The story of The Invisible Man has fascinated people for more than a century. It’s been a common inspiration for movies, TV shows, and even photographs over the years. Getting the effect in-camera, though, is often extremely tricky, if not impossible to do. So, we have to resort to Photoshop.
I’ve seen a number of techniques on the Invisible Man thing for Photoshop over the years. But this one from Phlearn has, by far, the most amount of thought put into it of any I’ve seen before. Aaron Nace covers the entire process from planning and shooting the images to compositing and editing them in post to create the final piece.
In the past, when I’ve seen tutorials on this topic, it’s been a case of shooting just one photo. Then either complete the missing pieces of clothing from scratch, or scour the Internet looking for sources that could make up the difference. The difference here is that many different photographs are shot to account for all the different missing body parts.
Essentially, with the first photo, you want to have your body interacting with objects and your clothing. You want arms and legs bent, to show that there’s some thickness and volume underneath. Then the rest of the shots are of the various parts of the clothing and objects that would normally be hidden by those body parts which show out the ends.
It’s important to keep the camera locked off on a tripod for each shot. Shooting tethered is also advised in the video. Using an application such as Capture One, you can see an overlay of an image on top of your live view stream to know when things are lined up perfectly. Then, in post, it’s simply a case of masking the layers, and erasing body parts.
Then do the same for the other hand, the head, the legs, or any other pieces of skin that are showing, and you’re done. That sounds a lot faster than it can often take to do it, and shooting it certainly isn’t a quick snap. But the extra time spent at the capture stage will save you far more time than you’d otherwise lose in post.