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Retouching transparent clothes

Another issue is the garments made of transparent materials that normally look very ugly when put on a mannequin. Or the garments with a multitude of holes that make them tricky to isolate and retouch. A typical solution would be shooting such items as flat lays instead.

A good solution for slightly transparent clothes, and also a way how to fight with the mannequin seams seeing through would be using a white long turtleneck with or without sleeves to put on a mannequin under the garment. It really is a wonderful idea to use one when your mannequins get shabby and dark from excessive use.

Mannequin seams are a problem – and they don't mention it in the removable neck mannequins ads

It really helps with semi-transparent items, not those that are completely see-through, just light and thin materials. This white t-shirt, for instance, is not transparent, but if you put it on a mannequin, you'll be able to see all the seams through it. When you order mannequins and they just get delivered to you, they are nice and white. But after years of constant use, they become more and more dirty and shabby. The parts that you can take off have strong magnets inside them, they pull with significant force and plastic hits plastic pretty hard. Sometimes these parts break on impact or get chipped. So if you don't want to remove all the big dark seams while trying to preserve all the texture, this is a very good idea – to put a white long sleeve on a mannequin as a base layer. It will save you a lot of time. But the deal is that you won't always be so lucky.

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So let's see what you can do in cases when there's just a mannequin and you have to remove all the seams by yourself. I did the isolation and the backside insertion already, now let's concentrate on the seams. These seams are basically just dark spots on a light surface but don't expect to be able to get rid of them by using the Brush in Lighten mode. Not on a texture like this, and not with the shape like this. You can try, but it won't work. Either the dark patches won't go away, or you will destroy the texture or both. Frequencies Splitting won't help either, because you'll have to deal with the problem twice, first on the low frequency layer and then on the high frequency layer. So don't expect any easy solutions here. If there was no texture, it would be easier, but in cases like this one, the Spot Healing is the tool of choice. You can also use the Clone Stamp if the Spot Healing tool doesn't work, but it doesn't change the fact you have to work carefully. Start on the hi-res image and remove most of the spots, then resize and finish whatever is left.


There's no way around this manual healing work, so seams are something that we'd rather avoid than retouch. Problem is, only photographers and assistants are able to do something about it, and it's not like they are going to do it voluntarily without any guidance. But if I could convince them to use a white turtleneck, I would eagerly buy one with my own money – you can't imagine how much time it saves.

Doesn't look so great, does it?

Not everything can be put on a mannequin and shot in a nice way though. There are many items that don’t look great on a mannequin at all. This is especially true about transparent clothes. It might not be so evident while the mannequin is still there, but cut it away and you'll see that the result is far from perfect. You can see that the hands are still there, under the transparent material, and they are not supposed to be here. But can you remove them in Photoshop? Not really.

Transparent mannequins can be used instead of the traditional ones

The deal is that you're not supposed to shoot transparent clothes on opaque mannequins. There are special transparent mannequins for this kind of items. Cut the mannequin away, work on the symmetry, Liquify it a little bit. Then cover the seams up, as there's just a couple of them and it won't take long. In the end, you'll have a decent item.

Regular mannequin vs transparent mannequin

Which do you think is easier to retouch and better looking, the image on the left, or the image on the right? The problem is that there's no quick and simple way how to make a transparent item look nice if it was not shot on a transparent mannequin. The whole idea of the invisible mannequin technique is that the mannequin is not supposed to be in the final image. It's just not possible when the item itself is transparent. But if the mannequin is transparent as well, it makes everything much easier. And mannequins like this one are not expensive at all, which is also a good reason for buying one.

Even short sleeves look weird on a mannequin with no arms

But even if you have a transparent mannequin, it doesn't mean you can use it for all kinds of see-through clothes. There's another problem – this time with the sleeves. Transparent mannequins don't have any hands or even arms, so if you're trying to shoot long sleeves, they will just hang there and look sort of flat. I know that transparent mannequins with hands exist, so if it's possible to buy one, the problem of sleeves might be solved. But in the places where I worked, they were not available. So if you're in a situation where you have a lot of transparent items, especially with long sleeves, you might not be able to shoot them on a mannequin at all. But there's another way of shooting items like that without any equipment – flat lays. We will discuss this matter in the next chapter of the course, as soon as we finish with the underwear.

Next: Underwear on mannequins


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