How to bend a picture in Photoshop

How to stretch a photograph 90 degress, like a photoshop inception effect.  All inspired by jatiputra’s amazing edit. We will recreate the image above. But I’ve used the same technique to create these images:

How to bend an image


Example of how to bend an image in photoshop

Before we start

This idea is based on  jatiputra’s amazing edit. Watch it here:

Ocean air salty hair

A photo posted by Jati Putra Pratama (@jatiputra) on

Also, I’ve seen different approaches to create the bend effect, but most of them is based on warping an image in perspective, and therefore stretching the image/pixels terribly ! Let’s try something different.

Let’s go!

Open up your desired image. I will use this:

how to bend an image in photoshop tutorial

You might wan’t to watch out that your photo aren’t too complex – tall buildings and such crash into each other, and creates a lot of problems for us.

With the new image open, duplicate it by pressing CTRL+J and make a smart object of your new duplicate. (By right clicking on it, and press convert to smart object)

how to convert to smart object

Press Ctrl + T and flip it horizontally! That’s very important.

how to flip horienzontial

Press Ctrl + T again, and rotate the image 90 degrees and move it to the bottom left corner like here:

how to rotate an image

Grab the polygonal lasso tool, and cut out a triangle (from edge to edge!)

how to use polygonal lasso toolUse that selection to create a negative layer mask on the smart objects duplicate. Hold down ALT while you press the layer mask icon.

how to create a negative layer mask

We are getting there as you can see! By the way, if you invert the layer mask (by pressing ctrl + i) you can create a 90 degree edge. (Pay attention to the layers layer mask, it’s inverted in the next image:

how to invert the layer mask

Good. Now hide the duplicate, and do the same for the different side.

how to hide the duplicate

Great! Now let’s make it a bit more realistic.

How to add shadows

First we will create shadows in the fields meeting point. Select the 2 duplicates, and put them in a folder by pressing CTRl + G when they are selected. Duplicate that folder.

how to create shadows

Select the top folder, and press CTRL+E to merge it into itself. (It’s actually just a rasterize, but this is faster).

Off topic, here is the tip on how to rasterize with folders fast:

Back to the tutorial. Merged the layers, because now we can get the selection of that top layer, holding down CTRL and click on the layers thumbnail.

how to merge it into itself

Create a layer above the background and beneath the folder, and use the selection to fill in with black.

how to Create a layer above the background

Now go in to Filter –> blur gallery –> Iris blur.

Set it up like shown here, to incrementally increase the shadows width the close to the edge we are. Press ok.

how to incrementally increase the shadows

Create a layer mask and adjust the opacity to modify the shadow – i had to remove the shadow from the sky obliviously!

how to Create a layer mask

Lets create some shadows on the other side of the edges.

Create a new layer just above the Group, and beneath the merged group layer. Click on the merged layer, while holding down ctrl, to get a selection again.

how to create shadows

Press ctrl + shift + i, to inverse that selection, and fill in with black on the new empty layer. Also delete the merged layer, we don’t need that anymore.

how to inverse an selection

We need to recreate the same blur s before (iris blur) but because we just did it, we can use the shortcut for “last used filter” which is CTRL + F, and Photoshop will blur the selected layer just as before.

After the blur, right click on the layer and press “create clipping mask” the layer will now have an arrow point down, meaning that the pixels on the layer can only be shown on the layer beneath.

How to create clipping mask

Again create a layer mask to adjust this shadow.

how to adjust this shadow with layer mask

What’s next? We have some problems. First of all, if your edges doesn’t fit, let’s talk about how you can fix it. Look here, it doesn’t match:

how to fix edges

You can fix that, by either re-sizing the duplicate:

how to re-sizing the duplicate

or using puppet warp tool! (under edit –> puppet warp). But be careful, both techniques might completely mess up the image.

how to use puppet warp tool

Great. Now what’s wrong with our image? Look below. Red: There is obvious duplicates ruining the effect. Blue – Errors appear due to this 90-degree mirroring.

duplicates ruining the effect

Clean up the image

There are 3 ways you can fix errors like shown above.

1. Fixing each smart object or main image

That’s why we created smart objects in the start. go intro you folder, and double click to enter the smart object.

how to use smart objects

how to use smart objects

Now you are in the smart object! remove the house, save, and go back to your main composition (first tab). I had to do it fast in the video – patch tool does the charm!

how to use patch tool

Here is the result on the main composition:

 result on the main composition

Se the house? it’s gone! fix up your image. I also removed clashing trees and fields that revealed patterns (such as the pattern here):

how to fix up your image

Looks weird! Edit in some differences, just like sown above!

2. Try to remove clashing objects

Watch the image below. Weird behaving trees right? try removing them by painting black on the layer mask.

how to remove clashing objects

how to remove clashing objects

A little better! Still looks a bit weird, i think it’s better to remove the object and paste them in somewhere else, to completely avoid this weird mirror looking thing.

3. Add in new objects

Try to add in completely new objects if the mirroring is too easy to see. You can try:

  • Clouds
  • Fields
  • Trees

Or just new areas. With new objects it’s hard to see that your image is actually just 3 pieces mirrored of 1 image.

You are done.

Good job! i hope you found this useful. With your new knowledge and techniques it’s time to become creative.

Do you have any questions? or suggestions? Maybe a request for the next tutorial? comment on Youtube – i will do my best to help.

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Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves