photoshop creative

An ultimate guide to the Distort filters

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 3, 2014

Use the Distort filters to add some intricate effects to your artwork

Diffuse glow

Adds a dreamy glow effect to your image as though it’s been shot with a photographic filter.


The Displace filter is the most tricky. In short, it uses what’s called a displacement map to distort a selection. When done right, the filter can magically wrap your art around objects; for example, you can whack artwork on an image of crinkled paper, and the image will sit snugly on each crinkle as if it was there for real!

Ocean Ripple

Makes your image look like it’s been submerged in water, adding random ripples to the shot.


Does what it says; pinches the image (you adjust the strength and target area) and pulls it out

Polar Coordinates

This turns a rectangular image into a cylinder, turning its original coordinates into spherical ones.


Yep, you guessed it, this filter causes a ripple on your selection like a lake’s surface.


When you click the Shear filter you drag points on a graph to distort and warp.


Giving you a 3D effect, Spherize wraps the image around a spherical shape.


Use this simple and fun filter to create the look of a fairground mirror among other things.


Similar to Ripple, Wave offers more options like the height of the wave and the wave type.


This filter distorts the image into ripple shapes and has options that change direction and rotate.