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How to make a transparent T-shirt without affecting shadows


New Member

I need to know how can I make a T-shirt transparent without affecting shadows. My client sent me an image of a T-shirt and wanted me to just transparent the T-shirt leaving the Shadows intact. My client said, he wants the image to send to a software, where he can apply for any color he wants. I've searched a lot in Google and YouTube, but didn't exactly get what I wanted. So, Can anyone help me to get the solution of this problem?

Here is the image

Last edited:


New Member
Hi IamSam, Thanks for helping me. Can you please help me a little bit?

I'm adding 2 pictures here.

This is the type of picture my client sent to me as an example:-

Example of t-shirt.jpg

and here is the Transparent image with intact shadows that he wants (this is how i should submit images to him)

transparent shirt with shadows.png

I need your help :)


Staff member
Open your original Tee image.
Add a Curves adjustment layer and darken the shadows.
Should look like this.......
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 12.53.46 PM.png

Once you have the shadows where you like them, highlight the original Tee layer and the Curves Adjustment layer and hit Cmd/Cntrl + E to merge the two layers.
Name the newly merged layer T1.

Make a selection of the Tee shirt that looks like this.......
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 12.56.34 PM.png

(You can save the selection if you want)
Next, with the T1 layer selected/highlighted, hit Cmd/Cntrl + J to make a duplicate of the selected Tee, name the newly duplicated layer T2.
T2 should look like this.......
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 12.58.39 PM.png

Now go back and select/highlight layer T1.
Place your cursor over the T2 layers-layer thumbnail an click. This will bring back the selection.
Now hit the "add layer mask" icon located at the bottom of the layers panel. This should have made a layer mask for the T1 layer.
If the mask is backwards (inverted) then hit Shift + Cmd/Cntrl + I to invert it.

This is what you should have. Two layers that look like this........
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 1.17.03 PM.png

Now, select/highlight layer T2.
Set this layers opacity to 60%.

This is what you will get.
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 1.18.58 PM.png

Save this as a PNG file to preserve the transparency.

Now when the image is place on a white BG, it will look normal.
You can test this by adding a white BG layer below T1 and T2 layers. Of course you will turn this off when you save.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 1.20.38 PM.png

Tom Mann

To be honest, as Sam gently hinted in Post #2, introducing trainsparency is not at all the usual way to simply colorize an object. In fact, for a variety of reasons, it probably won't give as good results or be as quick as other methods. Specifically, introducing transparency almost always decreases the contrast ratio and visibility of texture in an object.

If my understanding of your client's needs is correct, and all he wants to do is to simiply colorize the t-shirt, then, to be blunt, if he suggested the transparency method, then there is a good chance he knows very little about Photoshop.

If you have a good relationship with your client, you may want to (a) have Sam describe how he quickly colorized the examples in Pos #2, and then, (b) once you are comfortable with this alternative method, discuss this option with your client. He may think you are a Photoshop God for suggesting a better method (i.e., that might same him some money in terms of reduced labor and quicker turn-around). At the other extreme, he might be the type of person that *really* doesn't like suggestions, and fires you, so tread carefully. Yet another possibility is that there is something that he hasn't told you about the rest of the process, and transparency has to be introduced in order to accomplish this other goal that we aren't aware of.

The best of luck,

Tom M