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Adobe Photoshop Tips: December 5, 2009: How to use the Warp Tool in Photoshop or the Liquify Filter in PSE
If you are looking for a fun way to add a little magic to your holiday photos, try playing dress up in Photoshop! Adding fun elements like hats to your favorite subjects is quick and easy, but gives your pictures a dramatic punch. Learning to use the Warp tool will help you make the hats fit onto your subjects’ heads, making them look as if they belong there.
Begin by downloading images from the internet like these fun hats by Pattie Knox at Designer Digitals.
Unzip your download, making a note of where you have stored the unzipped folder.
Open a photo and the hat images in Photoshop by selecting File > Open and browsing your computer for your unzipped folder. Select all of the images you want to import and click Open. The files will populate in your editing window.
Get the Move tool and drag a hat onto your photo. Resize the hat if needed by holding the Shift key as you drag a corner handle. The side handles can be used to twist or turn the image, but should not be used to resize it since it can distort the image.
Zoom in close to your hat by pressing Ctrl + (Mac: Cmd +) several times. Then select the hat layer and choose Edit > Transform > Warp to activate the Warp tool. This places a grid over your image. Select Warp: Custom in the Options bar and then use the Move tool to click and drag the squares of the grid until the hat is form-fitted to your subject’s head.
When you are satisfied, click the check mark in the Options Bar to confirm the warp.
The Transform >Warp tool is available only in the full version of Photoshop. If you are working in Photoshop Elements, you can get reasonably good results using the Liquify Filter.
After dragging the hat onto the photo with the Move tool, select the hat layer and then choose Filter > Distort > Liquify from the Menu Bar. Click the Warp tool which looks like a pointer finger and use it to push the pixels forward. In the Tool Options section, adjust the brush size and pressure of the tool, as needed.
Click OK to apply the changes to your actual image. You’ll need to use trial and error to get the warp right since you can only see one layer at a time in the filter.
If you enjoyed playing with paper dolls when you were young, this technique is sure to bring back a few happy memories this holiday season.
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