by Julieanne Kost
The Photoshop team has made a significant number of enhancements to the Liquify feature over the years. In Photoshop CS6, they added larger brushes, faster performance (by doing the calculations on the GPU instead of the CPU) and the ability to load the last created Mesh (so that you can apply it to multiple layers or documents). But the icing on the cake happened in Photoshop CC when they made Liquify a nondestructive filter by enabling it as a Smart Filter. This means that not only can you re-edit the filter at any time, but you have access to the Smart Filter mask to selectively show and hide the filter, the Smart Filter Blend Modes and Opacity options and, since you can create a smart object from multiple layers, you can now apply Liquify to all of those layers at once. This video will show you how:
In addition (since the video above was created), Photoshop also added the Smooth tool to help “smooth out” the mesh when moving a portion of the image using many small warps. In the past, many small strokes applied to the mesh could result in scallops or discontinuities in the warp. The Smooth Tool will remove the scallops but leave the overall warp undisturbed. I think of it as if the Smooth tool runs a Gaussian filter over the warp mesh vectors. Note: to view the mesh, check Advanced Mode, then under View Options check Show Mesh.
Another new addition is the ability to “Pin Edges” when using Liquify. This can help eliminate any gaps near the edge of the file when warping the image. The video below shows a quick demonstration:
And don’t forget you can also apply Liquify to a video layer if you convert the video to a Smart Object first.
In addition, here are a few shortcuts when working with Liquify:
• “W” – Forward Warp tool
• “R” – Reconstruct tool
• “C” – Twirl Clockwise tool
• “S” – Pucker tool
• “B” – Bloat tool
• “O” – Push Left tool
• “F” – Freeze Mask tool
• “D” – Thaw Mask tool
• “H” – Hand tool
• “Z” – Zoom tool
In addition, Option + (Mac) | Alt + (Win) toggles between the:
• The Twirl Clockwise and Twirl Counter Clockwise tools
• The Pucker and Bloat tools
• The Freeze Mask and Thaw Mask tools
And, when working with the Push Left tool, clicking and dragging up pushes the content under the brush to the left. Dragging down pushes the content to the right.