Making a T-Shirt Mock-Up Ready

Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Photoshop Version: Photoshop CC 2017

Much of my last semester was spent masking t-shirts so that I could put my own logos on them. While this is a tedious process that makes one feel cheap and small time, it is a great way to learn about the bread and butter of photoshop: the layer mask.

Step 1. 

Start off with an image of someone in a t-shirt. Then add a layer mask. The layer mask is located in the bottom right hand side in Photoshop, in the layer panel. It may also be accessed by going to layer up at the top, down to layer mask, and then over to reveal all. This will give you a blank layer mask.

Step 2. 

Next, use the paintbrush tool (while having the layer mask selected) to mask large areas of the image around the t-shirt. If the color black is selected for the brush, it will mask the image. If the color white is selected, the brush will reveal the image. As a result, you can unmask anything you accidentally mask, simply by changing to white and brushing over the area. Select the color black for your paint brush in order to start masking.

Step 3. 

You can find your brush settings in the top left corner of Photoshop. This allows you to control the hardness and size of your brush. When masking large areas it is better to have a harder brush, so that you can get closer to the part of the image you want to isolate, without softly getting rid of what you want to keep. Also, make sure the opacity of you brush is at 100% for full effect. This control is found up on the top left bar.

Step 4. 

Mask all the material around the t-shirt, including the head and the arms, getting as close to the t-shirt as possible.

Step 5. 

Now, go up to your brush controls and select a brush that both feathers and is on the softest setting. You can find one in the top left corner. Set the brush’s size to about 5 pixels.

Step 6. 

Zoom in until you can see each pixel by using the key command, “command +”.

Step 7. 

Now painstakingly mask around the entire t-shirt, erasing up to the first 5 pixels. Make sure that the fringe you can see around the t-shirt is totally gone. There are functions that do this masking for you, but in order to learn you must  mask by hand. By pressing the \ key the layer mask will turn light red. This allows you to see where you may have accidentally left a small, low opacity smudge.

Step 8. 

Zoom out using command minus every couple of minutes just to make sure you are keeping with the form of the t-shirt and are reminding yourself how long this is going to take.

Step 9. 

Be sure to take away all the shadows at the sides of the shirt that were caused by your models now nonexistent arms.

Step 10. 

Do not be afraid to sacrifice some of the shirt, no one will be able to tell.

Step 11. 

Keep going

Step 12. 

Almost there

Step 13. 

Now that you have completed the shirt. Double click on the layer and select color overlay.

Step 14

Double click on the grey color box next to the blending mode and set the color to black.

Step 15. 

Then set the opacity to 85%.

Step 16.

Change the blending style mode to multiply.

Step 17. 

Go over to the rectangle tool, located at the bottom of the tool bar on the left. If you are like me, the rectangle you make will be black and cover your t-shirt.

Step 18.

Go over to the properties panel, click on the color, and select white.

Step 19.

Then drag the rectangle layer below the t-shirt layer.

Congratulations, you have completed the tutorial