• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Lesson 11. Advanced Layer Techniques > Applying the Liquify filter

Applying the Liquify filter

The Liquify filter works by applying a hidden grid that you can warp. This distorts the image by dragging handles at the intersection of the hidden grid or mesh. Turning on the mesh visibility can help you understand more clearly how you’re manipulating this grid and the different effects created by the various liquify tools.

With the Metal Grille layer selected in the Layers palette, choose Filter > Liquify.

In the Liquify dialog box, select the following options:

  • In the upper left corner of the dialog box, make sure that the Forward Warp tool () is selected.

  • On the upper right side of the dialog box under Tool Options, select a brush size that’s the same size as the holes in the grille (we used 133). Then for Brush Pressure, select a moderate value (we used 20).


    Under View Options, you could select the Show Backdrop check box (as shown in the illustration above. Then you can set options for which layers to show as the backdrop (the Use option), whether to show the backdrop in front of the selected layer or behind it (the Mode option) and the level of Opacity for the backdrop. However, these options can be visually confusing at first, so leaving the Show Backdrop option unselected is recommended for this lesson.

  • Under View Options, select the Show Backdrop check box. Then select All Layers for the Use option, Behind for the Mode option, and 50% for Opacity.

Still in the Liquify dialog box, drag the brush across and down the image once to start applying the Liquify filtering effect.

The view showing the backdrop, including the original, undistorted version of the Metal Grille layer in addition to the distorted version you’re working on, can be visually confusing, especially when you’re just learning the process.

Under View Options in the Liquify dialog box, select the Show Mesh check box, and deselect the Backdrop check box.

Notice how the mesh has been distorted by the Forward Warp tool. You can drag the Forward Warp Tool brush in the image some more to create different results.

Removing distortions in the Liquify dialog box

If you want to undo some or all of your distorting work, you don’t have to cancel your efforts and start over completely. While the Liquify dialog box is open, you have several other choices for removing or reducing distortions from an area or from the entire image. The method you select depends on how much of your work you want to undo.

  • You can press Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac OS) to undo your most recent action, but only by one step.

  • You can select the Reconstruct tool in the Liquify dialog box and drag it freehandedly across an area of the image that you want to restore to its original condition.

  • You can click the Reconstruct button on the right side of the dialog box to reduce the entire distortion by degrees.

  • You can use the Freeze tool to protect an area of the image that you want to remain distorted and then use either the Reconstruct tool or the Reconstruct button to remove or reduce the distortion of the areas that are not frozen.

  • You can click the Restore All button to revert to the original (undistorted) condition of the image. The Restore All button restores even any frozen areas, so it is the equivalent of clicking Cancel and then choosing Filter > Liquify again in the Photoshop CS menu bar.

You can also select different reconstruction modes (under Reconstruct Options) and modes for the Reconstruction tool (under Tool Options). For more information, see Photoshop Help.

On the left side of the dialog box, select the Turbulence tool (), and drag the brush across another area of the metal grille image.

Move the Turbulence tool to an undistorted area of the image and hold down the mouse button for several seconds without moving the pointer.

As you hold down the mouse button, you can watch the grille appearing to melt under the influence of the Turbulence tool. Look closely for other the differences between the results created with the Forward Warp and Turbulence tools.

Continue to apply different effects to the metal grille. When you are satisfied with the results, click OK to close the Liquify dialog box, and then choose File > Save.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint