It’s time to add a new editing skill to your toolkit: photo stretching. We’re not talking about your average resizing of a photo. This skill is all about twisting, enlarging, and compressing images creatively to achieve unique photo effects. You can also even stretch just one part of your photo, which makes this a handy tool to have in your bag for when an image needs a minor tweak.
Advanced photo stretching techniques can lead to distortion, but who says that has to be a bad thing? If you’re going for an au natural look, you’ll want to use these tools sparingly. But what if you want to completely change the feel of your photo, giving new larger-than-life proportions to particular objects or creating psychedelic-looking effects? In that case, you can push the warp, swirl, and stretch tools to the max. In this article, we’ll share important surreal photo editing techniques like how to stretch an image and more.
How to Use the Swirl Tool to Make A Splash
When we say “make a splash,” we mean that pretty literally. The Warp and Swirl tools can turn any photo into an image that looks as if it were a reflection on water. As you can likely guess, warping a photo gives your picture that glassy, funhouse effect, and swirl spins it like a top.
Fun fact: Swirl tool is the secret behind the trendy custom iPhone lock screen effect. You can see it in action in this tutorial.
In the first part of this tutorial, we’ll run through some basics that apply to the whole suite of stretching tools. Start by reading the first steps below. They will be instructive in using tools for expanding and contracting photos that we’ll explore later.
- Open the Picsart mobile app and click on the purple plus sign (+) to begin a new project. Select an image from your photo library or pick one of our stock photos.
2. On the editing screen, click on the Tools icon in the toolbar. From the pop-up, select Stretch.
3. On the toolbar below your photo, you will now see five different stretch effect options and another for restoring your image to its original form. If you’re not sure how to stretch an image, let’s walk through the types of stretch effects. First, we’ll look at the Swirl tool, so make sure you’ve highlighted it. On the top of the screen, there is an icon of a paintbrush with a lock under it. If you are trying to apply an effect to your entire image, you can ignore this tool for now, but if you would like to edit just a particular part of your image, click on this icon as well.
4. Now, trace your finger around any area that you don’t want to be affected. Once you’ve made your selection, be sure to click the check mark in the upper right-hand corner.
5. Now, apply the Swirl effect by pressing down on the part of the photo you wish to mix up. Tap on the little white arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the Swirl icon to bring up the Size and Power sliders. Moving them up or down changes the intensity or breadth of the swirl effect.
6. When you’ve finished swirling, be sure to click Apply in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to get your changes to take. Skip down to step 8 for instructions on how to export your work.
7. Now, let’s delve into the Warp tool. Follow steps 1-6, but this time, make waves. Use this tool to apply a psychedelic effect to your photo. Just don’t forget to isolate any areas that you don’t want to change first.
8. When you’ve finished making edits, save your work by clicking on the downward arrow at the top of the screen to export your work or share it.
How to Change an Image’s Dimensions In Two Ways
Perhaps you’re going through your Sunday brunch photos and thinking: If only that delicious breakfast sandwich looked a little bit bigger on the plate. You might want this for comic effect, but maybe it’s actually to make a better composition. Whatever the reason, with the Inflate tool, you can make an image bigger or enlarge just one feature, as in the example of the sandwich. The same applies to compression. Use the Squeeze tool to achieve your “Honey I Shrunk The Photo” moment.
How to Stretch an Image (Or Just Part of It)
Want to learn how to stretch an image? Follow steps 1-4 from above, and instead of selecting Swirl, as we did in step 5, select Inflate. We’ve chosen to use an image of an avocado so that you can notably see the way the core dramatically changes in just a few taps. You might also notice some light distortion, which is typical in the areas to which you’re applying an image stretch effect. So, if you are using the stretch effect to do realistic edits, you’ll want to do so in moderation.
When done stretching parts of an image, tap Apply and Next then Save and/or Share your final stretched image.
How to Shrink a Photo (Or a Detail)
- By now, you know the drill. Follow steps 1-4 from the first part of the tutorial to get into our photo size editor and then select the Squeeze tool. Like we did above, isolate the sections of the photo you don’t wish to affect, and then get to work on shrinking the part of the photo you want to change. Remember that you’ll get some distortion, and while this may be contrary to logic, try not to isolate all the space you don’t want to change. Why? Doing so will ensure you have enough material to pull from when shrinking, like the green area around the avocado pit. Otherwise, the shrunken part will start to pull in on itself.
2. As always, save the effect by clicking Apply in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and tap on the downward arrow above your image to export your work or share it.
Create at the Speed of Culture
Picsart is a photo and video editing platform and creative community. A top 20 most downloaded app worldwide with over 150 million monthly active users, its AI-powered tools enable creators of all levels to design, edit, draw, and share content anywhere. The platform has amassed one of the largest open-source content collections in the world, including photos, stickers, backgrounds, templates, and more. Used by consumers, marketers, content creators and businesses, Picsart tools fulfill both personal and professional design needs. Picsart has collaborated with major artists and brands like BLACKPINK, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app or start editing on web today, and upgrade to Gold for premium perks!