Quick Tip: Use Puppet Warp in Photoshop CS5 to Tweak Your Images

Posted by on Jun 23, 2010 in Blog | 9 comments

Photoshop CS5′s new Puppet Warp feature can be extremely useful if you need to make minor adjustments to your photos. In today’s quick tip tutorial we will demonstrate how to correct a Photo with this new tool in minutes. Let’s get started!

Step 1

First, let’s load our image. I have selected this stock image.

Step 2

Create a selection around the object. The selection needs to be fairly accurate but we will use the refine edge tool to fix the selection just in case, later on. So using the Pen Tool (P) trace the path around the object as best as you can, making sure you finish where you started creating a single loop.

Step 3

With the pen tool still selected, right click the path and click "Make Selection". This will now load the path as a selection. Enter the value 0 for feather radius and select ok.

Step 4

With the selection still active, click on the Marquee Tool (M) and under the options for the tool, click the button for "Refine Edge". This tool allows us to refine and fix the selection as best as possible. Feel free to experiment with the settings to find the best selection for the object if needed. Once you have made your selection, change the output from "Selection" to "New Layer with Mask".

Step 5

We now have two separate layers, one with just the flower and the original. We now need to delete the flower from the original background image. To do this, load the original selection again (Cmd/Ctrl + Click Masked Layer icon) and use CS5′s new content aware fill to delete the area. For best results, expand the selection by going to Selection > Modify > Expand, Expand by 10px and click ok. Now press Delete on the original layer and select content Aware Fill.

Step 6

Sometimes Photoshop won’t get it right the first time and may leave some contrasting lines. To fix this, we can use the Spot Healing Brush Tool (J) using some content aware settings and simply paint over the lines to blend them in.

Step 7

We can now very easily apply the puppet warp tool without destroying or distorting the background. With our masked layer selected, go to Edit > Puppet Warp. This will open the tool and allow us to manipulate and warp the object. Placing points systematically around the displayed mesh will create bending/warping points. Place them on your object in the best arrangement to create joints to bend as shown below.

Step 8

Dragging or rotating these points (Alt + Click and move over point) will warp the object in the desired direction. Using this we can drag the stem of the flower to come from the side, while still allowing the flower to stay upright.

Final Image

And that’s how you use the Puppet Warp Tool. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Additional Uses

Moving arms, or changing body stance.

Straighten lines, or correcting lens distortion.

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  1. i use Cs4 now, i will download cs5 at once.

  2. Only available on CS5 :(

  3. Hi,

    Yes there are many tutorials following up on Photoshop’s CS5 features, but especially with Puppet Warp there are so many features then just say moving an arm or in this case a flower. I show further example on using this tool in other circumstances such as the lines, and how you can simple movie and straighten them (And yes the girl does look like she has a broken arm, simply not enough time was spent on further example , and was focused on the main tutorial).

    There will be more creative ways this tool is used down the track, so for now we can teach the basic and fundamental mechanics behind these tools for everyone to apply their knowledge in their own individual way.

    Thanks for the comments,


  4. Nice tut. I have cs4 can you do this in there? i tried it takes a little longer but some of the main steps are missing.

    Design Turd

  5. The tutorial is fine (although there are already a bazillion examples of this all over the web… kinda like all the “Content Aware” tutorials), but the one with the dancing girl looks like she has a broken arm. Unfortunately, we’re probably going to see far too many ‘broken arms’ in these puppet warp tutorials as more and more people get PS CS5. These are the types of tools (like filters) that get misused a LOT.

  6. Nice one! Didn’t know this function by now. Definitely have to get CS5

  7. Wow really awesome tut. Time to go experiment now on some of my pics.

  8. This to me is so much more intuitive than using mesh warp or liquify or whatever… although your 2nd example of the girl at the concert looks pretty wonky.

  9. Good editing.. I never used this before but it seems quite useful now, Thanks