-down image in Photoshop. Select your mannequin image and create a new background layer. Fill that layer in with white; it will serve as your overall background when you’re finished. It’s also helpful to label your layers so that you can tell them apart and remain organized.

Step Two: Use a selection tool to select the dress in the mannequin image.

Now it’s time to select the product in your mannequin image. Zoom in tight and choose your favorite selection tool: quick selection, lasso, or magic wand. All three can help you to accomplish your desired selection. Keep in mind that, in most cases, using a white background when shooting allows you to remove the mannequin easily because of the color separation between the product and the background.

Step Three: Refine and place your mask.

Once you have selected the entire product, refine your mask so that it is nice and tight, eliminating all of the background and mannequin. This can be accomplished using the Refine Edge tool in the Select menu. Click OK in the Refine Edge dialogue box and place a mask on your shirt layer. At this point, you should see your product floating freely on the white background that you created in the beginning. If necessary, refine the mask slightly more and/or refine the product’s edges again to give it a nice, clean look.

Step Four: Rinse and repeat previous steps with the top-down image.

Now, it’s time to switch gears and repeat Steps One, Two and Three on your top-down product image. This type of product image may seem a little odd at first, but having one to work with is important; photographing the product inside-out will allow you to show the inside back of the dress, completing the mannequin illusion. We promise that it will look great in the end! Create a new layer, select out the product, and create and refine your mask.

Step Five: Combine the images.

When both images contain tight, clean masks, drag the mask from your top-down image over to the image of your ghost mannequin product image. Organize the layers so that the top-down image is lower than the mannequin image. Then, adjust the positioning of the top-down layer and adjust its proportions so that it fits perfectly behind the mannequin layer, just below the shoulder in a rounded curve.

Step Six: Remove unnecessary parts of the top-down layer.

At this point, it’s a good idea to “hide” your mannequin layer and brush out the unneeded parts of the top-down layer. You really only need to keep that neckline triangle between the shoulders. In the video below, notice how the string across the back is showing as well. It’s important to remember to remove that piece in the top-down image because it’s already in place in the mannequin shot. Once you’ve done this, double check that your layers are clean and that nothing is out of alignment.

Step Seven: Add shadows and save.

Finally, add a shadow between the two layers to give the product some depth, and save a copy of the Photoshop file with all of the layers intact, just to be safe. Once you’ve saved the layer file, flatten or merge all of the layers together and save the image again as a different file. This final step will make your image look professional and realistic.

Need a little extra advice? Watch the tutorial below for a step-by-step guide to the process.

As you can see, by taking into account these steps, you can create your own professional apparel product images having the ghost mannequin effect.

However if you want to have your images ready in 24 hours or less having this smart 3D effect you can send us your images and we’ll do the work for you. Contact our customer service team to learn more about this feature.

Remember that this effect on your product images will not only make your products look more attractive and unique, it will also bring the look of your online store to a highly professional level.