One of the things that is always useful in digital art / graphic design programs is the transformation tools. Sometimes when I’m in the early stages of an illustration I will use them to change proportions without having to re-paint what I’ve done from scratch. This doesn’t always pay off of course and sometimes re-drawing is the way to go, but if I’m still in the early stages of creating an image it can often save having to do that completely.
I was painting a Lassie type dog recently for fun using Corel Painter 2021. I got to a certain stage of the painting where I looked at it and thought the proportions were not right. I wanted to make the head a bit smaller and puff out the dogs chest more. The trouble is Corel Painter’s transformation tool is very basic compared to some other software I’ve used, so I decided to do a little comparison for this blog. I can only write about what I’ve got installed on my computer so I chose Krita, Affinity Photo, Moho and Photoshop CC (I recently decided to try it out again).
As you may be able to tell from this image I thought Photoshop’s Puppet Warp tool was very good for what I was trying to do. It was easy to use (after a few goes) and did the job well. It seems to make a mesh (automatically) around images and then you can add pin points to stop certain areas distorting. Some people use it in limited animation within Photoshop because it essentially lets you treat 2d images as a puppet to move around.
Affinity Photo’s grid warp tool is useful for many things but it wasn’t great for my purposes in this case, I needed a bit more fine tuning control.
Moho 12.5 is an animation software and although I like the way the smart warp layer works it was not really suitable for this purpose (images can’t be exported easily once imported for further editing), but it is useful for animation in Moho. The tool is meant to be used to fix distortion issues with the graphics in different poses with the bone rig or to create 3D turning illusions from 2D images. In the 12.5 version of the software it isn’t as easy to set up as the 13.5 software though. 13.5 also introduced a quad mesh ability rather than just having to use triangles which I think is even more useful for creating 3D illusion in 2D animated images (without having to repaint them for every frame anyway). The grid mesh still takes more preparation to set up in the 13.5 version of Moho, the triangle based smart warp meshes have an easier set up process though. I just thought I would mention these tools because I thought they were really clever and unique.
After watching a video on Krita’s transform tools after I made this image I realized I hadn’t really done justice to Krita though. The transform tools in Krita are very powerful and have many different modes. I had tried the grid warp mode which like Affinity Photo’s grid warp tool (and Photoshop’s for that matter) is useful for many things but as I mentioned I wanted more control.
I had not realized there was also a mode that lets you draw points on the image which essentially works very like Photoshop’s puppet warp tool, perhaps not as easy to set up as in Photoshop but certainly as useful once you understand how it works. Watch this video by GD Quest if you want to learn more about how to use the transformation tools in Krita. I don’t know how it would perform on larger images though, it may have lag issues. The liquefy tools in Krita are really laggy and almost unusable for me.
Thanks for reading.