Altering and Warping Shapes

I was fiddling around with Photoshop, trying to make an icon, when I found some cool ways to alter shapes. Altering your own polygons can let you create some really bizarre or striking images, and you might want to try it if you want a recognizable symbol for your Internet presence, or even if you’re aiming for cool watermarks for your web site.

Here’s how you do it:

-Make a polygon using the polygon tool two spots down from the text tool.  If you hold down on the polygon tool button, you can select from some stock shapes, or you can just enter in the sides of your polygon at the top (for example, entering in “3” will get you a triangle, which isn’t a stock shape as you might expect).  Different polygons will give you different options when you start to warp it, so choose accordingly.

-Next, make the polygon by dragging on your canvas.  By default, the sides will be equal. so you don’t have to hold down shift or anything.

-If you want to resize your polygon, make sure you still have the polygon tool selected, then right click your polygon and choose free transform path.  This puts a square frame around your polygon that’ll let you stretch or shrink it from a corner or side of that square, or even rotate it on a corner.  The crossed dot in the center of the square is what the image rotates around, and you’re fully able to drag that dot around — even outside the resize square — to change the pivot point.  Remember, hold shift while resizing if you want to do so without changing the polygon’s proportions.

-If you’re not interested in further warping your polygon, make sure you hit the checkbox at the top.  Otherwise, click the switch modes button that sits right next to the cancel button at the top.  This brings up a 3 by 3 grid that lets you click and drag to “pull” the polygon by any point in that grid.  This is where things get interesting, because you can create some really original shapes by pulling edges and portions in different directions.  Experimentation is the key!

For example, I took this triangle:

Triangle being warped

Triangle being warped

and warped it into this:

After warping

After warping

which looks a little bit like a stylized bowler hat to me.  Could be used for a recognizable icon, eh?  Maybe it’s just me, but try it out! If you want to make it a watermark, just reduce the opacity to something around 40 or 50%.

-Jon Kimmel

~ by blackburnkimmel on January 25, 2010.

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