Sunday, March 7, 2010

Transforming The Warp Tool


In the past tutorials, we showed you how to transform objects and how to use the basics of the Warp tool to distort text. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the Free Transform tool and we will expand on your knowledge with the Warp tool. Along the way, we will show you how to warp an image around a coffee cup. We will also show you some tips and tricks to speed the process up on transforming your image.


Currently we are using Windows Vista Home Premium 64 Bit and the Photoshop CS4 Extended 64 Bit version.


Knowledge You Need to Know:

If you are unfamiliar with certain areas that are not covered in this tutorial, feel free check out the other tutorials on our website. We have many different types of tutorials that can be downloaded (Video, PDF) or viewed online that will train you for free! Once you have the knowledge, feel free to come back and go through this tutorial again.


Preparing For This Tutorial:

You will be using a picture of coffee cup and a picture of a Spain building. If you do not have this image, please scroll down to the image of “Click Picture To Download Supporting Files” and download the image. Please open the image PE-TRANSWARP in the Photoshop Program. **Once opened, make sure you are on the Spain Building Layer!



Last week we were in Barcelona, Spain for a business trip (non-Photoshop related). My wife, asked me to pickup a coffee cup and if I had time, take some pictures of the sites. So we are taking a picture from our trip and putting it on a coffee cup. While in Spain we also thought about the next few Photoshop courses tutorials that needed to be created.


In the past, we have shown you how to use the transform tools (Transforming Objects tutorial) in Photoshop, but we felt it was time to show the “Free Transform” tool. If you do not understand all of the transforming tools, please review the above tutorial before proceeding. Back in the Text Features course, we showed you how to use the presets to warp text. In this tutorial, we will show you how to manually warp an image.


Our goal in this tutorial is make the Spain building picture look like it has been printed on the coffee cup. This tutorial is just one way (there are many different techniques) to place an object on a curved surface. By no means, the end result will look perfect, but that is not the goal of this tutorial. The goal is to show you how to use the “Free Transform” tool and how to manually warp an object.


Understanding Free Transform:

Back in the Transforming Objects tutorial, we showed you how to use rotate, distort, skew, perspective, etc. The “Free Transform” is one tool that has all these options in it!


To use the “Free Transform”, Left click the “Edit” menu and Left click the “Free Transform” command. Photoshop Tip – Use CTRL-“T” as a keyboard shortcut.

Free Transform Menu


You will then see a box around the “Spain Building” layer. Remember, before you went into the “Free Transform” you should have been on the “Spain Building” Layer.


A). You will see 8 points around the box. You will be using these points to resize, skew, distort, etc. Refer to the Transforming Objects tutorial for more information.


B). If you move the mouse above the square box with the points, you will see a double curved arrow. This will allow you to rotate the image (if you are using the rotate option of the “Free Transform” tool).


C). When using the different tools, this is your pivot point. Just a reminder, this is used to tell Photoshop what is the center of the picture. You can move it to allow you to pivot off of a different area of the image.

Free Transform Tool


To use the different transform tools, Right click on the image and you will see the following menu displayed. Left click any of the menu options to use that specific tool.

Free Transform Tool Selection


You will notice right below the menu options a new sub-menu you will be displayed. Due to the fact that we are a beginner, intermediate Photoshop site, we will be skipping this sub-menu. In a later tutorial, we will explain this sub-menu in detail. For now, let’s focus our attention on the following parts of this new sub-menu.


A). Left click this to toggle between the Warp mode and the normal Free Transform mode. Left click it again, to toggle back to the previous mode.


B). If you are not satisfied with the transformation, Left click this image to cancel your transformation.


C). Left click the check box to apply your transformation changes.

Free Transform Apply Button


The next area of this tutorial will show you how to use the “Free Transform” tool, to begin shaping this Spain building picture to the coffee cup. If you are not interested in doing this exercise, feel free to proceed to the “Manually Warping” section of this tutorial.


In the next steps, we will be resizing, rotating, etc. to get the Spain building layer to roughly fit on the coffee cup. Photoshop Tip – To allow you to see the size of the coffee cup, while resizing the Spain building, Left click on the “Cup” layer in the layers palette and change the opacity to 50%.


Make sure your “Spain Building” layer is selected and turn off the “Background” layer in the Layers palette (Left click the “Eye”). Now use the “Scale” option of the “Free Transform” tool. **When resizing, hold down the “Shift” key to resize the image correctly. Release the “Shift” key and the Left mouse button when you are happy with the changes. Move the mouse inside the image and Photoshop will to change to the Move tool. Hold down the Left mouse button and drag it to the coffee cup. Release the Left mouse button when you are satisfied with the changes.


Your goal is to resize it actually a fair amount bigger than the coffee cup. We resized it much bigger than the coffee cup because we wanted to have room to rotate to straighten the Spain Building image. Below is a snapshot of our image.

Free Transform Scale


Now change the “Free Transform” tool to rotate and rotate the Spain Building so the top of the building is straight with the coffee cup. Now use the Move tool to reposition the Spain Building. When you are done, Left click the Check option to apply the changes.

Free Transform Rotate


Manually Warping:

You could have gone into Warp at this stage, but we need to change the opacity once again to the “Cup” layer. It should currently show 50%. Left click on the “Cup” layer in the Layers palette and change the opacity to 40%. We need the cup to be faint, but still be shown. Now, Left click the “Spain Building” layer in the Layers palette and use the CTRL-“T” to get back into the “Free Transform”.


You can either Left click on the button below or Right click on the image and Left click the “Warp” command to get into the Warp tool.

Free Transform Option Menu



Free Transform Warp Menu


You will now see the Warp tool displayed. Please refer to the Text Features tutorial for basic information about this tool. You will see 9 different boxes and 12 points.

Warp Tool


Move the mouse pointer to any of the pointers or lines of the boxes. Hold down the Left mouse button and drag. Release the Left mouse button when you are satisfied with that area of the image.


You will be skewing, bending, etc. the image. Your goal is to bend the image to match it up to the coffee cup. You will need to take your time with this step. Sometimes when you adjust one area, it causes problems to another area. Keep playing with it, to get the image to match up. Remember, the Spain Building image will end up looking like it is bowing.


**On this example, please have the Spain building overlap the coffee cup (just a little). We want to have a little extra hanging over the edges. Also, please look at the image below, and notice how we warped the handle of the coffee cup. Notice how the normal white area of the coffee cup handle will have a portion of the Spain building it. Left click the Check menu option to apply the changes.

Warp Tool Usage


Now it is time to remove the excess of the Spain Building that is hanging over. First, Left click the “Cup” layer in the layers palette and change the opacity to 100%. Now drag the “Cup” layer below the “Spain Building” layer. Hide the “Spain Building” Layer. Now it is time to make a selection around the white portion of the coffee cup (including the handle, but not inside the coffee cup). Make sure you have the “Cup” Layer selected and use any tool to make a selection (we used the Magnetic Lasso Tool). Once selected, you should see a selection similar to the one below.

Magnetic Lasso Selection


Now unhide (Left click the “Eye” in Layers palette) the Spain Building image and make sure the Spain Building Layer is selected. Even though we discussed inversing in a previous tutorial, we felt it was important to go over it again. Left click the “Select” menu and Left click the “Inverse” command. This will reverse your selection so that the outside of the coffee cup is selected only.

Inverse Selection


Using either the Eraser tool (see Eraser Tools), or a Layer Mask (see Masking And Transform Information or More Masks Please tutorials), remove the excess areas of the Spain Building. You should have something like the image below.

Layer Masking


You will see the image of the Spain Building bowing, but it still looks flat (no glare, etc.).


To make it look a little more realistic (not perfect), on the Spain Building layer, change the opacity to 75% and change the blending mode to “Hard Light” (see Layer Blending Mode Guide). Your end result should look similar to the image below.

Final Image



As you can see the coffee cup does not look perfect, but for a beginner course, this end result looks very good. How could you make it look better? Lighting is the big problem for this example. To make it look perfect, you would need to add more glare in certain areas.


Remember our goal of this tutorial was to show you how to use the Warp tool and how to use the Free Transform Tool. You should try to get into a habit of always using the Free Transform tool to transform your objects, text, etc. It is much quicker and easier to use the Free Transform tool then it is using all the different separate transformation tools.


You also know now how to manually change the Warp tool. Expect a Photoshop Challenge to be coming in the future that uses the Warp tool.


10 Question Quiz


1). What is the difference between a transform tool and the Free Transform tool?


A). In the Free Transform tool you are limited to only the rotate and scale options.


B). Any of the transform tools are located in the Free Transform tool.

  C). The regular transform tools allows you more flexibility versus the Free Transform tool.

D). The Free Transform tool allows you to auto adjust.

2). What is the keyboard shortcut to the Free Transform tool?


A). ALT-“T”.


B). “T”..

  C). CTRL-“T”.

D). Shift-“T”.

3). How do you select which transform tool you want to use inside the Free Transform tool?


A). Right click in the image and Left click the tool.


B). Left click in the image and Left click the tool.

  C). Left click the menu and Left click the tool.

D). Left click “Transformation Tools” button and it will open a new dialog box with all the tools that you can use in the Free Transform tool.

4). How do you use the Move tool in the Free Transform tool?


A). From the dialog box, Left click “Move”.


B). Within the Free Transform tool, Left click the mini-toolbox and Right click the image for the Move tool.

  C). Within the “Edit”menu, select the “Move Tool” command.

D). Hold down the Left mouse button inside the Free Transform box and drag the mouse.

5). Why did we recommend throughout this course to change the opacity of certain layers?


A). Opacity strength tells Photoshop how much strength for each tool you should be using.


B). The Opacity allows you to select a certain area of the image.

  C). The Opacity option allows you to see the layer below.

D). The Opacity option in the Layers palette is only used when flattening the image.

6). Name at least 3 transform tools you can use in the Free Transform tool?


A). Rotate, Stretch, Distort.


B). Perspective, Resize, Distort.

  C). Distort, Skew, Perspective.

D). Opacity, Distort, Scale.

7). After you make a selection around the coffee cup, what option did we say you need to use to reverse the selection?


A). Invert.


B). Inverse.

  C). Reverse.

D). Flip.

8). What is one way to get into the Warp tool from the Free Transform tool?


A). Right click the image and Left click the “Warp Tool” command.


B). Left click the picture that looks like a check, below the menu.

  C). Within the Free Transform tool, Left click the Edit menu and Left click the “Warp” command.

D). Right click the image and Left click the “Warp” command.

9). The Free Transform tool is located in what menu?


A). Edit.


B). Transform.

  C). Layer.

D). File.

10). How many points are in the Free Transform tool?


A). 4.


B). 8.

  C). 9.

D). 12.


Answers: 1). B, 2). C, 3). A, 4). D, 5). C, 6). C, 7). B, 8). D, 9). A, 10). B




0 - 5 = Please review the video tutorial and re-read this document either offline (PDF) or online.

6 – 8 = We would recommend that you print this document off and read it at a later time.

9 – 10 = Congratulations you have passed the quiz. Go ahead and view another tutorial on our site.


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