Let's say I have a photo of a face and I want to move say the lips or the eye. It's important to maintain the shape of that part but a little bit of distortion in the surrounding areas -- the nose, the chin, the cheeks, the forehead -- would be acceptable.

I've tried using puppet warp for this, but find that its hard to move one part as an entity without ruining its shape. Is there a similar tool that lets me draw a rectangle or a polygon and move all pixels within the area in unison?

This is in Photoshop CS6.

  • If you're using photoshop, you could use a smart filter for distortion, and use a mask to preserve parts of the face...If you're using gimp, I'm not as much help...
    – johnp
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:13
  • why the -1 is this off topic here?
    – Octopus
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:27
  • I edited your question just to make it more coherent for others that may have a similar question. Please advise, if I understood your question wrong!
    – johnp
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:28
  • 1
    Ah, apologies. The liquify tool is another common method to alter portraits in a similar way, though converting the layer to a smart object should work the same way for a puppet warp. If you found my answer helpful please tick :)
    – johnp
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:42
  • 1
    I'd say it depends how drastically you want to change the facial features and how. If I wanted to move mouth about 1,5cm down ( proportionally ), I think I would likely lasso tool the whole mouth ( with some extra padding around it ), Layer > New > New layer via copy, move it down, erase the edges with soft round brush to feather the edge, use clone stamp to cover the old mouth and patch up the skin. Depending on the original picture, some other brushes might have to be used to retain natural lightning, because clone stamp can easily make it look weird and flat.
    – Joonas
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 8:38

2 Answers 2

  1. Right-click the layer you want to distort, then select Convert to Smart Object
  2. You can now distort your layer non-destructively. Apply distortion,,liquify or puppet-warp effects as you normally would.
  3. You'll notice that there is a mask under your selected layer. You can select this mask and change it's colour to preserve parts of the layer from being distorted. You can do this with the paintbrush tool or by using selection tools and applying a black or white fill.
  4. You can paint areas you want to preserve black. Areas that you wish to remain altered/distorted should be painted white. The mask is grayscale, therefore grey value masking will apply some of the effect more subtly.

The key is to lock several pins together in the puppet tool and move them as a unit. Hold down shift while selecting pins.

So, for example set a few pins around the image of the parts you want to anchor. Then set a few pins around the perimeter of an eye. Hold down shift and click each of those pins so that only the ones around the eye are selected. Now, when you drag any of those selected pins, the whole eye moves as a unit.

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