How to Subtly Enhance a Smile with Puppet Warp in Photoshop

Posted by John Shaver on Jan 19, 2015 in
How to Subtly Enhance a Smile with Puppet Warp in Photoshop

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A lot of times when people need to morph facial features, they automatically reach for the Liquify filter, but the Puppet Warp tool is usually the better choice.

When combined with Smart Objects, the Puppet Warp tool lets you mold your image in a non-destructive way. On top of that, it's dead easy to use.

This tutorial will teach you how to quickly enhance someone's smile using the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop.

Step 1

First, flatten your image so everything is on a single layer. Next, make a selection around the mouth using the lasso tool.

Step 2

Click Select > Refine Edge (CTRL + ALT + R). Set Smooth to 50 and Feather to 10px.

Copy and Paste your selection onto a new layer, then right click that layer in the Layers panel and convert it to a Smart Object.

Step 3

Click Edit > Puppet warp and you'll see a triangle-based grid pop up over your selection.

Click the corners of the mouth to add 2 pins, then click the center of the mouth to add a third.

Drag the 2 side pins up a few pixels to subtly curve the lips up. Hit Enter to apply your changes.

Step 4

Our Puppet Warp filter is a Smart Object, so you can double click it in the Layers panel to re-open the Puppet Warp filter and adjust the pins or even subtract/delete more.

Since the mouth is on a separate layer, we can nudge it up 1-2px to further enhance the smile.

Final Image

This is a very subtle effect, but can completely change the feel of a portrait.

How did you use this technique? Share your version or thoughts in the comments.

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