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Warp, Blend, Liquify in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 1 of 5

Class Introduction: Warping

Ben Willmore

Warp, Blend, Liquify in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction: Warping

Lesson Info

Class Introduction: Warping

In this session, we're going to talk about bending, warping in liquefying layers in Photoshop. So if there's any time that you don't need just a straight an ordinary image, you're gonna learn how to bend it right now. Let's start off with a feature known as warping. And I just want to start off by letting you know that I always convert my image into a Smart Object before doing this. A Smart Object is something where it's the equivalent to putting your image inside of a protective bubble, where the original contents of the layer is preserved and any changes you make to that layer afterwards, are just settings attached to the layer that you could easily modify afterwards. So let me show you what it looks like if I don't use a Smart Object first, and I'm just gonna do something simple. I'm gonna come over here and choose Edit. And let's see I will use Free Transform, it's grayed out right now because I'm working on the Background Layer. The Background Layer has a little lock symbol on it,...

I'm going to unlock it, then I'll come over here to Free Transform. And if I were to scale this image down, and let's say I were to rotate it, and scale it some more, press Return or Enter, indicate I'm done, move it back up here. If I returned to Free Transform again, in the future, it's not gonna know that this layer has ever been transformed. It's gonna think it originally started out at this angle, and therefore when I choose Free Transform, instead of having the rotation handles sitting on the corners of this rectangular object, instead, it's going to be straight, where it just thinks of it as a rectangular image. And so for me to be able to get this back to its original angle, I'm just eyeballing it. And if I try to get this back to its original size, again, I'm just eyeballing it here because it's not doing anything to help me. And as I scale this up, the quality is going down. Because it's scaling up the number of pixels that we had just a few moments ago, it does not have access to the original number of pixels that the images made out of. So that when I'm done, if I were to zoom up really close on this and compare it to the original, this would be blurry. So here I'll choose Revert to show you the original. And just remember how jagged and blurry these stars were, when I choose Revert you see how crisp the original were. Well, if on the other hand, before attempting to transform my image, I went to the Layer menu, I chose Smart Objects, and I said Convert to Smart Object. Now it's taking the original contents of that layer and protecting it, so that everything I do to this image from now on will be calculated from the size of the original image. So if I go to the Edit menu, and I choose Free Transform, and I make this a lot smaller. And I rotate it. And I press Return or Enter. If I come back to do that, again, first off when I choose Free Transform, it remembers that I've transformed it and it keeps the handles that usually appear in their original position. So if you look at them, I'll zoom up, you see that they are rotated along with the flag, it knows that it's been rotated in the past, and it knows by how much, in right up here it actually tells me that it's been rotated 59 degrees, and it's been scaled down to 24% of its original size. So if I were to type in 100 here, and type in zero for the degrees, this thing would be back to its original setup. And now the quality if I zoom up, will be exactly the same as the original because when you have a Smart Object, it protected the original and the things that I've done to it were just setting attached to the layer. If those settings are reset to their original settings, the picture looks exactly like it did when I started. But that becomes more important when you start using features like warping. So in this case, I'm gonna make this image slightly smaller by typing Command T, Command T or Ctrl + T in Windows is the same as choosing Free Transform from the menu, which is what I used a few moments ago. And then I'm gonna come up here and choose to Warp this. Now when you warp something, you end up with a little control point on each corner of your picture. And you could grab each corner and reposition it and you'll be bendy in the image. So if you want it to look like the, the corner of a page overturned, this is one way you could do that. Or if you left that straight, I'll choose Undo so it's more straight. There are handles coming out of each corner. It's kinda hard to tell where they're coming from, but here's the corner in this handle this little dot is coming out of that corner. You might notice it more if I drag it up, you can see the handle going up, or I drag it down. And that's determining what angle does the image go at right when it leaves that corner point is saying that right the moment it leaves it travels in this direction. Whereas if this is pointing up, it's traveling in that direction when it first leaves the point. And you have two handles for each corner point. There's also one point down here, which can control that edge. So if I wanted to bend this flag, let's say I could come in there and adjust those corner points, maybe bring one up and bring the other one down. Try to get a bit of a ripple on this flag. But with newer versions of Photoshop, you have much more control. If you come up here, you can split the image into vertical or horizontal sections. And so if I click on that icon I just did, which was the vertical line that's in there, and then I move on top of my image, I can choose exactly where I split it vertically. And then I can control that portion, I can click and drag here, I can grab the endpoints that are there and drag up and down. All sorts of things I could do. If I click that icon, once again, I can come out here and add more of those. So if I want to look as if this flag is flapping, if I divided up with enough spaces vertically, then I should be able to grab, you can actually grab more than one of these points at once. If I click on the bottom point on one of these vertical lines I've added hold Shift, I should be able to get the top point as well. And then I can go to another one, hold SHIFT and click on it so right now I have four of those points selected, then I could move them together like this. And I'm just shift clicking on the various points to say I'd like to work more than one at a time. And we can do all sorts of little stretching here, however you'd like this to be distorted, you don't have to grab the actual handles, you can click in an open area between them. To move more than one at a time, you're gonna move all the points that are in between where your mouse is like surrounding your mouse. So now if I do that, and then I press Return or Enter to indicate I'm done, had I not use the Smart Object, then if I go back to choose warping, again, it would start off fresh is if you've never made a change to the image before, and you'd end up with only those corner points again, and it would be difficult to bring this back to the way it used to be. But now that we have a Smart Object, if I come back here to to Edit, Transform, Warp, it remembers all the handles and so it's as if I never left and it's very easy for me to then come in here and make further changes to the end result. Here I'm grabbing the line itself and dragging it a bit to get a little more curvature. So remember convert to a Smart Object before you start warping things because then if you ever press Return or Enter in later on go, "Oh man, I wish that was just a little bit different," you'll be able to go in and make those changes afterwards. Then there are certain things that if you attempt to warp them won't warp the way you expect. In this case, I just have a square that has a pattern applied, the way the pattern was applied, is I just had a solid colored square sitting there. And if you look at my Layers Panel, you'll see it says Pattern Overlay directly below that layer. Well, the way that was applied is with that layer active I went to the bottom of the Layers Panel, I clicked on the letters FX And I chose Pattern Overlay. When you choose Pattern Overlay, there's just a little pop up right here a little preview, where you could apply various patterns. And so I could apply little dots, I could apply all sorts of different looks to them. I'm gonna click cancel because I like the one I had. But now if I apply warping, it's gonna warp the general contents of this layer, but it's not gonna warp, any effects that were applied to it, meaning it's not gonna warp that Pattern Overlay. So let's try it. Notice it's warping the shape, but the patterns just sitting still. And that's because it is the pattern is a setting that's just attached to the layer and it's not affected by warping. So how can I get it to warp settings that are just attached to the layer. Well, I can by going to the Layer menu, choosing Smart Objects and choosing Convert to Smart Object. When I do that, watch what happens in my Layers Panel, specifically look at the Pattern Overlay. And notice it looked like it went away, it didn't actually go away, it got inside of this thing called a Smart Object, instead of being attached to the outside of it, because it's now inside of the Smart Object when I choose warping, it's going to warp not only the shape that is in that layer, but also the pattern that's attached to it. And it's not just true of patterns. It could be many other things that you have, maybe clipped to that layer, so that maybe you have some text that you're gonna warp and you've put a photograph inside of the text, but the photo is a separate layer. I showed you how to do that in the layer session. Well, then only the text would be distorted the photo would not unless you selected both layers and didn't turn it into a Smart Object first.

Class Description


  • Wrap a photograph around a coffee mug
  • Move an element from one photo to another and have it match the perspective of the destination document
  • Adjust the finger and arm position of models
  • Perform digital liposuction
  • Use Warp, Liquify, Puppet Warp, Perspective Warp and more


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)

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Practice Images


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a Creativelive Student

Very good course ! Topics were well explained. Ben is a good teacher.