Path Warp (Or Improve Puppet Warp Functionality)

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  • Updated 5 days ago
I am constantly using warping/perspective/transform tools within Photoshop. For a long time now I've wished that I could straighten, curve or warp objects with paths. For example, converting an arched doorway to a straight horizontal one, or an object with many curves, such as a rope, and making it perfectly straight, or vice versa. 

Now, you may be thinking I could use the Warp function for the doorway, but as you know, not all arches are created equal, and if it's a stone archway, for example, you have no real control over the stones' spacing. 

Consider this one:



Here is the attempt to straighten it with Warp>Arch:



Yeah... no.

Puppet Warp:



Ok, much better, right? Well, I agree, however, consider these points:

1. It took a good bit of time and adjusting to get it to this point.

2. Puppet Warp will "fold" objects in precarious and unexpected ways, as you can see a little bit on the left and right sides. Plus the tool has no way to perfectly align or distribute the pins, unless of course you were to drag a horizontal guide in first. Even then, the tool doesn't make the image perfectly straight.
 
3. Yes, in this particular example the stones are very irregular and rough, so this result is probably close to being "OK". However, if I wanted them to be more evenly spaced and more perpendicular to the ground, I would need to enter the Liquify filter and start smushing. Even still it would be impossible to get them aligned in any timely manner.

So what I'm proposing is a simple Path Warp function. Bascially you could create a path such as this...



...click a Straighten button, and BAM. A perfectly straight object would be the result. You may even include a "Bind" function within the tool that would allow you to create smoothly curved objects from straight ones also, such as a rope or chain, bind the path to a smart object, then be able to manipulate it later.

Again, I know Puppet Warp is close to behaving this way, but there is no real precision with the tool in the slightest. I also know that in regards to rope or chain you can simply create a brush and stroke a path. I'm referring to images or artwork that has already been created and you want it to follow a smooth curve, and it to remain editable. 

I hope that this idea will be seriously considered, as I believe it will open up many new ways designers and digital artists can manipulate their artwork.

Thanks,

-Andy
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Andy McGinnis

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Posted 5 days ago

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