Animation Experiment – Puppet Warp

Once you’ve accepted keyframe interpolation gives you nothing but trouble you can surrender yourself to frame by frame animation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to (re-)draw every frame of your animation. Photoshop is packed with tools to manipulate and distort your creations. These tools can be utilised to great extend when used on a frame by frame basis.

trackpad painting

Based on my experience with the puppet-tool in After Effects, I decided the puppet-warp would be a good candidate to experiment with. While drinking my morning coffee; I “finger-painted” a crude flour-sack on my lap-top’s trackpad as the subject for my proof of concept.

Proof of concept - Puppet warp animation
Proof of concept – Puppet warp animation

I think the result of this experiment came out pretty convincing, I just might turn this experiment into a tutorial…

Leave a comment if you like to know more about this method.


    1. Hi Bob,

      The method I used is pretty straight forward using a smartObject. I’m planning to create a short video tutorial about this method. I’ll notify you when I upload it to the site.

      1. I think the video will compliment your sites content nicely. Or a more detail scrollable. Better yet do both ;)

  1. I think your flour sack is adorable.. should make him your mascot.

    Having said that, I also think it would make a great tutorial. I use puppet warp allot, it’s great for wings, and modifications to girth. I find it very helpful.

    Lately I’ve been contemplating using it with a robot/stick figure/wooden figure, to map out the various repetitive motions then taking the ‘dummy out’ and putting in my character. (does that make sense?) I’m just learning all this as I go.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for the kind words.
      I guess I’ ll have to move forward on making the tutorial then ;-)

      Your idea to make a re-usable puppetwarp animation should work. Keep in mind that when placing a new charachter inside your smartobject it has to fit within the boundaries of the generated puppetwarp mesh. The mesh is generated when you first apply the puppetwarp and won’t update if you make changes inside the smartobject.

  2. Hi Bob, I am 75 and new to Photoshop. I have been going over a lot of animation tutorials, this is the first one I have had success with using the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop CS6.

    Your flour sack is the best! I am going to try replicating your little guy, but not sure I can figure it out in my lifetime. OMG, tutorial pleaseeeeeeee!


    Shoot, looks like I submitted reply already. If I did, I was just trying to figure out if the link to my animation was working. As I grow old, so grows my brain. I will try submitting this with a different email address.

  3. Hello — I’d love to study a tutorial you might produce re either / and Smart Objects + Puppet Warp in PhotoShop. Thanks!

  4. Hello, Patrick! It looks like you haven’t time to make a tutorial for this : ((
    Maybe you may just give a tip-off on this method?

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