In this tutorial, we walk you through the process of photographing and compositing images together to create the invisible effect.
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How to Make Yourself Invisible: Photography
Anyone can create the invisibility effect, the key is taking the right pictures to make your job easy in Photoshop. In this tutorial, we guide you through the process of taking multiple photos and provide tips and tricks to make the job easy and fun.
The basic idea behind making yourself invisible has to do with taking a “base image” of yourself or anyone else and then taking supplemental photos to composite over top the base image.
Quick Tip: Focus on photography, most of this effect is completed in camera.
For example, if you want to make your head invisible, you would take a photograph of your head and then another photograph of your shirt in the same place. When you combine these photos together, it will look like the shirt is filled out from the base photo, but there will be no head from the photo of just your shirt.
Here are some tips that will help you photograph this effect.
Use a Sturdy Tripod – The key to making this effect believable is making sure you can composite multiple photos together, and this is much easier when the photos are taken from the same place. Be sure to use a sturdy tripod and don’t move it from picture to picture.
Shoot in Manual Mode with Manual Focus – The last thing you want is your exposure or focus to change from shot to shot, this will make compositing very difficult. After getting your “base image,” lock your exposure and your focus on your camera. In most cases, this will mean shooting in Manual Mode and switching your lens to Manual Focus.
Shoot Tethered to your Computer – It is a big help to tether your camera to your computer while shooting, this will allow you to compare shot to shot to make sure you are getting everything you need for the final composite. Most modern digital cameras can connect to a computer via a USB Cable.
Use Capture One or Lightroom – In order to shoot tethered, you will want to use software that will display images as you shoot. You can use any tethered software you like, but we suggest using Capture One. The reason we use Capture One for this effect is that you can overlay photos, allowing you to see the “base image” while shooting the supplemental photos. We discovered that you can even use the overlay feature with the live view feature on our Canon 5d mkiii. This was a huge help when photographing all the pieces of our composite image.
Mark Positions on Your Camera – If you don’t have the ability to shoot tethered, you can still keep track of where objects are in your photos by marking them on your camera’s LCD with a small piece of tape or a dry erase marker. Just be sure you can get this mark off after your shoot, never use a permanent marker.
Make sure to photograph each area needed to make yourself invisible. In this case, we took individual picture of both sleeves, the collar, the guitar, the hat, and the shorts.
How to Make Yourself Invisible: Photoshop
Once you have assembled all your photos together, it is time to bring everything together in Photoshop.
Don’t forget, you can download the sample images from this tutorial.
To start, place the “base image” on the bottom of your layer stack. This will serve as a foundation in which you will composite all the other photos over. Next, lower the opacity of one of the “invisible” photos of your empty clothing and move it into place to cover the area where skin is showing. If needed, transform the layer and stretch it to fit into the image.
Load a Layer Mask onto the “invisible” layer and fill it with black. Then paint white over the are you would like to be visible. In this case that means covering the skin. If everything lines up properly, it should look like part of your body just disappeared!
Chances are, you will have to do a little bit of adjusting to get everything to fit together properly. Don’t forget you can use tools like the Clone Stamp Tool, or the Healing Brush Tool to blend everything together.
If you find you need to make a well-defined edge, use the Pen Tool to create a selection, then load that selection into the layer mask.
Repeat these steps for each are of the body, completing the invisible effect. Keep in mind that the fewer body parts you want to make invisible, the easier your job will be in Photoshop.
To start, we recommend trying this effect with one or two areas, then once you feel comfortable, moving on to more complex composites.
Don’t give up! You can make yourself invisible! Remember, it is your new superpower.