Tying shoelaces in Photoshop would be an overkill, but I have been trying to get the electric cord of a vacuum cleaner to appear as perfect spiral in Photoshop. It is for a product photograph.

I feel like I have seen it done in either Illustrator or PS, but Lightroom is the program where I am experienced. So could anyone tell me if this is possible and how?

edit: For example, let's imagine we have a cord that goes slightly zig-zag, isn't there a way to select that cord and straighten or curve that shape?

  • 2
    No idea what your talking about, im afraid we need a picture to say anyting
    – joojaa
    Feb 18, 2018 at 10:29
  • 1
    If you are the one taking the photos: it would be easier and more convincingly real to do so before taking that photo.
    – Jongware
    Feb 18, 2018 at 13:58
  • @Chai I reworded your question. If it's not what you wanted, please revert it.
    – user82991
    Feb 18, 2018 at 21:13
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    I think it is better get a photo as close as possible to the shape you need. After that you can use puppet warp tool to get the shape you want.
    – LeoNas
    Feb 22, 2018 at 13:07
  • @LeoNas-that's my answer :) Please add it an answer so I can give due credit
    – HelloWorld
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


You can try to warp nearly right image, but the result is unsure. I recommend inserting a photo of a well bended other cord. A piece of unused cable should be easy to wind to the wanted form. If that's not available, add a fake cord.

In Photoshop there's no easy to use tools to bend a straight piece of cord to perfect cable winding. Illustrator has more flexibility and we use it for this. Affinity Designer would be also useful.

The cord cannot be concentric circles because it's a spiral. But a bunch of nearly concentric circles can be a plausible fake:

enter image description here

It's difficult to see directly that this is a fake, because the eyes get confused due too many curves to follow. Perfectly concentric circles are more easily seen as circles.

The real cord has been erased in Photoshop, only the original plug is remaining. The fake cord has been copied and pasted from Illustrator and the colors are adjusted to match. See the screenshot from Illustrator:

enter image description here

The fake cord is a few identical circles, one of them is cut with the scissors and the tails are drawn with the Pen tool.

Then a rectangle with gradient fill was drawn, expanded, the clipping mask was removed, a small copy of it was dragged to the brushes collection and defined to be a pattern brush.

That pattern brush was applied to the rings.

There's no easy way to transform this to a perspective image of a winding which is lying horizontally on the floor. It can be a bunch of ellipses (=the former circles squeezed vertically before applying the brush), but the result will be poor. It's complex to make and it will look out nearly flat. I would say Crap:

enter image description here

3D modelling can give the perfect result. 3D versions are beyond the scope of this answer.

NOTE: 3D construction of the winding + integrating it to the image is more work than photographing a real cord, removing the background and editing the result into the image.

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