It’s important for customers to view your apparel product images and immediately feel that they are true to life. A flat or folded display does not provide enough detail for a customer to make a confident buying decision. Customers need to see the shape, fit, length, cut, and other details that are only apparent when worn. How?
Models or mannequins are the most common answer, and they do showcase the shape and fit of an item. Models are expensive however, and both models and mannequins can be distracting. Customers might get caught up in a model’s appearance and are alienated by lifeless mannequins. How can you then create shape without adding distractions?
An invisible mannequin! More specifically, you can solve the problem with Photoshop and a little bit of planning. The “invisible mannequin” effect allows you to take multiple photographs of a product on a model or mannequin, and then combine the photos to remove the model or mannequin in post-production processing. The result is a lifelike image that keeps the focus firmly on your product.
If you want to learn how to create the invisible mannequin effect on your own, we’ve produced two tutorials to walk you through the process. Part I focuses on photography: it covers the studio setup, mannequin selection, and shots required. Part II guides you through post-production: it provides step-by-step instructions for creating layers, refining masks, and combining images in Photoshop. The principles are simple, but the execution can be time- consuming and requires practice to execute efficiently. That’s where we come in.
If you want to quickly and easily integrate advanced post-production processing into your workflow, Pixelz offers the invisible mannequin effect as an add-on to any order specification. It’s slightly more involved than most of our other add-ons because we need specific images from you. Let us walk you through the process.
If you want detailed instructions, including studio setup and mannequin selection, refer to our first tutorial on ghost mannequin photography. We’ll avoid technical details right now in order to explain the basic concept.
In its simplest form, an invisible mannequin image is a combination of two or more images. The first image is on-body. The second and any additional images are flat views of any part of the interior is of the garment that was blocked by your model or mannequin.
Sometimes it’s necessary to combine three images to create the invisible mannequin effect. It all depends on how many separate parts of the garment are blocked by the model or mannequin and need therefore to be reconstructed. Be sure to use the same lighting conditions for all shots.
Not all shots will require the invisible mannequin effect. Most garments don’t require the effect for the rear view for example, because the back of a garment tends to be larger than the front.
Exceptions to this rule are for example, rear views of bras, g-strings, swimwear or any garment with a low back.
Think of it this way: regardless of the angle the image is taken from, is anything blocked from view by the model or mannequin? If the answer is “yes,” then you should use the invisible mannequin effect. If the answer is “no,” you don’t need to use the invisible mannequin effect.
To place an order for the invisible mannequin service, you need to create an order specification containing the “Invisible Mannequin” add-on.
1. Select the Invisible Mannequin add-on that can be found in step 6 when you create a new specification.
4. Now it’s time to choose a name for your spec. Select a name that describes the specification and makes it easy to differentiate it within your account later.
Duplicate Your Spec Minus the Invisible Mannequin
Create an almost identical order specification for shots of your item that won’t be used to create an invisible mannequin; specifically, images of the back. Many apparel types, like jackets and men’s shirts, don’t have backs that are suited for the invisible mannequin effect.
Duplicate your order specification but don’t add on the invisible mannequin. Make sure you upload those back images separately using the duplicated spec. This will save you time and money.
Create an Order
Now, it’s time to upload your images. Invisible mannequin images need to be sent as sets of images rather than on their own. There are two ways of connecting, or “pairing,” images.
Pair images using ‘Combine images’ function
This the most straightforward method, especially for beginners. After you upload your images into the system, use the “Combine Images” function to tell the system which images belong together. This option is only available when you upload via the website.
<Pair automatically using naming convention
This is is the most efficient method for large volume, and requires naming your images in such a way that the system is able to automatically combine the relevant images together. This option is available both for FTP and web uploads. If you upload via FTP, you must use this method.
Pairing Images Manually – Step by Step Instructions
1. Start by selecting “Upload” on the home page, or “New” on the Orders page to initiate a new order.
2. Next you need to upload your images. You can use any of the options in the upload tab. The most common method is to upload directly from your hard drive using the “Upload from PC” option.
3. Upload your images and click on “Continue”.
4. On the “Create New Order” page, select your invisible mannequin specification and click again on “Continue”.
5. You will now see a pop-up asking if the system should automatically detect the images which belong together based on the file names. Click “No, I”ll do it manually.”
6. To pair the images together, simply click on the “Combine images” button and then click on each of the images you wish to combine. When the pair or set of images are displayed in the “Combine” box, click “Save.”
The images are now saved as a “Combination Set” and will be returned as one combined invisible mannequin image.
You can click on the main image of each combination set to see all of the images within the set.
Continue this process until all of the images you uploaded are sorted into combination sets. When you’re finished, click “Pay Now” to complete the order process.
Pair Using Naming Convention
You may choose this option when uploading via the web, but you must use this option when uploading via FTP or the upload will fail. To successfully pair your images, you must name them according to the naming convention below.
Each image in a combination set must have the same root name. Each additional image should have a different ending (suffix).
The ending can be whatever you like, though numbers or words describing the different shots are the most common.
You can use either a dash (-) or an underscore (_) to divide the root from the ending. It’s not necessary to add an ending to the first image (though you can if you prefer).
Examples of Correct Image Naming:
The above will be combined into myimage.jpg.
The above will be combined into imagename.jpg.
Get Your Images Back in 24 Hours or Less
After your order has been placed and your images are uploaded, your work is done. Our expert image editors will complete your order in 24 hours or less.
When it’s ready, you will receive an email from us letting you know your images have been edited and are ready for download. You can review and approve or reject them using our Quality Inspector, which gives you side-by-side before-and-after comparisons.
eCommerce is fiercely competitive. You may only have a few seconds with a single image to catch a customer’s eye before they move on. Maximize that opportunity with effects like the invisible mannequin. Give yourself the best possible chance with professionally edited product photography that is clean, consistent, and distraction free.