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Bend and twist your images to perfection with CS5's new Puppet Warp command

Added on Monday 6th of September 2010 04:35 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows



Retouching and reworking digital photos takes skill and proficiency, but it also takes great software features to make the tasks go smoothly. Photoshop CS5’s Puppet Warp command takes the frustration out of image manipulation, allowing you to bend, twist, and distort your images with ease.


To manipulate an image with the Puppet Warp command, we’ll:

     Fill you in on what image elements you can warp.

     Show you how to harness other Photoshop features to maximize your Puppet Warp potential.

     Demonstrate how to use the Puppet Warp command and set the various options to suit your needs.



Every time Adobe releases a new Photoshop version, they pack it with one or two totally amazing new features. In CS5, the Puppet Warp command fits that category. Packed with options, the Puppet Warp command gives you outstanding control over image manipulation, as shown in Figure A. Not only that, but it’s so fun to use—you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!



What can you warp?

The Puppet Warp command is fairly versatile, in that you can warp a number of different Photoshop elements. These include:

        Entire image layers

        Shape layers

        Text layers

        Layer and vector masks

        Smart Objects


If you only want to warp a particular image element, you’ll need to isolate it on a layer and remove the surrounding pixels. If you want to warp text, you’ll first need to rasterize the text layer or convert it to a Smart Object. Also, you can’t warp a locked background layer.


Want more info on Smart Objects?

Check out these two articles from the August 2006 issue of Inside Photoshop:

        “Never lose a pixel: Transform better with Smart Objects,” located online at

        “The mystery of the saved Smart Object file revealed,” located online at


Pin removal

Every time you click on the Puppet Warp mesh, Photoshop adds another pin. While these pins are useful for keeping parts of your image anchored, you may change your mind and want to remove them. And, in typical Photoshop fashion, there is more than one way to remove pins. You can:

        Select a pin and press [delete], or just press [delete] for an already selected pin.

        Press [shift] and select multiple pins, and then press [delete] to remove them.



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