How to Create a Realistic T-shirt Mockup using Photoshop

How to Create a Realistic T-shirt Mockup using Photoshop

Are you a t-shirt designer? Well, if yes, then you may have genuine cause to offer t-shirt mockups to your fans as well as customers. Although it seems to be easy, it can be extremely challenging to make these mockups look real. This is specifically because, in the blank t-shirt mockup, you are making use of possessing folds as well as curves. 

Today, in this guide, we will focus on talking about the best ways in which you can use Photoshop for making a more convincing demonstration of your graphic t-shirt art specifically for display. 

So, if you are having an idea for a cool t-shirt, then this guide will surely prove to be very worthy for you. After you are done with your designing part, your main goal is to show off the specific way in which your potential buyers will look in your t-shirt. 

Therefore, one of the best, as well as the most effective ways to improve your Photoshop t-shirt design and also do marketing of your creation, is by creating custom mockups. Sounds interesting? To understand this well, keep reading this article.

What is Referred To as a Mockup?

If you are not sure, what is a mockup, then don’t worry. Now, we will have a look at this. Talking about the mockup, it is a replica or model of a specific structure or machine that is utilized for experimental or instructional purposes.

In this world of customized garments, you would be able to create a mockup for virtually anything. Yes, you have heard it right, it can include almost anything from packaging, mugs to t-shirts, and a lot more. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you can use mockups for a wide variety of things which include: 

  • Presentation
  • Marketing
  • Website storefront
  • Apparel printers reference

In this regard, you have two options available with you, either your t-shirt mockup can be staged alone or worn by models. Designing a branded mockup will aid in the success of your brand. 

The best part about this is, it can be easily recognized by your audience. But, if you are looking forward to creating a branded mockup from the starting, then it is not at all an easy task. There are several things that you need to essentially consider in this regard. 

To make an effective customized mockup design, the first and the most important thing is to hire a skilled and professional graphic designer who will manage the overall work according to your needs. 

So, all in all, it is a customizable interpretation of the visual appearance of a particular product. It is something which helps the customers to understand how much of the item will be used. Also, the customers can easily get an idea about what it would be like to own that product, for example, a t-shirt. 

Therefore, it can be called an effective way in which you can display your product in a practical setting. It will allow the people to get a transparent idea about how that particular product looks in real life,

What are the Most Important Advantages of Making Use of Mockups?

  • Mockup helps to provide you with immediate high-quality shots of products. Those who are inclined towards creating mockups will consider certain stuff like skew, reflection, shadow, direction, etc. for creating a realistic final image. 

Due to this reason, it is well-suited while making a diverse range of designs or logos. The final result will have the feel as well as the look of a professional product photograph. 

  • Another important benefit associated with mockups is that you would be able to display your design on various types of garments. So, it can be called an effective way in which you can test out which artwork works effectively with different types of garments. 

Knowing this will prove to be very helpful before you commit to a print run. In case, you are not sure about what your customers would like, then mock-ups are also an effective way to present prospective products to them. Therefore, it provides you with a great opportunity to know which product is the most popular.

  • With the help of mockups, you get the option to show your product in various scenarios. It will allow you to tell a story about your product by showing what it looks like when folded, worn, or on a hanger. So, your potential customers get a feel and idea about the product.


  • Mockups contribute to providing you with a very good idea about the proper quote. Along with that, these are also considered to be a great visual reference which means that the ultimate product you get is guaranteed to look the exactly same as you designed it. 

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What is a T-Shirt Mockup PSD?

It is particularly a blank t-shirt mockup that you can edit in Adobe Photoshop. Talking about the PSD, it is the name of a Photoshop image file. You can think of .psd exactly in the same way as a .png or .jpg extension specifically for the images. In this regard, you should keep in mind that you will require Photoshop on your computer for opening as well as editing a PSD file. 

In this case, you can make use of the smart layers feature in Photoshop quickly as well as easily replace the graphics on your t-shirt. Another thing that you can do is to make use of editing tools for manipulating the color, button, labels along other elements of the t-shirt. 

Mockup Generators

You can easily find the availability of many different online tools that you can use for creating your mockup. The name of one such generator includes which you can easily use for uploading your designs to experiment. You will find the availability of many options on this particular platform to select from. 

The first step involves choosing the generator which should be followed by uploading your preferred design as well as size. For most of the mockups, you can also get the option to switch colors. 

In case, you are looking forward to downloading, then the thing you should do is to create an account. Placeit requires you to pay an amount for a majority of the mockups. After you are done with the design creation part, consider going to the pricing option. So, now, you can select the best option. 

Other than that, you will find the availability of many other generators which you can use for creating your designs.

Pre-Made Templates

In case, you are looking for pre-made templates, then you can download those from websites such as On this particular website, you get the option to download templates that are generally made for Photoshop. Most of the templates that you will come across are free to use, but for downloading those, you may have to subscribe to that website. 

Customized Mockups

For this, the materials required are a camera (to take good photos), stage (any setting with extremely good lighting), and subject (model or t-shirt). Now, we will talk about the most important steps that will help in the creation of your mockup in Photoshop:

  • Taking Photographs

The first step involves taking a decent picture of your subject. One thing to keep in mind is that your subject should be placed on a sturdy backdrop. For instance, you can make use of a black backdrop for placing a white t-shirt. This will make selecting or cutting out the t-shirt in Photoshop much simpler.

Not only that, but wearing a white shirt also makes manipulating the shirt’s colors very much easier. Otherwise, after you have the image in Photoshop, you can consider grayscaling it. Bring your t shirt design images into Photoshop after you’ve captured some decent ones.

  • Cutting The T-Shirt Out

The next step involves cutting out the t shirt from the picture. To perform this particular task, you can make use of the Quick Selection tool (W). Click as well as hold the mouse over the t shirt until it is completely selected. Once you’re happy with the results, press the ‘Select and Mask’ option present on the top panel. It will allow you to effectively refine the edges. 

Now, as much as you can, consider refining your selection. Having a strong foundation is quite beneficial in completing this task effectively. After you are done, you can choose to export the selection to a ‘New Layer with Layer Mask’. Later on, you can do further edits. 

Making some edits can do wonders with your mockup. Finally, you need to clean up the edges for a better result.

  • Displacement Map

You may possess some creases as well as shadows on your subject depending on how you staged your t-shirt. In this regard, you need to understand that just laying your graphics flat on your t-shirt would not seem real. The objective here is to make your t-shirt as genuine as possible. So, you would be able to accomplish this by using this particular displacement feature.

Select the Hamburger icon in the upper right corner of the Layers panel to duplicate the layer. Also, output the completely new layer into a unique document and name it displacement. Now, you’ll be redirected to a new document. You’ll need to grayscale or desaturate your subject to make an effective displacement map. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways.

To convert the image to black and white, go to Image > Adjustment > Desaturate and desaturate the selection. Consider going to File > Save As and saving the file with the name “displace-map.psd.” You can now choose to close this particular tab. Finally, you are ready to place your photographs.

  • Placing Image

Placing images onto your mockup involves certain steps: 

Smart Object 

The next step involves creating a Smart Object. You can focus on creating some text in this regard. Once you have created it, consider selecting this layer as well as right-click on it. In the menu, choose Convert to Smart Object.

You can use the Rectangle tool (U) to create a rectangle as large as you want to along the front of the t-shirt to set apart an area for your designs. Whenever you’re done, right-click on the layer as well as choose Convert to Smart Object from the drop-down menu.

Whenever you double-click on a layer, you’ll be taken to a new tab where you get the option to edit a .psb file. You can put as many designs as you like in this file. Also, you can save the file by clicking on the CRTL+S option, and the original mockup will update to the image that you have added. 


The next thing that you need to do is to make use of the displacement map. Select the layer, then go to Filter > Distort > Displace as well as set the vertical and horizontal scales to 3 before clicking “OK.” This aids in loading the displacement map. Depending on the information from the displacement map, you will notice a shift.

Mask (Optional)

Finally, you need to create a mask to keep your design confined to the garment. This is a wonderful step to take, particularly if the pattern or design is large enough to cover the whole shirt. You can create a group for the ‘Design Here’ layer. Press CTRL+G with the layer chosen. 

Go to the original shirt layer and consider creating a selection of the shirt. Click into the small image part of the layer while holding CTRL. This will bring up a selection of t-shirt. Now, return to the group you made, select the layer, finally, choose ‘Layer Mask’, present at the bottom portion of the layers panel. 

When you move the design layer beyond the shirt’s edges, you’ll see that the design is no longer visible.

  • Shadows And Highlights

The subsequent step involves bringing out the mockup’s Highlights as well as shadows. If your t-shirt isn’t already white or black, be sure to grayscale or desaturate it first. By pressing CTRL+J twice, duplicate your original shirt layer. 

To avoid confusion, rename these new layers “Highlights” as well as “Shadows.” Choose the “eye” icon to make just one of these layers noticeable. Consider going to Image > Adjustments > Levels, with the layer chosen.

Now, get started with the Shadows layer, and you can make use of the below settings or something like that. 

132, 0.87, 248

This layer will be put on top of the Highlights layer as well as set to Multiply. Then, with the Highlights layer, consider making use of the below settings or something like that. 

48, 1.54, 146

Once you are done, you should focus on setting this particular layer to ‘Luminosity’. Enable all of these layers as well as make any necessary adjustments to the Levels. You can also reduce the intensity of the layers by adjusting their Opacity. After you’ve completed it, group these layers together.

  • Altering The Colors

Finally, the subject’s colors need to be tweaked. This is accomplished by using a ‘Photo Filter’ Adjustment layer. Select the group folder you have made in the previous step, and then click the adjustments icon that is present at the bottom of the Layers panel. After that, choose the Photo Filter option. 

Select the clipping mask icon after the modification has been made and the setting box has been opened. This is the box with the Down arrow. This will just clip the adjustment to the layer below it, eventually the shirt layers.

Consider setting the Density to 100 percent and then uncheck the Preserve Luminosity check box, with the choices open. Now go to the Color box and make whatever changes you wish to make in the colors.

  • Finishing 

You’ve now completed your task. Save and preserve this file so you can make changes to your mockups on the go. This procedure can also be used for a variety of garments. 


So, this is how you would be able to make a t-shirt mockup look real in Photoshop. I am sure, after reading this guide, you can easily do this job. Well, if you are coming across any of the issues, you can consider opting for the assistance of a professional web to print company

A professional t-shirt print shop will make use of an effective T-shirt design software as well as a T-shirt printing machine to provide you with top-notch outcomes. 

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