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Tools: The Mesh Warp Tool
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Tools: The
Mesh Warp Tool
Created by: Prof

This series of tutorials is oriented toward helping those new users of PSP 9 to learn the basics of this great graphic program. The tutorials are written to introduce the basic features, tools and palettes and build upon one another. Also, the tutorials may be used as a reference for using particular tools, palettes and features of PSP.

The Deform Tools

The Deform tools (Deform, Straighten, Perspective Correction, and Mesh Warp tools) are tools that one can use to create and fix various shapes. Though most often the tools are used on photographs, one can use them on any graphics. The tools can create or fix perspective in pictures.

Purpose and Goal of this Tutorial:

Each tool is relatively easy to learn and use. However, there are some techniques that one can learn that can make using these tools to create some very interesting and unique effects and end results for pictures and graphics.

  • Explore the Deform Tool and its options with examples (first lesson of this series)
  • Explore the Straighten Tool
  • Explore the Perspective Correction Tool
  • Explore the Mesh Warp Tool with examples (this lesson)
Mesh Warp Tool

The Mesh Warp Tool

The Mesh Warp tool is both a fairly simple tool to use and one that has options which allow one to manipulate and change shapes of objects in a photograph or graphic. Mastering this tool will give one skills to create very unique and interesting results on a picture, object or graphic.

Explore the Mesh Warp Tool

First, open a new image, 300 x 300 pixels, 16 Million colors, and with a white background. Then create a new top layer.

Use the Selection tool and draw a rectangular selection in the middle of the canvas. Then, flood-fill the selection with Black. Use Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None) to remove the selection. Then use the Mover tool and position the rectangle in the center of the canvas. Accuracy is not essential at this time.


Select the Mesh Warp tool. In the Tool Options palette, click on the Presets and click on the default setting. We are only going to be using the Mesh Horizontal and Mesh Vertical options. The other options are for more advanced use.

Set the Mesh Horizontal and Mesh Vertical values to 7. An odd number allows the grid to show the exact center point of the canvas as well as for the object itself.



The nodes (squares at the intersecting grid lines) can only be moved to another node. There are three options: Moving a node, holding down the Shift key and moving a node, and holding down the Control key and moving a node. A node is moved by clicking and holding down the mouse button on a node.

By just moving a node (no Shift or Control key) that node can only be moved to an adjacent node (up, diagonal, down, left or right). Pressing the Shift key and moving a node will move the whole grid line either up/down or left/right in a straight line. Pressing the Control key and moving a node will cause the line to arch or hump in a smooth curved line.


Just Moving a Node

In this example, I moved the top left mode diagonally up and left. I moved the top right node diagonally down and left. I moved the middle left node straight right and the bottom middle node straight down.

Just play with moving nodes as one can create some very interesting shapes with practice.


Using the Shift Key

When you press the Shift key the cursor will change to a straight line. In this example I moved the node just above the rectangle and just below the rectangle and brought each node down to or up to the adjacent node. Thus I created a square from the rectangle.

One could also move the nodes vertically (left or right). However, keep in mind if you make more than one or two moves you should apply your work before making additional moves. Also, keep in mind sometimes you may not line up the cursor exactly on the node when you are using the Shift key so just repeat it again.

And, you want to use the Undo (Ctrl+Z) whenever you make a mistake so you can repeat the last move.


Using the Control Key

When you press the Control key the cursor will change to a curved line. In this example I moved the top middle and bottom middle nodes and then moved a left node and a right node to create a barrel-like object.

As stated with the moving of just a node, play with each of the three options and you will find you can create some very interesting shapes.


Final Comments

Using the Mesh Warp tool one can create some interesting shapes. In the first three examples on the left, I started with the rectangle. The first example is a candle shape by taking a top middle node and pulling up and then with the Control key pulling the bottom middle node down.

For the second and third examples I used all three options to create a figure silhouette and then an interesting shape.

In the final example, I took the window from the last lesson and first cut out the middle area with the panes. I then used the Mesh Warp tool to create a more balanced set of panes. I also used the copy and paste of the left side to create the right side and copied the bottom and pasted it on the top. I then put it on a layer below the window and deleted the middle area so the new panes would show up. To make the middle-pane area fit correctly I used the Deform tool.

As you can see there are many ways to use this interesting tool. Have fun.