Using the Puppet Warp to Customize Text in Photoshop

The other day I covered how to warp text in Photoshop and today I want to review something similar that can also give you a pretty cool effect. The puppet warp tool was created and announced by Adobe as a way to tweak photos and act like a puppeteer, moving arms around, legs, etc.. But this can actually be used as a quick way to move around individual letters in a block of text. In the past I have used text in albums that isn’t on one straight line and had to create a different layer for each letter which was cumbersome and created a crazy amount of layers. Now enter the Puppet warp tool where you can easily splice out letters of text and move them around the canvas.

Lets quickly walk through how this is done.

  • First I’ll start with just a plain text field in Photoshop CS6.
  • Then right click on the layer and select “Convert layer to smart object”.
  • Go to Edit –> Puppet Warp
  • Once you are in the puppet warp tool you will see the cursor change to a pin icon with a plus. Click on each letter to create a pivot point. This will place a circle where you dropped the pin.
  • puppet warp tool in photoshop cs6

  • Once you are ready to move the letters around just click on the circle on the letter to move and then drag it around the screen. Now each letter can be moved independently!
  • puppet warp2 for photoshop cs6

    Pretty easy and a fun way to get creative with text. But there is more than you can do here other than just moving text around. Say I want to make the N in the text really, really long. First if you hold down the Alt(Option) key on Mac you will see the cursor change to a scissors. Then click on the point on the letter N to remove the current pivot point. Next just make 4 new points on each corner of the N and click and drag the corners to extend the letter.

    puppet warp in photoshop cs6

    There are so many fun and creative things you can do with Photoshop. What are some of your favorite tricks? Let me know in the comments below or if you every have a Photoshop or Lightroom question i’ll be happy to help out.

    Also if you want to check out some more cool things you can do with the puppet warp check out this video.

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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