21.3. Warping Objects
Photoshop offers several ways of warping images. The Text tool has its own built-in Warp function in its Options Bar, as I covered in Chapter 13. To extend that ability beyond text and warp any item, the Transform tool also offers a Warp mode that uses a mesh to manipulate pixels.
21.3.1. Warping with the Transform tool
As mentioned, the Transform tool allows you to warp any object, not just text. Choose EditTransformWarp, or press Ctrl+T/+T to activate the Free Transform tool and select the Warp icon, which is up toward the right side of the Options Bar. This button acts as a toggle so you can switch back and forth between Transform and Warp modes.
When in Warp mode, the first thing you'll notice is that a mesh is placed over the bounding box of the layer that you're currently working with. The pixels in your image are mapped to the points on this mesh so that when you move the mesh, the pixels follow it. It's the same principle that the Liquify tool works on. A Warp menu also appears in the Options Bar, offering the same presets that you'll find under the Text tool's Warp mode. These are the two ways you can apply a warp distortion to your image.