How to Use Puppet Warp in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Use Puppet Warp in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Being a puppet master using Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 is an easy task with Puppet Warp. Think of Puppet Warp as a lighter weight Liquify filter. This command enables you to distort specific areas of an image via a mesh overlay and the placement of pins.

You can apply a Puppet Warp on regular layers, shape layers, type layers, Smart Objects, and even vector masks. Here’s how:

  1. Select your desired layer in the Layers panel.

  2. Choose Edit→Puppet Warp.

  3. On the Options bar, specify your desired settings:


    • Mode: Determines the elasticity of the mesh. Distort will give you an ultra-stretchy mesh, while Rigid will do the opposite.

    • Density: Specifies the spacing of the mesh, where small changes in moving the pins result in larger warps. Also a good mode for larger images. Rigid is the opposite and recommended when your object is more stiff, as with human appendages.

    • Expansion: Expand or contract the outer edges of the mesh.

    • Show Mesh: Deselect to display only the pins, and not the mesh.

  4. On your image, click to add a pin to an area you want to distort or anchor.

  5. Drag a selected pin to warp the mesh.

    [Credit: © Image #16250699]
    Credit: © Image #16250699
  6. To rotate around a pin automatically, select Auto on the Options bar, and drag. To rotate a fixed number of degrees, select Fixed on the Options bar, press the Alt (Option on the Mac) key and position your cursor near, but not over, the pin. Drag to rotate.

    Your degree of rotation appears on the Options bar.

  7. You can also do the following:

    • To show a mesh area that you’ve overlapped over another, click the Pin Depth buttons on the Options bar.

    • To select multiple pins, Shift+click on your desired pins. Release the Shift key to drag all pins simultaneously.

    • To delete a pin, select it and press Backspace (Delete on the Mac). Or Alt (Option on the Mac) and click over a pin.

    • Click Remove All Pins (the curved arrow icon) on the Options bar to do just that.

    • To select all pins, press Ctrl (Command on the Mac). To deselect all pins, press Ctrl+D (Command+D on the Mac). To hide the mesh, press Ctrl+H (Command+H on the Mac).

    • To exit Puppet Warp, click the slashed circle icon, or press Esc.

  8. After you warp to your desired result, press Enter (Return on the Mac) or click the check icon on the Options bar.