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Easily bend and twist your images with CS2's Warp command

Added on Saturday 13th of May 2006 01:51 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Warping an image around a contoured object is a task that has frustrated many Photoshop users. That is, until CS2’s new Warp command arrived. We’ll show you how the image-warping challenge of yesterday is a breeze today with this nifty new tool.


To show you the benefits of CS2’s Warp command, we’ll:

     Introduce you to the Warp command and tell you how it can help you.

     Show you how to bring two images together to prepare for the transformation.

     Illustrate how to wrap an image onto a contoured image for a realistic fit.

     Show you how to soften the edge of the image for a smoother transition to the background object.


If you’ve avoided compositing images onto the face of cylindrical forms because of the imposing perspective challenge, your ship has come in. Photoshop CS2’s Warp command is the tool you’ve been waiting for to simplify the task and bring your images to the next dimension. We’ll show you how to grab hold of the Warp command to warp images around objects, as illustrated in Figure A.




Warp speed ahead

The new Warp command is similar to the time-tested Warp Text command which has been around since version 6. It offers the same list of Warp styles as the older tool, but with one extra crown jewel: Custom. Plus, while the Warp Text command limits you to warping just text, the Warp command works on entire layers, selections, and objects.


Warp that text

If you have text highlighted and choose Edit > Transform > Warp, it may appear that nothing has happened, but check again. The options bar changes to reflect the available options for the Warp Text command. But what if you want the option to warp text with the new Warp command custom style—uniquely fashioned with Bezier control points for greater control? You’ll need to rasterize your text. But before you do, make a duplicate layer of your type to preserve it, in case you want to start over, or simply go back to the text warp built in presets.


Why you should warp

There are many benefits to using the Warp command, no matter what your profession. You can warp anything you can think of—providing it fits within the parameters of being a layer, object, or selection. Here are just some possibilities you can employ with the Warp command:

        Warp a logo onto an object in a photo—such as an awning or rounded sign—to brand the object for a website or print collateral.

        Warp a wedding portrait onto an image of a wine glass for promotional materials.

        Warp any photograph or logo onto merchandise such as mugs, hats, or pens to use in an online or print catalog selling these items.

        Warp any image and apply shadow effects for a three dimensional page curl.


Position the layers

For our example, we’ll begin with an image of a coffee mug and warp an outdoor landscape photo onto the mug. To follow along with our example, download the folder from the URL given at the beginning of this article and extract the files mug.psd and photo.psd. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)

Then, launch Photoshop and open both images. First we need to get the images together on one canvas. If you’re using your own images, it’s best to use two images that have the same resolution. You also need to see both images, so make sure they don’t overlap.


Tip: To quickly arrange the windows so you can see them both, choose Arrange > Tile Horizontally, or Arrange > Tile Vertically.


To position the images:

1.       Click on the photo.psd window to make it the active window.

2.      Select the Move tool move from the Toolbox.

3.      Click on the image of the trees, drag it over to the mug.psd file, and release the cursor to move the layer.


Tip: Alternatively, you can click and drag the photo.psd Background layer from the layers palette over to the mug.psd image window to do the same thing.


4.      Close the file photo.psd, and resize the mug.psd window for a better view.

As you can see in Figure B, we need to scale down our trees a little. It’s easy to do so with a quick transformation.




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