PSDFan Extra

How to Turn Yourself Invisible

Images Used

Here is a list of images used in this tutorial:

Final Image

This is the final image that will be achieved through following this tutorial:

Step 1

Open up an image of a woman. Try to find an image with a plain background, as it will make things easier. However, if you find yourself working with a more complex background there are ways around it.

Step 2

Duplicate your original photo layer, just so that you can retain the original incase anything goes wrong. The hide the original layer. Use your path tool to track around the woman’s face and neck. Make sure that you path tool is set to ‘paths’ not ‘shape layer’ (you can see this in your top tools menu).

Then with your path in place, switch to your paths palette, and click the icon for ‘turn path into selection’. Then hit delete to delete this selection, leaving the woman without a face/neck.

Step 3

Now create a new layer beneath your original hidden photo layer called ‘background yellow’. Then select all of your canvas (option+a) and use your eye dropper tool to select the yellow from your photos background. Then fill your layer with this yellow. This should fill your empty face area with yellow, replacing the white.

Step 4

Now return to your photo layer where you cut away the woman’s face/neck. Duplicate it, and then select the initial, bottom layer (not the very original photo you started with, but the original photo with the cutout face). Now select your clone stamp tool. Make your clone stamp size around 40-50px and your hardness around 30-40%. Then begin cloning parts of your woman’s hair and using this data to fill in the empty space where her face used to be. To use your clone stamp tool remember to hold alt and click on the data you want to copy, and then release alt and click where you want to copy it to. Try to keep copying different areas of the original hair, rather than keep pasting in the same data. This should let you avoid creating a patchy look, as you want to try and retain the flowing locks of hair in the original image.

The images below show the various stages of cloning the woman’s hair. Note how the cloned hair does not cover the woman’s existing hair or clothes, as these have been copied onto a top layer.

Step 5

Ok, this is looking pretty damn freaky so far, but also quite cool. Time to make the effect more realistic though. The first thing that I notice looking at my image is that the cloned hair goes all the way down past her top, and given the length of the hair on her shoulders, the back of her hair wouldn’t be quite this long. I use my lasso selection tool to cut away the bottom part of the cloned hair, exposing the yellow background slightly.

Step 6

Obviously we cannot leave the bottom of her hair looking so straight though, so I use my clone stamp tool and copy/paste the parts of her hair flicking up on her shoulder, to try and get a nice natural, flicky base.

This step doesn’t need to look absolutely perfect, but just try to get it looking somewhat more natural.

Step 7

Now with your cloned hair layer selected select a 60px large paintbrush (black), with 0% hardness. Set the brushes mode to ‘color burn’ and it’s opacity to 3%. Then begin darkening areas of your cloned hair, paying particular attention to the edges of the cloned area. You want to give the impression of the original hair casting a shadow on the edges of the cloned area, but the middle section of cloned hair remaining slightly lighter as some natural light would reach this part.

Step 8

Now select your top layer (the photo with the face cutout) and use your burn brush (reduced to around 25px in size) to burn the part where the top part of hair merges with the cloned hair. You want to burn it a lot, to give the impression that it is retreating backwards into the area where the woman’s head used to be.

Step 9

Now switch your brush mode to ‘color dodge’ and change it’s color to white. Then brush over the areas of original hair that look to be most highlighted. You want to emphasize these highlights, particularly at the edges where they merged with the cloned hair area. The idea is to create more of a contrast between the two areas of hair, as to give the impression of a difference in depth.

Step 10

Now to emphasize this depth use your smudge tool to create extra strands of her that cross over from the woman’s original hairline to the cloned, darker area. This should make the image look more natural, as the original selection of the face and neck did not account for details like stray hairs. For a nice effect set your smudge tool to 1px in size, and 80% strength. To make some strands of hair more obviously smudge over the same area multiple times.

Step 11

Now switch back to a black, ‘color burn’ brush, and darken the bottom-side areas of the woman’s hair, to give the impression that they’re going back into the cloned area. Be sure to leave the top areas with the strands of hair un-burned, as you want these areas to be the most prominent/highlighted.

Step 12

Now switch to a white, color burn brush and select your cloned hair layer. It’s looking a little too dark in the middle part, so brush over this multiple times until it’s more highlighted. Leave the edges darker though, as these areas require an intense shadow. This is looking better, but I find that by using the color burn tool the colors become too bright and intense, even if the lightness is looking better. To fix this I switch my brush to ‘saturation’ mode, and brush over the lightened area. This effectively desaturates the image the more you brush over it, so keep going until it looks about right.

Step 13

To make the transition between highlight/shadow in the cloned hair area more subtle I create a new layer above my ‘cloned hair’ layer called ‘subtle shadow’. I select a black brush (size: 25px, opacity 10%, mode: normal) and subtley brush over my highlighted area, gently blending it into my shadowed edges. To make this effect all the more subtle I reduce the opacity of my ‘subtle shadows’ layer to 95%.

Step 14

I’m going to leave the hair for now. Instead, I want to create a back to the woman’s top, which would have previously been covered by her neck. I go to my top layer (‘faceless woman’) and use my lasso tool to select roughly around the neckline of her top and some of her torso. Then I copy/paste this selection onto a new layer. Then I move the new layer beneath ‘faceless woman’ and use my edit>transform>scale tool to make the image less high (but the same width). By dragging up the bottom of my image, the top appears to be behind the original.

Step 15

Now with my copied top layer selected I go to image>adjustments>brightness/contrast. I reduce my brightness to -40 and my contrast to -15.

Step 16

Now I use a burn brush to darken the bottom of this copied top area, trying to give the impression of depth between the front/back of the woman’s top.

Step 17

If you notice in the previous step the woman’s top is showing some signs of transparency, which looks unrealistic. This is likely from some erasing in a previous step. However, not to worry! To fix this simply select the left side of the top’s neckline using your lasso tool and copy/paste this onto a new layer. Then go to edit>transform>flip horizontal. Move the flipped image to cover the semi-transparent right side. Merge the flipped images with the original layers beneath them.

Step 18

The back of the woman’s top is looking good, but is a little too saturated compared to the front half. To reduce the saturation I go to image>adjustments>hue/saturation and then reduce the saturation to -45.

Step 19

Now to really try and push the realism of this piece I want to add a label to the back of the woman’s top. Adding small details like this is a great way to make your photo manips more realist. To make the label fit with the top OK, I reduce it’s opacity to around 35% so that it takes on some of the shadows of the darker back part of the top.

Step 20

Now that we’re done with the top, I return to the hair. It’s looking pretty decent, but I use the previous technique of smudging out strands of hair on the bottom of the cloned hair section. This just makes it look a bit more natural.

Step 21

Now create a new top layer called ‘hide arm 1′. Select around the left arm of the woman using your lasso tool and then fill your selection with a color taken from the surrounding background using the eyedropper tool. Since the background is not all the exact same color the colored arm selection won’t blend perfectly. To fix this, grab a large brush of the fill color with 0% hardness, and blend the edges of your arm nicely.

Step 22

Repeat this technique with the second arm.

Step 23

Parts of the hair resting on the woman’s shoulder become covered by the shapes hiding her arms, and naturally if the arms were not there, the hair would fall down more. To make these areas of hair look more natural I cover up the very bottoms of the sections using a background-colored paintbrush, and then give the shortened hair a natural edge using the stray hair smudge effect. The change is very subtle, but looks more natural:

Step 24

Now I want to create inner parts to the sleeves of the woman’s top, much like I did with the back neckline. To do this select around the left sleeve using your lasso tool. Then paste it onto a new top layer. Remember to paste it above the shape layers covering your arms. Then go to edit>transform>flip horizontal. Rotate the copied sleeve and fit it nicely to the original. Then hide the layer and use your lasso tool to select around the edge of the original sleeve. Then make your copied sleeve layer visible again and hit delete. The result of this is that your copied sleeve should fit perfectly with the original, and not overlap it at all.

Repeat this step for the other sleeve. Then, to give the impression that the copied sleeve is behind the original, reduce the brightness, and the saturation of the copy to -40.

Step 25

Now if you remember you should have the original photo as a hidden layer right at the bottom of your layer’s palette. Copy/paste this image onto a new top layer. Then use your lasso tool to select and delete all parts of this photo apart from the woman’s face, neck and arms. The image below shows the result of doing this (with all other layers hidden).

Step 26

With your top layer selected, go to filter>artistic>plastic wrap, and apply the plastic wrap settings shown below (highlight strenght: 20, detail: 14, Smoothness: 12). This should give your woman’s face/arms a smooth, plastic-like appearance.

Step 27

Set your layer’s blend mode to ‘hard light’ and it’s opacity to around 60%.

Step 28

To make the ‘invisible’ woman blend a little better I erase the edges of her face, and the points where the arms join her top using a soft eraser brush, at around 30% opacity. This just let’s the woman blend a little better, and furthers the effect of her being enclosed by her hair and clothes, rather than being part of them. To make this blend even better I go to image>adjustments>hue/saturation and reduce the saturation to +30, and increase the lightness to +30.

And We’re Done!

With the main effect complete, I add some simply text to finish the peice.

I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and found this effect useful. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. wuha says:

    Sorry, but that plastic wrap filter always looks plain ugly und very nineties-experimenting style…

  2. Tom says:

    Sorry you didn’t like it, I personally thought the end result was OK. I appreciate what you’re saying though, I Just wasn’t sure of how to work in that kind of effect without using the plastic-wrap filter.

    Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed some of the other bits of the tut.

  3. WilhelmR says:

    I think the tut would be just as interesting without the plastic wrap part. I mean, she would be actually invisible then :P

    And nice to see your on twitter tom! xD

  4. d.ban35 says:

    nice tut again :)

  5. wuha says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’m glad you were not offended, when I read my comment now it seems a bit rude, sorry for that.

    I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t some content I enjoy. The article on bold typography was great, for example :)

    Greets, wuha
    (not on twitter anymore, switched to :D )

  6. Tom says:

    Thanks guys. Yeah, I considered leaving the plastic wrap, but it looked a little bare. I appreciate the comments :)

  7. Tom says:

    Wuha: Don’t worry about it mate. If I got annoyed at every negative comment I wouldn’t get very far :) . So long as people aren’t like ‘you suck!’ I’ll always appreciate constructive criticism. Thanks for the kind words about my typography article :)

  8. Ivan says:

    Nice tutorial… i dont like the plastic wrap filter aether… but i cant think of anything else to do the job… maybe playing a little bit with blending mode and some masking could done the trick ;)


  9. Wonderful!! Bravo!!! Post some more of this type…

  10. kailoon says:

    The final image is scary…

  11. fractalfrog says:

    It looked way better without that horrible (brrrrrrr) plastic wrap. (As much as I love Photoshop after using it since version 2.5, that is one filter that should be banned!)
    As for the “bareness” without the wrap, why not try to add some jewelry, such as a necklace and/or earrings?
    Could even experiment with glasses and make-up although I think that will be harder to pull-off but will look great if you do :-)

  12. Tom says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone! It’s official – I’m never using the plastic wrap filter again. That was my first (and will now be last) time of using it ;)

  13. Yah I agree for some of the comments that plastic wrap isn’t the best choice, but hey good job on this one. After all, you worked hard for it!

  14. wow, that is kinda creepy actually, but so interesting. thanks.

  15. Tom says:

    Cheers for the kind words guys!

  16. Aditya says:

    Good tut, and you really worked hard for it, I appreciate that :)

  17. Tom says:

    Thanks Aditya, I appreciate the comment :)

  18. Michael says:

    Eeeeeewwww man :-& excelent tutorial but……the effect is strange :) )

  19. Wira says:

    It’s great, maybe you need to make the hair look transparent, so the face will be looking good. Thanks for your tutorial.

  20. Tom says:

    I’m glad you guys liked the tutorial, it’s kind of nice to experiment with a strange outcome actually :P

  21. OllieJ says:

    Perhaps desaturating the face and arms before applying the plastic filter and then lowering its opacity level will help achieve the effect you were going for.

  22. Tom says:

    Good idea Ollie, I did lower the saturation, but desaturating completely combined with lower opacity could certainly improve things.

  23. Yo says:

    Looks like chewbacca lol:D

  24. Tom says:

    Haha not exactly what I was going for :P

  25. Sonny Burnett says:

    I thought it was done on step 24

  26. Aqif says:

    nice tutorial
    the effects is awesome
    but at the same time is kinda weird

  27. Tom says:

    Thanks for commenting guys.

    Sonny: Yeah, you could leave it there if you didn’t like the final result.

  28. Travis says:

    You didn’t turn her invisible, just chewbaca…

    No need for plastic rap.

  29. smartguy says:

    Eeek ugly but good try.

  30. chrystalyna says:

    I kinda like the plastic wrap – though invisible the skin oils reflect the light. Though I would have like a little cleaner facial definition instead of the flattened appearence. Perhaps shapening or contrast changes. It is very informative and helpful. I can’t wait to try it myself.

  31. tuan says:

    thanks for sharing . ( Who can help me learn english , we can learn photoshop together )

  32. Francisca says:

    Well, I luv your invisible woman photoshop but the last picture, the woman’s face really look bad. I’m sure you can find something else and better to make woman’s face really invisible. But good job anyway =)

  33. learning english is quite easy, there arem any tutorials on the internet and some audiobooks too `”~

  34. Logo Design says:

    sorry but the end results seems very creepy. it looks more like a burned person rather than invisible :$

  35. khazeni says:

    The steps is very useful

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