How To Warp Objects & Text in Adobe Photoshop

  • Thread starter KristinaW
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May 7, 2021
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  • #1
I’ll be writing a lot of posts in the future that discuss how to bend, twist, warp and distort all sorts of things inside of Adobe Photoshop. The sky is the limit when it comes to this topic and Photoshop has tons of tools to make your life progress as smoothly as possible in this regard. In this post though, I’m going to limit myself to one area. That area is the warping of both raster images and vector graphics.

If you aren’t aware of what raster images and vector graphics are, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Basically, rasters are simply a grid of colored pixels. Together, those pixels create the image that you and I see. Each pixel itself is assigned a color and shade. If a raster graphic is bent or twisted too much or to too extreme a degree, it can appear distorted and fuzzy.

Vector graphics don’t use individual pixels that are limited to being assigned a specific color and shade like those above. The pixels vectors use are assigned colors according to a mathematical formula. The primary noticeable difference between raster and vector images for the average person is the fact that vectors don’t lose quality, while the rasters do. You can stretch a vector graphic to oblivion and it will still appear crisp and clear.

In today’s post, I’m going to quickly show you how you can use Photoshop’s warp capabilities to warp a raster image. Then, I’ll show you how you can type some text, transform that text into a vector shape and finally, warp that shape. I’ll also show you the difference between converting the text into a raster graphic and a vector shape.

Warping a Raster Image​

Oftentimes, you’ll want to distort a graphic that’s contained within another image. Say you have a few different layers and you want to reshape one layer. If the layer you would like to distort has a white background, you can use a blend mode to avoid all the time it would take to clip that white background out. I’ll show you what I mean below.

I already opened up the image I’ll be using for this section into Photoshop. In this file, I have a white background and the image itself. The image is of some coffee beans that are shaped like a heart. The coffee bean image has a white background.

As I just mentioned above, I’m going to use a blend mode to hide the white background from the image. If you aren’t familiar with blend modes, please feel free to read through these posts.

What are Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop?

Learning the Difference Between Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop

Quick Keyboard Shortcut Guide For Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop

Here’s what the Layers panel looks like.


And here’s what the coffee bean image looks like.


To hide the white areas of an image with a blend mode, all you need to do is set the Blend Mode drop-down to Multiply. Doing this will hide the white elements of the image and keep everything else.


Okay, now that the stage is set, I can begin warping, which is really easy to do.

To warp an image, I’ll head up to the Edit > Transform > Warp menu item and click.


After I do that, a grid with anchor points and control handles will appear over the image at hand. Take a look.


To warp the image, I could click and drag the handles around.


And I could click right into the grid itself and drag wherever I want.


I could also click and drag any of the available anchor points. Regardless of what I choose to click and drag, when I’m finished, I could click Enter on my keyboard to apply any changes I made.

Warp Presets​

Instead of warping the image freehand, I could always choose one of the many presets available via the Warp drop-down menu. This drop-down is located in the options bar and has many options, such as Flag, Arc and Fisheye, just to name a few.


After clicking one of the presets, the options bar will adjust to that option and offer variables that you can change. These variables consist of position, degree of warp and rotation, if applicable.

Again, after making any changes, simply press Enter on your keyboard or click on the check mark at the right side of the options bar. This will apply your changes.

Warping Text​

Inside of Photoshop, there is a warp tool that’s dedicated specifically to text. I’ll be going over that tool in subsequent posts because it’s fairly limited. Today, I’d like to use the same tool as I did above to change the shape of some sample text.

I’ve gone ahead and clicked on the Horizontal Type Tool and typed the word WARP.


To modify the size and color of this word, I changed some of the settings inside the Character panel.


While I won’t be talking about these tools in this post today, I did want to show you how I created, sized and colored the demo word.

Okay, the time has come to warp the text. If I head back to the Edit > Transform > Warp menu item and click, I’ll notice that nothing happens. Basically, I’ll just get the options bar that will offer those presets I mentioned before.


What I’m after is the overlay grid that will allow me to stretch and bend the word to my delight.

In order to get that grid, I have to change the text layer to either a raster one or a vector one. To perform either of these functions, I’ll need to go up to the Type > Convert To Shape menu item or the Type > Rasterize Type Layer menu item.


Just beware, once I rasterize or convert the text to a shape, I won’t be able to edit the text anymore. Because of this, I’ll make sure it says what I really want it to say.

Once I do either of these things, I can go back to the Edit > Transform > Warp menu item and click. Doing that will give me the grid I want.


After that, I can begin pulling it around.


Once I’m finished altering the shape of the text, I can press Enter on my keyboard to commit the change.

Now, I want to show you something. I warped both the raster and the shape versions of this text. I want to show you the quality difference between the two. First, I’ll show you the raster version.


And next, I’ll show you the vector (shape) version.


If you look at the upper right corner of the text in both examples, you’ll see that the raster version is much more fuzzy than the vector version. The reason for this is because of what I stated above. It’s the pixel based image versus the mathematical formula based one. There are occasions you might want one over the other and I’ll cover all that in later posts as well. For now, just know that you can warp either one right inside of Photoshop.


Well that wasn’t too difficult. The problem with writing posts about Photoshop is that it’s so easy to go off on a tangent and never get to the point of the post. I find that I have to constantly rein myself in to stay focused. I hope I don’t show my distraction in my writing.

I also hope that I effectively demonstrated how to warp both raster images and vector graphics in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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  • #2

Warping a Smart Object as a Product Label in Adobe Photoshop​

Do you know how many times I had to change the title for this post because I couldn’t think of just the right words? A bunch. I mean, how do you try to explain that you plan on creating a Smart Object in Adobe Photoshop out of a bunch of graphics and then using those graphics as a label for a jar? Oh yeah, and that you’ll be taking advantage of the Warp feature of the Free Transform Tool in Photoshop to do so. Oh yeah again. And that your explanation needs to be under seventy characters for a blog post title.

Anyway, I guess I just explained what I intend to do for this post. To be more clear, I plan on walking through a small project in this post. I have a photo of a jar sitting on a tray in front of a wood pile. I also have a graphic I made that would be the perfect label for a hypothetical product. I’d like to turn the layers I created for the label into a Smart Object and then combine that Smart Object with the photo of the jar. After that, I’ll use the Free Transform feature of Photoshop to resize the label and then use the Warp feature of that same tool to add some curvature to the top of the label as well as the bottom. Finally, if the label needs any modifications, I’ll edit the Smart Object directly from the file I’m working in. After this post, you should have a good idea how to combine multiple layers as a Smart Object, how to merge that Smart Object with another file that’s open in Photoshop simultaneously, how to transform a Smart Object and how to warp it as well. Also, I’ll go over any touching up that might be necessary to make the label look natural. Hopefully, I can get this post finished without making my head spin too much.

The Working Files​

As I mentioned above, I already made the label file. As this project moves on, I’ll show you those layers below. Here is the finished product.


Also, this is the jar I’ll be placing the product label on. Of course, the label will need to look good, so I’ll have to reshape it, which is the purpose of this post.


Of course, this isn’t a real product but it is the real process someone might follow to create a mockup of what a product may look like when finished.

The Label Layers​

To create this label, I started off with a photograph of a nature scene. Then, I added a white background that would help out as I faded the photo, an oval to place the product text in, the text itself and a bottom and top bar to give the label some interest. Here are the layers.


After a bit of coloring and alignment, the label was finished.

Creating a Smart Object From Multiple Layers​

This process is very simple. To create a Smart Object from many layers, all I need to do is to select all the layers in the Layers panel by clicking on the top layer, holding down the Shift key on my keyboard and then clicking on the bottom layer. This will highlight all of them.


After that, I’ll right-click on any one of the layers and after the menu appears, I’ll click on Convert to Smart Object.


Just for your information, the more layers you want to convert to a Smart Object or the larger the files that are included are, the longer the conversion will take. You need to be patient during the process. Don’t worry, a spinning indicator will be visible during the process.

Once the conversion is finished, only one layer will be available. That’s the Smart Object. If I wanted to, I could double-click on the text in the layer to rename it. That’s what I did.


Merging Files Into One Tab​

The next step I need to take is to move the Smart Object label layer over into the tab where the photo of the bottle lives. To do this, I’ll click and drag the Smart Object layer up to the other file tab and wait for that tab’s contents to appear. Once that happens, I’ll drag the layer down into the center of the photograph and let go. This process will give me a Layers panel that has two layers in it.


In case you don’t know, you can always edit the contents of a Smart Object at any time. I won’t be doing that in this post, but if you’d like to know how to go about something like that, please feel free to take a look at this post below.

Converting Multiple Layers into a Smart Object in Adobe Photoshop

In this post, just scroll down to the “Edit Smart Object” section. All the information will be laid out there.

Transforming the Smart Object Layer​

Okay, now that the photograph and the label are where they’re supposed to be, I can go ahead and resize the label to fit onto the jar. To do this, I’ll select the layer in the Layers panel and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T to activate the Free Transform tool. Once the transform bounding box appears over the label layer, I can hold down the Shift key, click on a corner of the label and drag that corner to the center of the label so it shrinks down. I can also click anywhere inside the transform box to reposition the label over the jar. This is the result.


If you look at the jar closely, you may notice that while the two top corners perfectly align with the glass, the two bottom corners need to be slightly dragged inward. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Warping the Label​

Now that the label has been reduced in size, I can go ahead and warp (bend) the top and bottom edges of the label so they match the curves of the bottle. So, while the transform bounding box is still active, I can press the Warp button that’s up in the options bar. This will create a grid with handles over the label.


To learn more about how to warp things inside of Photoshop, please take a look at the post I link to below.

How To Warp Objects & Text in Adobe Photoshop

As it stands, I only need a very minimal warp upwards for the top edge and one just a tab bit more for the bottom. To accomplish the warp, I’ll click right on top of the top horizontal edge line, at the center, and drag upward. I’ll do the same for the bottom edge, but I’ll drag downward.


I also clicked and dragged the two bottom corners in so they touched the sides of the jar. I think everything is lined up the way it’s supposed to be now.

To confirm and set the changes, I’ll press the Enter key on my keyboard.

At this point, we have a jar that looks good. It has a label on it that looks fairly realistic. Have a look.


Adding an Adjustment Layer For Realism​

While the label already looks really good, I’d like to take things one step further and darken up the edges of it. This will give the illusion of the label wrapping around the sides of the jar. To accomplish this illusion, I’m going to add a Curves adjustment layer and darken the label from there.

To add the adjustment layer, I’ll make sure the top “label” layer is selected in the Layers panel. Then, I’ll head up to the Adjustments panel and click the Curves icon.


Once the Properties panel for this adjustment appears, I can simply click directly on the center of the line and pull it down slightly.


Doing this will darken the entire image. Since I don’t want to darken everything and I want to limit any adjustment this layer causes, I’ll click on the Clipping Mask icon.


Don’t know what clipping masks are? Well, today’s your lucky day.

What are Clipping Masks in Adobe Photoshop?

Anyway, once I click that icon, the jar photograph will lighten back up as if there was no change at all.

Painting the Mask​

The only thing I now have to take care of is editing the adjustment to the label I just made. If you remember back, a white mask reveals any change that’s made via the adjustment and any black areas on the mask will hide those adjustments. Since I want to only show the darkened areas on the side edges of the label, I’m going to paint a black stripe right down the center of the label. This will hide the darkness from the center and bring that area back to its original state.


You can see the black paint in the adjustment layer mask in the screenshot above. I circled it in red. I also pulled the Curves line down a bit more to darken the edges even more.

Now, let’s take a look at the final image.


Wow, I’d say that looks great.


My intention for this post was to show you how you can put a freshly learned skill into practice. In my last post, I described how to apply a warp to something. In this post, I used the previous lesson to actually warp something for a real-life project. I sincerely hope this helped you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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  • #3

How to Use Puppet Warp in Adobe Photoshop​

I think the best way I can describe Puppet Warp in Photoshop is to compare it to laying a large bed sheet on a hardwood floor. The sheet would have an image printed on it and if you wanted to reshape the image, you’d simply place your finger on the sheet somewhere and drag. The specific area of the image would move and it would bring some of the rest of the sheet with it. If you can picture this in your mind, you’ll have absolutely no problem using Puppet Warp.

In today’s post, I’d like to cover a few of the aspects that have to do with the Puppet Warp feature of Adobe Photoshop. In all honesty, this really isn’t a very difficult tool to use at all. While it does take some practice to make it effective with any project you might decide to use in in, you can get the swing of things fairly quickly. All it takes is to learn a few different control levers of the tool.

I’m going to keep things as straightforward as possible. I’ll open a picture into Photoshop and activate the Puppet Warp feature. From there, I’ll describe the different aspects of the tool and let you know what they do. Then, I’ll push and pull different areas of the photo so you can get a good understanding of what you can do with it as well.

The Demo Photo​

Since the tool I’ll be discussing today is called “Puppet” Warp, I thought it would be fun to use a picture of an actual puppet. I think this is a Robin Hood puppet, but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s appropriate for the context.


Activating Puppet Warp in Photoshop​

To take advantage of Puppet Warp in Photoshop, you’ll need to make sure the layer you’re working in isn’t locked. Since I just opened this image, it’s currently considered the Background layer, which has a small lock icon next to the layer name in the Layers panel. To unlock the layer, I’ll simply click on the lock icon. That will unlock the layer as well as change the layer name to Layer 0. Since that’s not a very fun name, I’ll double click right on it and type in Puppet. Then, I’ll hit Enter on my keyboard to apply that change.


Next, I’ll head up to the Edit > Puppet Warp menu item and click.


From there, I’ll see a web of sorts cover the entire image.


just be warned, if the layer is locked, you won’t be able to click the menu item. It’ll be grayed out and inactive.

The Puppet Warp Options Bar​

The second you activate this tool, you’ll notice the options bar up top change. You’ll have a few different items to choose from and to customize. Let’s first take a look at the options bar.


Next, I’ll go over some of the different options to give you an understanding of what they do.

Mode: This setting controls how elastic the mesh over the image will be when one of the pins is pulled. The default setting is Normal. Rigid keeps the mesh somewhat tight and Distort amplifies any movement you make when you click and drag on a pin. Below are three examples. The first is Normal, the second is Rigid and the third is Distort.

normal.jpg rigid.jpg distort.jpg

While there isn’t much difference between the Normal and Rigid settings, just know that while working in Normal, you’ll notice more of the image being dragged with the area you’re pulling. With Rigid, most of the image will remain behind. The dragging feel tighter. With Distort, all bets are off and the entire image moves, even if you pull the pin just a slight amount. If you want a dramatic effect when using this tool and would like to warp the entire area, go ahead and choose the Distort option.

Density: Inside the Density drop-down box, there are three options. The first is Fewer Points, the second is Normal and the third is More Points. With the screenshots below, I’ll show you how the mesh looks with each of these settings. The first will be Normal, the second will be Fewer Points and the Third will be More Points.

normal-points.jpg fewer-points.jpg more-points.jpg

When working with points inside of the mesh, the results of your pulling is affected by how dense the mesh actually is. The fewer the points, the more area that will be dragged around. If you want to have an effect on only a small area for precise control, you’d want a higher density of points. Remember, when you use the More Points option, there’s is a lot more information your computer will have to process, so anything you do will take longer to complete.

Expansion: This setting controls the outer edge of the mesh. The default setting is 2 pixels, which keeps the original image aligned with the original edges of the canvas. If I were to click the slider for this control and pull it all the way to the left so it read -20, this is what I would see around the edges of the image.


If I were to do the same thing, but pull the slider all the way to the right, so the Expansion setting was +100, this is what I would see.


Notice the edge now. While this doesn’t seem to make a huge difference when you aren’t warping anything, it does exaggerate your results when you start clicking and dragging pins.

Show Mesh: While working with the tool, you can choose to either show or to hide the mesh overlay. If I keep this box checked, the mesh will show. If I remove the check from this box, the mesh will disappear. This is especially handy if you’re working with a tight area and really need to clearly see whatever it is you’re warping. In the screenshot below, I added a bunch of pins in one area. They show more obviously because there is no mesh in the way of their visibility. If you’d like to hide the pins themselves, you can hold down the H key on your keyboard. Just realize that this is temporary and when you let go of this key, the pins will appear once again.


Pin Depth: Let’s go back to the sheet on the floor example again. Say you place some pins near the upper right corner of the sheet and one final pin in the corner itself. If you grabbed the pin in the corner and pulled the sheet back towards the center, the corner would fold over the sheet so the corner is visible. Conversely, if you grabbed the corner and tucked it under the sheet, you would be hiding the corner. Photoshop gives you a similar ability with the Puppet Warp tool. By clicking the Set Pin Forward button, you would be, in effect, keeping that area of the image higher up than the rest. If you selected the pin and then clicked on the Set Pin Backward button, you’d be hiding that area of the image behind the areas where other pins reside. The best way to demonstrate how this works is to show the corner example. In this first screenshot, I set the corner pin so it’s lower than the two accompanying pins. Then, I pulled the corner pin towards the center of the image.


Do you see how the corner is being tucked under the area of the other two pins? Now, if I select the corner pin by clicking on it and click on the Set Pin Forward button up in the options bar and then pull the corner pin in the same direction, I’ll find that the corner of the image is folded over on top of the rest of the image.


This will definitely take some practice to get used to it, but it’s a worthy feature to have available, especially when working with objects that have been clipped out of an image or when working with vector graphics.

Rotate: You have two options to rotate an image around a pin. You can either set the Rotate option to Auto and click and drag an image to any rotation degree you wish with your mouse, or you can set this option to Fixed and type in the degree of the rotation you’d like it set to. If this option is set to Auto, you’ll notice that the image sort of goes nuts when you begin applying and dragging pins. I prefer to set this option to Fixed for the ultimate control. If I need to rotate the image at all, I’ll type in what I want it set to. In the screenshot below, I chose 10 degrees.


Now, no matter how many pins I apply to this image and no matter how I tug them around, the image won’t rotate any more.

How to Actually Warp an Image​

In this final section, I’m going to show you the very basics of how to warp an image using the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop. Basically, all you need to do is click on an image where you would like to hold it still. In these areas, by clicking, you’ll be adding pins. Consider these pins to be something like thumbtacks. If you apply a thumbtack to the sheet example, those areas will be stuck to the ground. If I add two pins to the working image in this post, I’ll secure those areas. If I go ahead and click to add a third pin and keep it active by not clicking on anything else (indicated by a white dot at the center of the pin), I can consider that a piece of tape on the sheet. If I stick some tape to the sheet and pull, that part of the sheet will move, while the other two pins stay put. Let me show you visually.


I circled the pins in red. The center bottom pin is the active one and the one I pulled straight down. By doing this, I pulled the entire center down, as seen by the checkerboard background up top.

It’s really not any more difficult than that. Of course, other things will come into play when using this tool, such as what the image is that you’re working with and whether or not it’s a Smart Object. Anything like this is beyond the scope of this post, but I may revisit this topic in the future to cover them. For now, I encourage you to experiment with this feature inside of Photoshop. You may have a use for it in the future and when that time comes, it’ll be extremely helpful if you have a bit of experience with it.


I hope I clearly explained the basics behind the Puppet Warp feature inside Photoshop. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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  • #4

How to Use the Perspective Warp Tool in Adobe Photoshop​

No matter how you try to compensate while taking a photograph, many things you shoot will end up distorted in the end product. Personally, I don’t mind a little distortion. I think it gives the photo some flavor. But I completely understand the reasoning behind those who like to correct their photos. To them, it’s about accuracy, not flavor.

Adobe applications have many tools to correct the accuracy of photographs. From the Upright tool in Camera Raw to the warp features of Photoshop, there’s really no reason to leave a building that should be standing straight and tall, crooked and short. There really is no reason. Especially since so many of these tools are so easy to use.

In today’ post, I’ll be walking through a tool I haven’t discussed yet in Adobe Photoshop. It’s called the Perspective Warp tool and it’s really very cool. After getting used to how it works, it’s super simple to take advantage of. It’s also extremely powerful. There are options to have Photoshop suggest the outcome and there are options to allow you to decided what’s going to happen. Sometimes Photoshop doesn’t give the best result and you need to take over. That’s fine. There are a lot of options available.

Demo Photo​

Since this tool is so frequently used with architecture, I decided that a photo of a building that’s slightly leaning would be the best to use. It’ll give you an idea of what can be done to buildings in general.

Here’s the photo.


Now just so you know, this was a taller photo. I cropped it so it’s wide. Wider photos are easier to display on this blog. The tool works just as good on taller photos.

The Perspective Warp Tool​

I already have the photo launched into Photoshop. Since the photo layer was locked in the Layers panel, I clicked on the small lock icon to unlock it. I can’t work on it if it’s locked.


Once the layer is unlocked, I can head up to the Edit > Perspective Warp menu item and click.


Defining the Building’s Planes​

The most important task while using this tool is to define the planes of the building. All this means is that the sides of the buildings need to be accurately identified by Photoshop. If something is leaning, Photoshop needs to be told that. If something is distorted, Photoshop needs to be told that. While this might sound like a challenge, there’s actually a very handy tool to help out in this regard.

The moment I clicked on the Perspective Warp tool from the Edit menu, my mouse cursor changed. Now, I’m able to draw an outline on the photograph itself. This is sort of like the one I drew when I wrote about the Perspective Crop tool in Photoshop. It’s like a web that overlays the photo.

To draw the overlay, I’ll click and drag. Once I do that, I’ll see a box form. It makes no difference if I let go of the mouse and stop drawing the overlay because at any time, I can click the corners and pull them anyplace I want. In this case, I’ll line the left edge of the overlay up with the leaning center of the building. Then, I’ll trace the current distorted perspective of the right side of the building. If you look closely at the screenshot below, you’ll see the overlay.


Now let me explain what I did. For the left edge of the overlay, I made sure it lined up with the leaning center of the building. This is critical because when it comes time for Photoshop to make it’s correction, it’s going to look at this edge and say, “Hey, that’s not perpendicular. Let me make it so.” It’s going to straighten out that edge. Also, I traced the perspective of the building with the top and bottom edges. I did this because Photoshop is going to look at those two lines and lock them in place with the vertical ones so everything shifts as one unit. For the right edge, you can see the building is really distorted and leaning towards the right and left side. Those are usually the worst. I made sure to follow the lean with the edge because Photoshop is going to stand those straight up as well.

I drew one overlay. While I could stop there and begin the correction, I do have the ability to draw another overlay that covers the left side of the building. I’ll do that now.

Take a look at this next screenshot. I haven’t finished drawing the left overlay yet, but I wanted to stop here for a moment to show you something. When two edges are drawn near each other, they turn blue. If I let go of this plane, the blue edges would combine as one. Since that’s what I want, I’ll let go, let them do their things and then I’ll click and drag the corners to continue on.


Okay, I have finished the overlay. Take a look.


Since you probably can’t see the overlay too well, let me show you another way. I added another layer under the photo layer and filled it with black. Then, I reduced the opacity of the photo layer so the grid clearly shows.


That’s much better.

Correcting the Perspective​

Back when I clicked the Perspective Warp tool to activate it, the options bar up top changed to fit this particular tool. Here’s the new one. It’s not all that extensive.


If you look at the options bar, you’ll notice that the working mode is currently in Layout. That’s just one of the buttons and it happens to be activated. Once I’m done with the layout overlays, which I am, I can click on the Warp button to begin the correction. When I click the Warp button, the three buttons to the right of that will become available to click on. The first one straightens vertical lines, the second one levels the horizontal lines and the third one auto warps by straightening both the horizontal and vertical lines. In general, for photographs like the one I’m working on, the first option works the best. Also, at any time while in Warp mode, I can click and drag the outer edges and corners of the overlay to manually warp the photograph. If Photoshop doesn’t do that great of a job, I can clean the photo up myself. In today’s case, I’ll simply let Photoshop do it’s thing.

Let’s see what happens when I click the first button that corrects the image vertically.


Yes, this is definitely what I want. That looks good. I’m going to keep going though. I want to show you what happens when I press the next two button. This next image is the result after I clicked the horizontal correction button.


Do you see what I meant when I said that Photoshop will make the top and bottom lines perfectly horizontal? Also, if I wanted to extend the correction to the remaining areas of the photo that are outside of the overlay, I could simply stretch the overlay outside of the photo area into the workspace. That’s fine and it would just create a large area of correction. Now, let’s see what happens when I press the third button. The vertical and horizontal correction. This isn’t going to be pretty.


Actually, this one sort of looks like that last one. But with this one, all the overlay lines are perfectly vertical or horizontal.

Additional Options Bar Buttons​

As you may have noticed, there are three more buttons towards the right side of the Perspective Warp options bar. These are easy to explain. The first one is to undo the warp that was just acted upon, the second one is to cancel the tool and to exit it and that last one is to accept the changes and to apply them to the photo and exit the tool. It’s that simple.

A Note About Manually Warping an Image​

No matter how Photoshop might correct an image, you may want to go ahead and make some minor changes after the fact. As I explained above, this is a very simple thing to do.

To move a corner of the overlay, click on the corner pin and drag. You can move up, down or anywhere you’d like with any of these pins.

Let’s say you want to straighten an edge and lock it in place while you click and drag around other areas of the overlay. To do this, simply hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click an edge. It will turn yellow and straighten right out. Take a look.


Once the edge in question turns yellow and straightens out, you can go ahead and work on other areas of the overlay. You can also even Shift click again on another edge if you wanted to.

Keyboard Shortcuts For the Perspective Warp Tool​

While working with this tool, you have some handy dandy keyboard shortcuts at your disposal. I’ll list and explain them below.

H – While in Warp mode, press and let go of this button to hide the overlay grid.

L – While in Warp mode, press this key to go back to Layout mode.

W – While in Layout mode, press this key to jump to Warp mode.

Arrow Keys – Click on a pin to activate it. Then, use your arrow keys to move that pin.

Enter Key – If you’re in Layout mode, you can press this key to jump to Warp mode. If you’re in Warp mode, you can press this key to apply your changes. Doing this would have the same effect as clicking on the check button in the options bar.

Shift-Click – I explained this above. Doing this straightens an edge of the overlay. Must be in Warp mode.

Shift – If you click Shift an edge, it will be highlighted in yellow and the perspective will be constrained. If you click a pin and drag it around while an edge is yellow, that edge will remain constrained during your other modifications.


Okay, I think I’ll stop there. I covered most of the Perspective Warp basics in this post. While I’m sure there’s more to talk about, what I shared above should give you a good idea of what you need to get going. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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  • #5

Warping & Adding a Gradient to Text in Adobe Photoshop​

I used to create all sorts of graphics in my previous life. I can remember making postcards, flyers, newspaper and magazine ads and posters for events such as car shows, bridal events and many other events held at a wide variety of venues. I’ve even created those huge graphics that are glued to the sides of city buses and billboards. Boy, I sometimes forget how much I’ve done in this area.

Anyway, much, if not all, of what I created included text. While there wasn’t an overwhelming need for warping and transforming the text I used back in the day, now that I think about it, perhaps a bit of flair could have enhanced some of the images. And to be honest, I’m not sure the warp tools that I’ll be covering today were even available back then. If they were, I probably would have known about it. I’m talking of a time that spanned between 2002 and 2007, so if anyone knows, please let me know.

In today’s post, I’ll be typing out some text with one of the standard default fonts that comes with Windows 10. I’ll type it as a layer on top of a photograph. Then, I’ll be using the warp and transform tools to shape the text to follow one of the lines in the photo. Finally, I’ll add a stroke and gradient to the text to give it some character. The lessons I’d like to get across in this post are how converting a text layer into a shape layer can be hugely beneficial when you want to get creative with that text. The gradient and stroke components of this post are just for fun. I’ll actually be covering both of those areas much more in depth in later posts. For now, I’d like to primarily focus on bending and warping text in Adobe Photoshop.

The Photo​

I tried to find a photo that had curves in it and I think I did a pretty good job in this regard. I really couldn’t ask for many more curves than are in this skate park. I only need one, mind you, but at least I have a choice of which one to use. Here’s the demo photo for today.


Just to let you know, I ran this photo through Adobe Camera Raw to enhance it a bit. I pretty much did this with my eyes closed, so if you see anything you don’t like, that’s the reason. I felt that the image needed some more color, so that’s what I added. If you’re interested in learning how to make a photograph look better inside of Camera Raw, please read through this post.

Adding the Text​

Okay, let’s get going. To start off, I’ll let you know that the image is already opened up in Adobe Photoshop. The first thing I’ll do is to activate the Horizontal Type Tool in the left toolbar by going over there and clicking on it.


Then, I’ll make a few changes in the Character panel. I’ll set the font to AR Darling, the color to White and the font size to 170 pt. The rest of the panel I’ll leave set as default.


Next, I’ll type out a random word. I figure that “SKATE” will work well with this image, since it’s all about skating. I really wish I had more of an imagination at times like this.

Let’s see what things are looking like at this point.


Converting Text to a Shape​

Since I’m going to warp these letters, I’ll need to convert them to a shape. Unfortunately, we can’t warp regular text; text needs to be converted before we do that. It’s not a problem though because it’s very simple to convert regular text to a shape in Photoshop. All I need to do is make sure the text layer in the Layers panel is selected and then head up to the Type > Convert to Shape menu item and click.


Doing this will turn the text into a vector shape that can be transformed forever without any degradation. The consequence of this though is that it becomes impossible to edit the text, so it’s important to be sure the word is exactly what you want before converting it to a shape.

Moving & Warping the Text​

I actually previously wrote a post that covered warping objects and text a bit more in depth than what I’ll cover today, so if you’d like to read that post, please click through below.

How To Warp Objects & Text in Adobe Photoshop

For now, I’ll simply do a minimal amount of moving and warping. Okay, since the text is now considered a shape, I have a bit of flexibility. I don’t like how far the T and the E are away from the rest of the letters. As they stand, they’re too far to the right. To correct this, I’ll go back over to the left toolbar, but this time, I’ll click on the Path Selection Tool.


Using this tool will give me the ability to select just one letter at a time or a combination of letters, as opposed to the entire word. To select the T and the E, I’ll click and drag my mouse pointer over both of those letters. Check out how these selected letters look. They have a blue outline.


Again, I just want to say this one more time; these letters are no longer editable text. They are now considered shapes in the eyes of Photoshop. We can manipulate them in the same ways we can manipulate shapes.

To move these two letters closer to the A in the word, I’ll push the left arrow key on my keyboard a few times until I like the way things look. Also, if I feel like anything else needs moving, I can do that now as well.

Now I’ll move on to the most important part of this post, which is the warping. Before I warp though, I’ll use the Move Tool to move the word slightly to the lower right of the image, so it lines up more with the curve of the cement. After that, I’ll use the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+T to activate the Free Transform function of Photoshop and then after that, I’ll head up to the Warp button in the options bar. This Warp button toggles back and forth between the warp mode and the free transform mode. If I wanted to simply free transform the letters, I could simply transform without clicking on that button. Since I want to warp though, I’ll need to click on it.


When I do click on that button, the lines around the letters will change from just an outer bounding box to more of a grid. Take a look.


Warping the Shapes​

Warping shapes is as easy as clicking and dragging. I can either click on one of the anchors located on the outer edge of the box or I can simply click anywhere inside of the grid and drag. As an example, I’ll click on the top part of the letter S and drag upward.


If I didn’t like that, I can click and drag on the upper left corner anchor point.


Think about warping like moving a tablecloth. If you push your finger on the center of the tablecloth somewhere, you can move the area around where you pushed. If you pull the edge of the tablecloth, more of an area will get pulled with it. Warping in Photoshop and pulling and pushing a tablecloth are very similar endeavors.

I’ll go ahead and click and drag until I see the letters sort of mold their lower parts around the cement. I’ll do that now.


I think that looks very good. I clicked and dragged both the corners and the center area of the shapes. After I was done, I pressed Enter on my keyboard to apply the changes. That removed the grid and left the shapes warped. Perfect.

Adding a Stroke & Gradient​

Again, I’ll be covering strokes and gradients much more thoroughly in later posts, but since I’d like these letters jazzed up a bit today, I figured I’d throw this part in the post as well.

To add a stroke to the shapes, I’ll need to once again activate the Path Selection Tool (black arrow) in the left toolbar. After that, I’ll need to click and drag my mouse pointer over the entire word. When I see all the letters highlighted in blue, I’ll go to the options bar up top and then I’ll click on the Stroke box. From there, I’ll choose the color Black from the palette.


To the right of the Stroke box is the Stroke Width indicator. I’ll set this to 10px. And finally, since I would like to see this stroke set to the outer edge of the shapes, I’ll make that distinction in the Align drop-down that’s kept in the Stroke Options area.


And finally, my stroke will look like this.


That’s so cool. It’s why I chose this particular font. I love the stroke that’s created from it.

Adding the Gradient​

To apply a gradient to the shapes, I’ll again select them all with the Path Selection Tool. After that, I’ll head up to the Gradient area and click the small box so the palette opens up.


To create the actual gradient, I’ll click on a random preset that is located towards the center of the palette and then I’ll click inside the gradient bar below. If I double-click, the Color Picker will open up and I can choose the colors of the gradient from there. Also, if I single-click right beneath the bar, an additional color indicator will appear, that I can, again, double-click to add another color to the mix. If I want to rotate the gradient, I can click and drag on the angle tool, which is located in the lower right area of the palette. It’s a circle with a line in it.

Once I’m finished, I can push the Enter key on my keyboard to apply the gradient. Here are the gradient and the final Image.

gradient.jpg final-image-1.jpg

I know I kind of flew through this last gradient part because really, the topic is just too big for this post. Again, I’ll be following up with this later on.


I hope I clearly explained how you can warp, add a stroke to and add a gradient to text in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


May 7, 2021
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  • #6

Protecting Text While Warping & Distorting in Photoshop​

I used to make a lot of business cards, flyers, posters and all sorts of print material back in my heyday. I still do produce graphics like this from time to time and I am just so pleased with how far Photoshop has come in this regard. I can tell you that it is SO much easier to deal with certain things these days compared to what we in the business used to have to put up with.

For instance, when I used to type out text and then manipulate it some way, such as via warping or distorting, I’d have to first convert the text from a vector object to a rasterized, pixel-based one. When I did this, I lost all ability to ever change the text again. What I mean by this is, I wouldn’t be able to change the spelling of something, edit the text or change the size of it without reducing its quality. I like working with vector based shapes and text a heck of a lot better than I like working with raster based shapes and text.

Through the years, Photoshop gave us the ability to, what’s referred to as “protect,” text and shapes without having to convert them to raster based objects. This has been an incredible development, especially for those who work with these types of things often.

Okay, let’s get into it. Let’s say I have a document that includes some normal, unaltered text as well as a custom shape. In this case, I just made something up for this demonstration. Take a look.


I haven’t rasterized anything, so both of these objects are still editable vector objects.

If I wanted to warp these layers in some way, I used to have to first convert the layers to pixels. Today though, there’s a workaround that allows me to warp and distort vector layers without having to convert to pixels first.

To protect these two layers, I’ll select them in the Layers panel. Then, I’ll right-click on one of the layers and choose the Convert to Smart Object option from the menu that appears.


After I do that, the two layers I had selected will merge into one Smart Object. I can now twist and reshape these layers at the same time, all the while having the layers protected inside of the Smart Object. To access those layers to edit them, all I need to do is double-click on the Smart Object layer in the Layers panel and a new tab will open up. This is what I see in the new tab that appears after I double-click on the Smart Object in the original file.


To make my changes, all I need to do is choose the layer I want to work on over in the Layers panel, make my changes and then close the tab. Before it closes, it’ll ask me if I want to save it out and I’ll choose Yes.

Here I am warping the text by using the Edit > Transform > Warp function.


I do want to give you a very cool tip here in this tutorial. As you may have noticed, when I converted the two layers into a Smart Object and then entered into that Smart Object by double-clicking on it in the Layers panel, the canvas size shrunk to the size of just the text and the layer, and didn’t maintain the size of the original canvas in the original file. This is how things are supposed to work, but if you would like to maintain the original canvas size, all you need to do is add another layer to the original file that’s the same as the canvas size. Then, include that layer in the Smart Object and there you go. You’ll have the Smart Object canvas the same size as the canvas in the original file. If you don’t want to keep that extra layer in the Smart Object, simply double-click to enter the Smart Object and delete the extra layer there.

I hope this helped you in some way. If you’re a designer who uses text and shapes in Photoshop a lot, I think it will. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!