Ready to let your creativity run wild? Use the Puppet Warp and Free Transform tools in Adobe Illustrator to distort artwork in unexpected ways.

What you learned: How to transform artwork using the Puppet Warp and Free Transform tools

The Puppet Warp tool lets you twist and distort parts of your artwork. With it, you can add, move, and rotate pins to seamlessly transform your artwork into different variations. The Free Transform tool lets you distort artwork freely.

Add tools to the basic Toolbar

When you start Illustrator, the Toolbar at the left of the screen includes a basic set of commonly used tools. You can add or remove tools.

  1. Click Edit Toolbar toward the bottom of the Toolbar to show a list of available tools.
  2. Drag a tool (such as the Puppet Warp or Free Transform tool) from the list of tools onto the Toolbar. To remove a tool, drag it from the Toolbar back into the list of tools.

Add pins with the Puppet Warp tool

Pins can hold artwork in place or be moved and rotated to transform artwork.

  1. With artwork selected, select the Puppet Warp tool in the Toolbar. By default, Illustrator identifies suitable areas in which to transform your artwork and automatically adds pins.
  2. To add more pins, click the artwork. To remove pins, click to select a pin and press Backspace or Delete.

Warp with the Puppet Warp tool

  • Drag a pin to transform the content. The adjoining pins hold the nearby areas intact.
  • To twist the artwork, click to select a pin and then position the pointer near to, but not over, the pins. When a dashed circle appears, drag to rotate the pin and artwork.

Tip: You can press the Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows) key and drag a pin to constrain the transformation of your artwork around the selected pin.

Set up the Free Transform tool

  1. Select the Free Transform tool you added to the Toolbar.
  2. Select a transform option, such as Perspective Distort, from the Free Transform widget.

Warp with the Free Transform tool

  • With the Free Transform tool selected, drag a point on the bounding box to freely transform the artwork. Depending on the transform option set in the Free Transform widget, you can manipulate the artwork in different ways.


Back to: Combine shapes | Up next: Crop with masks



Presenter: Brian Wood

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