Skip to content

How to Create a Ghost Mannequin

What if there was a way to showcase your apparel online in 3D, showing potential customers the exact fit and style of your garments as if they were viewing them in real life? And what if you could do it without breaking the bank? Let’s enter the ghost mannequin effect. 

What is the Ghost Mannequin Effect?

The ghost mannequin effect also called “the invisible effect” refers to a process where retailers eliminate the mannequins from photos of garments like shirts, jackets, and pants. As if the clothes were posed on an invisible model, you can see both the interior and exterior of the garment, creating a 3D effect.

There are a few reasons why content creators and retailers love this effect:

1.    Using a mannequin is much more cost-effective than hiring a model. You don’t need a model to pose for your photos in 3D.

2.    It gives customers a better idea of how the product looks without the visual distraction of a mannequin, and it looks professional and unique.

3.    It helps customers visualize the fit of the product.

Want to try it out? In this guide, we’ll show you how to take ghost mannequin photos of your own.

How to Master the Ghost Mannequin Effect

1.    Choose appropriate mannequins

Matte white mannequins are ideal for ghost mannequin photography, as they are easy to erase from the photos later. Select a mannequin that will allow you to pose your garments however you’d like. Static, neutral poses are best.

2.    Pick your gear

To take ghost mannequin photos, you’ll need a high-quality camera, a tripod for stability, a white backdrop, and lighting softboxes.

3.    Plan the shoot

Select the products you plan to photograph and make sure you have all the necessary mannequins and styling tools to make them look great in the studio. Ensure you have adequate lighting. Remember, each finalized image will require at least three to four shots. It can sometimes take more, especially when the product has an atypical or abstract shape. You’ll probably need an extra set of hands to get the shots right for a good composition.

4.    Place the products

How you pose and style your garments is just as essential as lighting for ghost mannequin photography. The products should hang naturally. Sleeves should drape naturally to the side and collars should be fixed. Set the camera at chest level for tops and at hip height for bottoms. 

5.    Capture the images

You’ll need at least three to four shots for each outfit:

  1. Front and back shots on a mannequin
  2. Front and back shots on a white foam board. These shots work as a visual filler when you eliminate the mannequin. These shots also allow you to highlight the inner details like stitching, lining, etc.
  3. Inside-out or inlay shots of the outfit to fill the gap when removing the mannequin

6.    Try different angles

While it’s important to keep your poses fairly static, you can play around with angles and poses to create visual interest in the finished photos. Capturing multiple angles of the product also helps to increase trust for your customers because it enables them to see the garment in full before they decide to buy.

7.    Edit the photos

Now for the hard part: removing the mannequins from the photos. It’s entirely possible to use Photoshop to complete this task on your own—but it’s a complex, time-consuming process, and bear in mind that you’ll have to repeat it for every single garment you photograph.

However, making ghost mannequins doesn’t have to be complicated. How? We suggest using autoRetouch to automatically eliminate mannequins and combine images.

This AI-powered tool generates ghost mannequins with the following steps:

1.    The backdrop is removed from the product and inlay images.

2.    The inlay and product photos are seamlessly combined.

3.    The inlay seam is warped to apply a 3D effect.

4.    Image depth is added with a shadow effect.

5.    If necessary, the edges are refined for a polished look.

Best part? With autoRetouch, the whole process takes about 5 seconds. 

Why Choose autoRetouch Over Manual Editing?

Until recently, the ghost mannequin effect was a fully manual, multi-step, time-consuming, and costly editing process. But with autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin generator, you can create ghost mannequin images quickly and affordably without Photoshop or the expense of hiring an editor. All you have to do is take the photos—everything else is fully automated.

In addition, the tool exports files in PSD format so you can add any finishing touches you want. In the same workflow, you can automate vector paths or fabric swatch extraction. The software also can compare the edited and original images. The end results are incredibly lifelike and fully customizable 3D photos. The software offers pay-as-you-go credits, so it’s also a cost-effective solution, especially compared to the time and money involved in doing the process by hand.

Tips for Taking Great Ghost Mannequin Photos

  1. Ensure the mannequin’s arms are hanging down and legs are uncrossed. For easier posing, choose mannequins with detachable body parts.
  2. Clip back long hair or jewelry.
  3. Keep the camera and lighting consistent when photographing the inlay images.
  4. Choose neutral and non-reflective backdrops, like white or gray.
  5. Before shooting, steam or iron the garments. Ensure that your attire fits the mannequin perfectly, using clips or pins to perfect the fit if needed.
  6. Hold the bottoms taut by hand and keep the waistline straight for inlay images.
  7. Be careful of the camera angle and height. If your photos are not even and consistent, it will be much harder to get a good end result.

Bottom Line

The ghost mannequin effect looks chic and impressive, and you’d think it would be challenging to pull off—but with modern AI tools, posing your clothes on invisible mannequins is as easy as snapping the photos. With autoRetouch, you can automate the entire process and level up your product photography in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for a way to make your apparel more exciting to consumers online, why not give ghost mannequin photography a try?