April 02, 2010

Sneak peek: Puppet Warp in Photoshop

Russell Brown has posted a demonstration of the Puppet Warp technology being developed for Photoshop:

Cool as everyone seems to agree the technology is, I know there’s a tendency to worry that it’s kind of frivolous–maybe useful only occasionally, and then for making some extreme change to an image. Fortunately that’s not the case. Stick with the demo to see Russell show (around the 5-minute mark) how the features can also be used to make subtle adjustments to photos. (Taken together with Content-Aware Fill, automatic lens correction, and the ability to address huge amounts of memory thanks to 64-bit, I think panorama creators will be very happy with what’s cooking.)

Posted by John Nack at 9:15 AM on April 02, 2010


  • Raph — 10:00 AM on April 02, 2010

    Wow, as usual I’m first :) and as usaual the new feature is really cool. I can imagine that it could be well used in subtle photo adjustments.

  • Danny Smythe — 10:51 AM on April 02, 2010

    It’s an impressive feature, but you have to wonder what it really ends up looking like at full resolution. I use the Warp tool, and Liquify tool, a lot. The problem is, you can only use it a little bit. The more you manipulate, or distort the image, the more blurry it becomes. What looks fine at 25%, falls apart, and becomes unusable at full resolution. I can’t see any way around this problem, for high end photography.
    I can see how it might be useful for comps, or presentations. I doubt it would be useful on a finished image, to be used by an Ad Agency, or Stock photography.

  • Andrew Webb — 10:55 AM on April 02, 2010

    Killer. I’ve been wanting better distortion inside Photoshop for ages. No more fiddling in AE!

  • Klaus Nordby — 11:18 AM on April 02, 2010

    Awesome. Gimme. But all your version-vagueness makes me worry it’s not coming in CS5 . . . say it ain’t so, John!

  • Nat Brown — 11:27 AM on April 02, 2010

    Great new app, John. If folks cannot think of good ways to use it, they should get out of the creativity business.
    I work with many images of natural forms, such as trees, roots, and so forth. I’ve dreamed of being able to torque a root around a bit, the way Russell does with the puppet. I’ve been using the traditional working-arounds, such as liquify, mask & clone, and so forth. This looks like I’ll be able to crank the roots around any old way I’d like.
    I had to pause the video and do some squinting. Russell turned off the mesh but do I see it right that the mesh is a lattice that will give us a quick and intuitive way of anticipating the way the warp will behave as we begin to move the pins? If so, that could be a really helpful feature as well.
    Can’t wait to see this stuff. Nice job and kudos to all involved.
    [Thanks, Nat. Of course I said at the start, “As soon as we show people that mesh, they’re going to want to grab and move the points.” :-) Puppet warping could work great as part of a hand-off to such a warping system, but it isn’t one unto itself. I’ve written many pages about the myriad ways to distort objects in PS, and rationalizing all that will take time. –J.]

  • Ken — 12:12 PM on April 02, 2010

    Please don’t let my wife see this. She will take my hands to cover my big mouth…..
    Your puppet in residence
    Ken in KY

  • ValkyrieStudio — 12:24 PM on April 02, 2010

    I remember seeing an earlier demo of this with Scott Kelby dressed as a referee, and thought it was cool, but I like this expanded look at the tool even more. I think the rope demo is the most interesting, possibility-wise, though of course the photo is the most practical. Really looking forward to trying this out, since it looks like something that has many layers of versatility.
    Perhaps more importantly, since the tab is open at the bottom edge of the screen there, I finally know what that mystery “Mb” icon is for – Mini Bridge! I imagine it’s pretty much what it sounds like, but I like the idea.
    Now I just need to mull over the video and try to decipher all those collapsed panels he’s got open… (you should see me do this with Apple products – I lose a lot of time doing this!)
    [Heh heh–glad I’m not the only one who does that (and that you deem PS worthy of such attention). :-) –J.]

  • ken rockw — 1:18 PM on April 02, 2010

    useless crap.

  • Robert Elliott — 1:31 PM on April 02, 2010

    It would be nice to have those puppet rotation controls in After Effects CS5.
    [FYI, the algorithm is newer than the one that shipped in AE CS3. It offer some additional capabilities, but unfortunately it’s not possible to take one’s puppet edits from PS over to AE intact (i.e. with editable pins in place). You can, however, apply puppeting to a Smart Object in order to keep it editable within PS. –J.]

  • Phillip Kerman — 2:22 PM on April 02, 2010

    Can you please post the original and manipulated image? I want to look closely. Often some distortion can add realism. But, I will say he does a good job showing (or attempting to show) the practical value.

  • David — 5:16 PM on April 02, 2010

    I could have used this tool today :-)
    If the Puppet warp tool and Content Aware Fill work as well on large images at 100% as they do on these low-res YouTube videos, they will save me a lot of time.
    Hopefully there are some improvements on less glamorous things such as greater scripting control (e.g. brush settings or reading and writing notes)
    There are a few other minor things, such as the inaccuracy of brush cursors and the way 0° and 360° canvas rotation look different.

  • BH — 7:50 PM on April 02, 2010

    Am I the only one who spent the entire video thinking that this was a joke and that it was posted a day late? The distort mode with the “muscles” on the puppet seemed entirely fake. That being said, the tool does seem useful, and if it was a joke, Adobe seemed to have spent as much time making Russell’s mock-up as they would have on the actual tool itself.

  • ValkyrieStudio — 8:00 PM on April 02, 2010

    Well judging by this title of an Adobe blog, I’m guessing we can rest easy on the two “big” features (so far) being for CS5:
    (Is this the first word from someone at Adobe that these are, in fact, CS5-bound? I think…)

  • JohnW — 10:58 PM on April 02, 2010

    Yes, I checked the date as I started watching the video. But when I realized that Russell wasn’t playing the fool (as he often does) but providing useful commentary, I watched with interest. I still think this tool will be more a fun novelty until I see some useable high end results produced with it.

  • Niklas — 1:19 AM on April 03, 2010

    Looks as useful as the Hat Tool we have in CS4. Thank you very much! :)
    [Hah–you know you love “Hat”!! ;-P –J.]

  • Herman — 3:11 AM on April 03, 2010

    I want to marry it and have its babies. I’d love it even more when the distortcame with a “strength” setting. Thanks for mentioning that it works on a smart object, too! :)

  • drpepa — 5:10 AM on April 07, 2010

    In 2025 we will be able to leave our brains in a jar and go to work knowing our brains are safe at home and that we dont need to use them anymore.
    That same year adobe will release CS18, a new tool will allow the artist to go have a lie down whilst photoshop does all the work for you. Brillaint stuff! cant wait;)

  • Kelvin — 1:26 PM on April 07, 2010

    That’s great!
    One thing I wish for with these things is the ability to rotate the guides in PS, and then duplicate those rotated guides, and or flip them.

  • Timothy Mackey — 1:30 PM on April 07, 2010

    This works on Smart Objects?! That’s awesome! This feature is going to be hugely useful to me for a lot of the product design that I do. I’m always having to warp artwork from Illustrator onto 3 dimensional objects such as basketballs, and the Warp tool is currently just not enough to accurately warp anything onto a shape more complicated than a sphere. Liquify can do the job, but being able to swap out the artwork and keep the warping is gonna make my job so much easier!

  • dre — 10:53 AM on May 13, 2010

    THink about using this tool with TItles…

  • CS5 — 11:57 PM on October 25, 2010

    I love these new features in CS5

    With Puppet warp tool and Content Aware Fill CS5 is such a great product.

    We run several reviews a month on CS5 and we would say it is by far an improvement over all other Photoshop versions

  • siblethomas — 11:51 PM on November 17, 2010

    ohhh,,,, my…. god….. this is simply superb…

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