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An increasingly popular and powerful way to present clothing on a website or in a catalog is by using the Ghost Mannequin (or Invisible Mannequin) look. This dynamic, three dimensional representation helps capture and focus a potential customer's interest. It is an exciting alternative to an apparel laydown photo, or a standard model or mannequin shot.
1. Initial Photo
The initial photo is all important. Side plus front lighting to bring out details in the garment.
2. Insert Photos
The insert photos for a shirt include the interior of the collar and cuffs. Turning the garment inside out on the mannequin is a useful trick to get those shots.
3. Making a Selection in Photoshop
I keep saying it, but I usually spend more time in Photoshop working on photos than I do shooting them. The Ghost Mannequin technique is no exception. In fact, it requires more time in the computer than almost any other technique I use. I begin by creating a "selection" of the front of the garment. There are several selection tools in Photoshop, but I often end up drawing what is known as a "clipping path." A clipping path involves tracing a line around the outside edges of an item. Drawing a clipping path can be time consuming but it usually yields the most accurate selection.
|Creating a selection in Photoshop allows me to remove the item from the mannequin and background and have a clean representation of the product to build the Ghost Mannequin effect.|
4. Combining the Images in Photoshop
The next step is to combine my insert photos (in this case, the inside of the collar and cuffs) with my base image in Photoshop. This is as much art as science. First, I create a selection to grab those parts of the inserts that I need. Then I scale and align them with the base image so they appear normal. Then I create shadows along the inside of the inserts to sell the effect. For instance, the front collar of a shirt normally casts a shadow along the interior portions of the collar. These shadows have to be created in Photoshop. Experience and imagination really pay off here since an unnatural-looking shadow can undermine the entire look.
5. Finishing touches
The final image may benefit from a drop shadow on the background, or an entirely new background. I can also do color replacement for clothing offered in more than one color.
That's it - everything you ever wanted to know about creating the Ghost Mannequin look. As always, I welcome any questions or comments. Please check back in a few weeks for my next post.