How to Unscramble a Swirled Photo

In order to conceal a person’s identity in a photo or block out an unwanted element, people may sometimes use the “swirl” or “twirl” effect on a part of the image. This distorts the pixels to such a degree that you cannot decipher the identity of the person or the element being distorted. By reversing the same effect, you may be able to unscramble the image and see the element that is being obscured.

Photoshop Express

Step

Visit the Photoshop Express site from your web browser (photoshop.com/tools). Click “Start the editor” to open the interface.

Step

Click “Upload photo” and navigate to your image file. Double-click to open it in the editor.

Step

Click “Distort” in the tools pane on the left side, then click the “Twirl” icon in the upper toolbar.

Step

Click and drag the portion of the image that has been swirled to select it.

Step

Click and drag the “Angle” slider to attempt to reverse the swirling effect.

Adobe Photoshop

Step

Click the rectangular marquee tool and click and drag to select the portion of the image that has been swirled.

Step

Click “Filter,” then choose “Distort” and “Twirl.” This will open the twirl dialog box.

Step

Adjust the “Angle” slider to attempt to reverse the swirling effect and click "OK" to save your settings.

Photoshop Elements

Step

Use the selection tool to select the portion of the image that has been swirled.

Step

Click “Image,” then choose “Transform” and “Distort.”

Step

Drag the slider to adjust the amount of distortion to attempt to reverse the swirling effect.