Put an Image on a T-shirt in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how easy it is to superimpose an image onto a t-shirt.

Step 1: Make it a Displacement Map
-First, take your image of a t-shirt.

-We have to set this t-shirt up as a Displacement Map, so the image we put on it will conform to any wrinkles. Photoshop has a handy tool for that, but don’t jump the gun yet, buddy. Duplicate your shirt layer by selecting it in the layers panel and hitting Cmd+Jz[Cntrl+J on PC]. This will put a copy above your selected layer.

-Select your copy and go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate [Cmd+Shift+U Mac; Cntrl+Shift+U on PC]. This will take all the color information out of the document.

-Give it a Gaussian Blur [Filter>Gaussian Blur] enough to make the t-shirt look like silk. I put it at at about 1.5 pixels but yours is going to be different.

-Now to save our Displacement Map. Go to File>Save As. Make sure you’re saving it as a PSD file or else this won’t work. Name it “displacement_map” and save it somewhere where it’s easy to find. Send it to the desktop, fool!


-Now hide your desaturated shirt layer.

Step 2
: Find Your Image
-Open the file of the image you want imposed onto the shirt. Make sure it’s flattened with no background. I used this dumb thing I drew. Don’t judge me.

I love the Power Frog. It's so bad.-Use the move tool [Hot key: V] to drop it onto your shirt file. Put the image into Free Transform with Cmd+T [Cntrl+T on PC] and organize it so it’s where you want it on your shirt.

-With your image layer selected, go to to Filter>Distort>Displace. It’ll bring up a box for you to fool around in…

-Make sure Stretch to Fit is active, as well as Repeat Edge Pixels. You may have to fool around with the Horizontal and Vertical Scale numbers, but the default 10 x 10 pixels usually works well. The higher the number, the more distorted the image will become.

-Photoshop will ask you to choose a file to use as a Displacement Map. Select the file we made earlier. If you listened to my advice, it’s on your desktop. You’re welcome.

Stop looking at my files.

-You’ll see the image conform to the wrinkles in the shirt. Cool, but not 100% there yet. You’re not impressed. Hang in there…


Step 3: Make It More Convincing
Cmd+Click on your image file’s thumbnail. This will make a selection of it [you know, the annoying marching ants].
MARCH.-Now, with the selection active, go to your desaturated t-shirt layer you hid before. Hit Cmd+J [Cntrl +J on PC] to make a duplicate. This will duplicate the selection of the t-shirt layer.  Move that new duplicated layer above your image layer. Looks horrible… And stupid! Bare with me.

-Turn the Blend Mode of this new selected layer to Hard Light. You may want to fool around with its levels too by hitting Cmd+L [Cntrl+L PC] to give it more contrast. Lower its opacity to about 50%. Looks good, but not good enough, son.

Step 4: Sneaky Blending
-Select your image layer. Double click it to bring up the layers styles. Look toward the bottom of the dialogue box in the “Blend If” section. You should see Underlying Layer with two sliders on each side. I circled it for you. You’re welcome.

There you are.

-Hold down the Alt key and click the black slider and slide it to the right. Don’t be startled! Are you startled!? This’ll split that sucker up and make the darker grays come through the image, giving it a more convincing look. Drag it around until you’re happy.

Follow the arrow.
 -That’s it! Great job! You can add more to it if you’re not happy, like throwing a Curves adjustment layer on top of everything to balance out the colors. That’s always fun. So proud of you. Thanks for reading!

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