While Photoshop can’t magically create a see-through or x-ray effect, you can achieve the effect by manipulating the selected clothing area and revealing the background or underlying image. 

Here is the common method to make see-through clothes in Photoshop:

  1. Open your image using the shortcut “Ctrl / Cmd + O” and ensure it opens as a Background layer.
  2. Ensure the Layer and Path panels are visible. If not, go to Windows and select these panels.
  3. Select the Pen Tool from the selection bar or use the shortcut “P” to activate it.
  4. Create a path using the Pen Tool in the Path Panel.
  5. Carefully create an accurate path around the garment.
  6. Right-click on the image when the path is complete and select “Make Selection.”
  7. Create a separate layer of the selection by pressing “Ctrl / Cmd + J”. This layer will appear as “Layer 1.”
  8. With “Layer 1” selected, click on the icon to create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer and choose “Levels.” This will create a new layer named “Level 1” above “Layer 1.”
  9. Adjust the properties (RGB) to change the transparency of clothing (Layer 1).
In this blog, first, we’ll explore the concept of see-through (x-ray) and then dive into a step-by-step guide using the Pen Tool and Adjustment Layers. I’ll introduce you to two more methods: Layer Masking, and Blending Modes, each offering unique advantages based on your fabric type. Along the way, I’ll share best practices to help you achieve realistic results.

Making See-Through Clothes: Photoshop Tutorial

What Is X-ray Clothing In Photoshop?

X-ray clothing in Photoshop is a technique used to make clothes appear transparent by adjusting their colors and opacity.

Here’s a breakdown of the concept:

Not Literally X-ray Vision: It’s important to understand that Photoshop isn’t magically revealing what’s hidden beneath clothing. This effect relies on image manipulation techniques.

Desired Outcome: The goal is to make clothing appear partially or completely transparent, showcasing what’s behind it.

Design Responsibly!It’s important to use this technique responsibly and ethically. For instance, if you run a model retouching service, altering or manipulating photos in a way that misrepresents reality can have negative consequences.

The “X-ray effect” in Photoshop goes beyond just artistic fun. See its practical uses in various creative fields in the following section.

3 Different Methods: Make See-Through Clothes In Photoshop

If you want to make clothing see-through in Photoshop, you have a few ways to do it. First, you can use Selection and Adjustment Layers. Another option is Layer Masking. Lastly, there are Blending Modes. Note that, the application of the method is based on the type of clothing. Find more details about each method below.

Method 1: Selection and Adjustment Layers

This clothing see-through making method involves meticulously selecting the clothing area you want to make transparent, copying it, and then using adjustment layers like Levels to reduce its opacity and reveal what’s underneath.

Best for: This method works well for solid color fabrics of any weight. However, it can struggle with patterned fabrics or those with a lot of texture, as the transparency may not blend seamlessly.

The tool you’ll need: Pen Tool

Step 1: Open Your Image

Use the shortcut “Ctrl / Cmd + O” to open your image in Photoshop. Make sure your image opens as a Background.

Method 1 Selection and Adjustment Layers

Step 2: Layer and Path Panels Visibility

If you already have these panels open, that’s great! In case they are not open—go to Windows and select these panels.

Step 2 Layer and Path Panels Visibility

Step 3: Pen Tool Selection

Check the selection bar as shown in the following picture, and select the Pen Tool. Also, you can use the shortcut “P” to activate it.

Step 3 Pen Tool Selection

Step 4: Add a Path

Then, go to the Path Panel and create Path 1.

Step 4 Add a Path

Step 5: Create a Complete Path

Now, take your time and create an accurate path around the garment.

Please ask for a suitable image from a designer.

Step 5 Create a Complete Path

Step 6: Make Selection of the Path

When the total path is ready, right-click on your image. Next, click on “Make Selection”.

Please ask for a suitable image from a designer.

Step 6 Make Selection of the Path

Step 7: Layer of the Selection

After that, you have to create a separate layer of the new path or selection. The layer will appear as “Layer 1”.

Shortcut: Ctrl / Cmd + J

Step 7 Layer of the Selection

Step 8: Add an Adjustment Layer

Keeping “Layer 1” selected you have to click on the icon of Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer”. You need to select “Levels” in this case. Instantly, you will see a new layer named “Level 1” right above the “Layer 1”

Step 8 Add an Adjustment Layer

Step 9: Adjust the Properties

Finally, change the “Properties” (RGB) to change the transparency of the “Layer 1” where you have separated the path of the clothing.

Step 9 Adjust the Properties 1

final result

Method 2: Layer Masking

Similar to the first method, you make a selection of the clothing. Instead of copying, you refine the selection and create a layer mask. Painting black on the mask hides parts of the clothing layer, revealing what’s behind while painting white brings back opacity.

Best for: Layer masking offers more control than adjustment layers, allowing you to create gradual transparency effects. This is ideal for fabrics with some natural translucency, like thin shirts or scarves. It can also work for patterned fabrics if you carefully mask around the patterns. However, it might be trickier for very thick or opaque fabrics.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Pen Tool (or Lasso Tool for simpler selections)
  • Brush Tool

Please ask for suitable images for this method.

Step 1: Selection

  • Open your image in Photoshop.
  • Choose your selection tool. The Pen Tool offers the most precise control for creating clean edges around the clothing. If the fabric is simpler, the Lasso Tool can work too.
  • Carefully create a selection around the clothing area you want to make transparent. Aim for smooth and accurate edges.

Step 2: Create Layer Mask

  • With your selection active, go down to the Layers panel.
  • Click the “Add Layer Mask” button (it looks like a rectangle with a circle inside). This creates a mask on the active layer, hiding everything outside the selection.

Step 3: Adjust Transparency

  • Now comes the fun part! Pick the Brush Tool.
  • Make sure the foreground color is black and the background color is white (hit “D” on your keyboard to set defaults).
  • Paint black on the mask to hide parts of the clothing layer, revealing the background image underneath. This simulates see-through fabric.
  • Conversely, paint white on the mask to bring back opacity in areas where you might have accidentally hidden too much.
  • Adjust the brush size and opacity for finer control. You can zoom in for detailed masking.

Method 3: Blending Modes

This method leverages the blending mode options in Photoshop’s Layers panel. By selecting the clothing and changing its blending mode to “Overlay” or “Soft Light,” you can create a subtle see-through effect.

Best for: Blending modes are best suited for fabrics that already have some natural transparency, like lace or chiffon. The mode alters how the clothing layer interacts with the background, creating a sheer look. This method might be less effective for completely opaque fabrics.

Tool you’ll need: Selection tool (Lasso Tool or Pen Tool)

Please ask for suitable images for this method.

Step 1: Selection

  • Open your image in Photoshop.
  • Choose your selection tool. Similar to the masking method, the Pen Tool offers the most precise control for clean edges, but the Lasso Tool can work for simpler fabrics.
  • Carefully create a selection around the clothing area you want to make transparent.

Step 2: Change Blending Mode

  • With the clothing selection active, locate the Layers panel.
  • Find the “Blending Mode” dropdown menu in the top left corner of the layer where your selection is. By default, it’s likely set to “Normal.”
  • Click on the dropdown menu and explore the different blending modes available.
Tips for Choosing the Right Blending ModeFor a subtle see-through effect:Try “Overlay” or “Soft Light” blending modes. These modes interact with the underlying image to create a sheer look, depending on the clothing’s color and texture.Experiment with the layer’s opacity to fine-tune the transparency level.

Now, find the best practices in the next section to add value to your creative head.

Best Practices: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Create a tasteful and believable see-through clothing effect in Photoshop that serves your creative vision by keeping things in mind, like:

Combine Techniques

Don’t be afraid to experiment and combine methods! You can use a blending mode as a base and then refine transparency with layer masking for specific areas.

Accuracy and Realism:

Selection Precision

The cleaner your selection around the clothing, the more realistic the final effect will appear. Take your time and use the appropriate tool (Pen Tool for accuracy, Lasso Tool for simpler shapes).

Gradual Transitions

When creating transparency, aim for smooth transitions between opaque and transparent areas. Avoid harsh lines or blocky edits. Use a soft brush with low opacity for masking, or adjust feathering in selection methods.

Shadows and Details

For a truly convincing effect, consider adding shadows underneath the clothing where it would naturally fall on the body. This adds depth and realism.


Once again be mindful of how you use this technique. Altering photos to create a misleading impression of transparency can be unethical.


Additionally, if you’re editing photos of people, ensure you have their consent before manipulating their clothing in this way.

4 Real-World Applications: Practical Uses of the X-Ray Effect in Photoshop

While not for everyday editing, the X-ray effect has some practical uses in creative fields:

Product Mockups

Showcase a design on different colored or patterned backgrounds without needing to photograph the product on every variation.

Fashion Design

Simulate how clothing designs might drape or appear on a model before physically creating the garment. This can be helpful in the design process.

Concept Art & Illustration

Create fantastical clothing designs or depict characters with see-through clothing for artistic purposes.

Special Effects

In some cases, filmmakers or graphic designers might use this technique to create a special effect, like a character’s clothing disappearing or revealing something hidden underneath.

Now, I will show you 3 methods that will help you work whenever you have a  “see-through” or “ “x-ray” effect project.

Get further clarification by going through the following queries.


What Are Some Alternative Methods to Achieve a See-through Clothing Effect?

Content-Aware Fill: If you have a clean background behind the clothing, you can try using the “Content-Aware Fill” tool to remove the clothing and replace it with the background. However, this may not work well for complex clothing or busy backgrounds.
Replace With Pattern: If the clothing has a simple, repeating pattern, you can try using the “Clone Stamp” tool to replace the clothing with the pattern itself, creating a see-through illusion.

Which Method Is Easiest for Beginners to Make a Garment See-Through?

The method using Selection and Adjustment Layers (Method 1) is a good starting point for beginners. It involves using the Pen Tool to create a path around the clothing and then copying that selection to a new layer. You can then use Adjustment Layer-like Levels to reduce the opacity of the clothing layer, revealing what’s underneath.

Is It Possible to Make Clothes Completely Invisible in Photoshop?

While Photoshop can create a convincing illusion of transparency, it cannot completely erase clothing and reveal what’s underneath. Techniques like layer masking and blending modes manipulate the opacity of the clothing layer to create a see-through effect.

What If I Make a Mistake While Selecting the Clothing?

Don’t worry! Photoshop offers non-destructive editing capabilities. You can always adjust your selection or layer mask if needed. Use the “Select” > “Refine Edge” option for precise adjustments to your selection.

Final Notes

In this comprehensive guide, I showed how to create the illusion of see-through clothing in Photoshop using various methods: Selection and Adjustment Layers, Layer Masking, and Blending Modes.

Remember, the key to a successful see-through clothing effect lies in choosing the right method for your specific fabric type and utilizing a combination of techniques for optimal results. Therefore, don’t hesitate to experiment and have fun with your creativity. Moreover, while exploring these methods, prioritize ethical considerations and always seek consent when working with images of people. Check out our other blogs to discover more Photoshop tips and tricks.


  • Emily Duncan

    Hi there! I'm Emily Duncan, an image retoucher at Image Retouching Lab. With over 6 years of experience, I'm passionate about enhancing images to perfection. I love sharing tips and tutorials on our website to help others master the art of image editing.

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