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Warp images, shapes, and paths

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The Warp command lets you drag control points to manipulate the shape of images, shapes, or paths, and so on. You can also warp using a shape in the Warp pop‑up menu in the options bar. Shapes in the Warp pop‑up menu are also malleable; you can drag their control points.

Transform Warp

Updated in Photoshop 22.5 (August 2021 release)

Photoshop Using warp
Using Warp

  1. Select a layer or an area in the image you want to warp.  

  2. After making a selection, do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Transform > Warp or 

    • Press Control + T (Win) / Command + T (Mac), then click the Switch Between Free Transform And Warp Modes button  in the options bar.

  3. Click the gear icon in the Options bar to see additional visual  Guide options. With Photoshop 22.4.1 (May 2021 release), the visual guides have returned better than ever with additional Guide options.

    Transform Warp Guide options

    You can now set the warp guide display option and choose when to show the visual guides - Auto Show Guides, Always Show Guides, and Never Show Guides. By default, the Grid is set to Always Show Guides.

    You also have the ability to change the Color and Opacity of the visual guides and the number of lines that make up the guide. The Density option sets how many lines appear between each Split Warp line. By default, Density is set to 2.

    When using the control points to distort an item, you can also choose View > Extras to show or hide the warp mesh and control points.

  4. To warp your selection using a warp preset, choose a warp style from the Warp pop‑up menu in the options bar.

    To create a custom warp mesh, choose a grid size from the Grid pop-up menu in the options bar.

    • Select a grid size - Default (1x1), 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5.
    • Select Custom and then specify the numbers of Columns and Rows in the Custom Grid Size dialog.
  5. To add more control grid lines to the warp mesh, choose an option to split the warp.

    1. Do any of the following:
      1. In the options bar, click any of the Split buttons.
      2. Choose Edit > Transform > Split Warp HorizontallySplit Warp Vertically, or Split Warp Crosswise
    2. Move the pointer within the mesh area and click where you place additional control grid lines. As you move the pointer, over the warp mesh, you’ll see the split lines track the pointer. When you click, additional control points are added to the warp mesh.

    To learn more about split warp options, see Split Warp.

  6. Do one or more of the following:
    • To manipulate the shape, drag the control points, a segment of the bounding box or mesh, or an area within the mesh. When adjusting a curve, use the control point handles. This is similar to adjusting the handles in the curved segment of a vector graphic.
    • Click on a grid line to activate control points for editing the warp. Click on an anchor point (at the intersection of the grid lines) lets you edit the control points surrounding that anchor. Drag the control points to warp the image.
    • To select multiple points, Shift+click on the anchor points or click-and-drag the pointer over the points while holding down the Shift key. A rectangle appears around the selected points if two or more points are selected. 
    • To deselect multiple points, Shift+click on the active anchor points or click-and-drag the pointer over the active points while holding down the Shift key. The rectangle surrounding the selected points automatically resizes as points are selected or deselected. 
    • To delete a selected grid line (control points along the line are visible), press Delete or choose Edit > Transform > Remove Warp Split
    • To delete both the horizontal and vertical grid lines passing through an anchor point, click the anchor point, then press Delete or choose Edit > Transform > Remove Warp Split.  
    • To change the orientation of a warp style that you chose from the Warp menu, click the Change The Warp Orientation button  in the options bar.
    • To change the reference point, click a square on the Reference point locator  in the options bar.
    • To specify the amount of warp using numeric values, enter the values in the Bend (set bend), X (set horizontal distortion), and Y (set vertical distortion) text boxes in the options bar. You can’t enter numeric values if you have chosen None or Custom from the Warp Style pop‑up menu.
    Photoshop Manipulating the shape of a warp
    A custom Split Warp has been applied around the neck of the bottle. The Density for the visual Guides has been set to 4; there are four guidelines between each Split Warp.

  7. Do one of the following:
    • Press Enter (Windows) or Return (macOS), or click the Commit button  in the options bar.

    • To cancel the transformation, press Esc or click the Cancel button  in the options bar.

    When you warp a bitmap image (versus a shape or path), the image becomes slightly less sharp each time you commit a transformation; therefore, performing multiple commands before applying the cumulative transformation is preferable to applying each transformation separately.

Transform Warp: Cylinder

Introduced in Photoshop 23.4 (June 2022 release)

Packaging designers, we heard you! With this release, Photoshop is introducing the Cylindrical Transform Warp capability which allows curving flat artwork to a rounded cylindrical surface. Also, you get resizing and perspective controls so the entire selection can fit naturally.

Transform Warp : Cylinder

To work with the new cylindrical transform warp, do the following:

  1. Select a layer or region in the image you want to warp. 

  2. Choose Edit > Transform > Warp from the menu bar or press Command+T (Mac) or Control+T (Win). 

  3. Click the Free Transform / Warp Modes button in the options bar. 

  4. Go to the Warp dropdown menu in the options bar and select the bottom icon: Cylinder.

  5. Click & drag the on-screen controls to shape-adjust the warp:

    • Corner controls: use the bottom/left and top/right resizing controls to freely transform the entire selection.
    • Corner controls + shift constrain proportions. 
    • Curvature controls:
      • Top-center changes the arc of the upper and lower boundaries in unison.
      • Bottom-center adjusts the lower boundary line arch only.
    • Control the Perspective by moving the center control point to the right and left. 
    Controls for Transform Warp: Cylinder

    A. Adjusts curvature at both the top and bottom B. Sets the top-right corner C. Adjusts perspective. Slide to the center to appear further away, slide to the right to appear very close D. Adjusts bottom curvature, independent of the top E. Sets the lower-left corner 

    You can also apply the cylindrical transform warp to Text layers while working on your creative documents.

Split Warp

With the August 2021 release of Photoshop 22.5, you can now use the Control (Win) / Command (Mac) modifier key to quickly toggle through the split warp options without returning to the menu bar.

  • Hold down the Control (Win) / Command (Mac) key and click anywhere the warp mesh to split the warp crosswise at that location. 
  • Hold down the Control (Win) / Command (Mac) key and move the pointer near the edge of an existing horizontal grid line. Click to split the warp vertically at that location.
  • Similarly, hold down the Control (Win) / Command (Mac) key and move the pointer near the edge of an existing vertical grid line. Click to split the warp horizontally at that location.

Convert Warp interactions with different anchor points

You can independently move the control handles (also called 'Bezier' handles) attached to anchor points while applying a Split Warp for transformation using a keyboard shortcut.

Currently, the two Bezier handle movement options are:

  • Unison: All handles move together when one is moved. The icon is a circle.
  • Independent: Each handle moves without impacting the other handles related to the anchor point. The icon is a square.

You can use Alt (Win)/Option (Mac) + click on the point to toggle the state of the Bezier control (Independent movement vs. Unison). You can also Ctrl/Right-click on the anchor point and choose “Convert Warp Anchor Point” from the context menu. 

  • Corner anchor points: By default, Corner points are set to independent movement.
  • Edge/Side anchor points: Edge anchor points are set to unison movement of the vertical/horizontal pair, by default
  • Interior/Inner anchor points: By default, the inner anchor points are set to unison movement for each handle.

Also, you can select multiple anchor points (shift+click) and then change the movement for all those points at once.

Puppet Warp

Puppet Warp provides a visual mesh that lets you drastically distort specific image areas, while leaving other areas intact. Applications range from subtle image retouching (such as shaping hair) to total transformations (such as repositioning arms or legs).

In addition to image layers, you can apply Puppet Warp to layer and vector masks. To nondestructively distort images, use Smart Objects. For more information, see Create Smart Objects.

  1. In the Layers panel, select the layer or mask you want to transform.

  2. Choose Edit > Puppet Warp.

  3. In the options bar, adjust the following mesh settings:

    Mode

    Determines the overall elasticity of the mesh.

    Note:

    Choose Distort for a highly elastic mesh good for warping wide-angle images or texture maps.

    Density

    Determines the spacing of mesh points. More Points increases precision but requires more processing time; Fewer Points does the opposite.

    Expansion

    Expands or contracts the outer edge of the mesh.

    Show Mesh

    Deselect to show only adjustment pins, providing a clearer preview of your transformations.

    Note:

    To temporarily hide adjustment pins, press the H key.

  4. In the image window, click to add pins to areas you want to transform and areas you want to anchor in place.

    Photoshop Moving a pin on a mesh
    Moving a pin on the puppet mesh. Adjoining pins keep nearby areas intact.

  5. To reposition or remove pins, do any of the following:

    • Drag pins to warp the mesh.

    • To reveal a mesh area you’ve overlapped with another, click the Pin Depth buttons   in the options bar.

    • To remove selected pins, press Delete. To remove other individual pins, place the cursor directly over them, and press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS); when the scissors icon  appears, click.

    • Click the Remove All Pins button  in the options bar.

    Note:

    To select multiple pins, Shift-click them or choose Select All from the context menu.

  6. To rotate the mesh around a pin, select it, and then do either of the following:

    • To rotate the mesh a fixed number of degrees, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and position the cursor near to, but not over the pins. When a circle appears, drag to visually rotate the mesh.

    Note:

    The degree of rotation appears in the options bar.  

    • To rotate the mesh automatically based on the selected Mode option, choose Auto from the Rotate menu in the options bar.  
  7. When your transformation is complete, press Enter or Return.

Photoshop Rotating the mesh around a selected pin
Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to rotate the mesh around a selected pin.


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