Techie Tip of the Week: Use Puppet Warp to Manipulate Photos in Photoshop

The Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop allows you to manipulate and distort specific image areas of an image while keeping other areas exactly as they are.

You can use Puppet Warp to do small manipulations, such as straightening walls, moving hair, and the like. You can also use Puppet Warp to do major alterations to the photo, such as repositioning arms and legs.

To use Puppet Warp, the section you wish to manipulate must be in a layer other than the default Background Layer.

For example, to turn the Mona Lisa’s smile into a frown:

  1. Open the photo in Photoshop (Puppet Warp is a feature in CS 5 and newer).
    mona lisa smiling
  2. Change the Background into a regular layer (Layer > New > Layer from Background).
  3. Select the portion you wish to warp (in this case, the smiling area).
    mona lisa -- smile selected
  4. On the Edit menu, select Puppet Warp.
  5. In the meshed area, click to select the “joints” you will use to warp the photo.
    mona lisa - joints selected
  6. Drag the “joints” to manipulate the photo until you achieve the desired result:
    mona lisa - sad face

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