Tweaking your renders with Photoshop's 'Liquify' Tool

March 5, 2008 1:04 am

Did you ever spend ages setting up a picture, then wait hours for it to render in your favourite software, only to find when it comes out the other end that it's not quite how you wanted it?

It's not an absolute disaster, so you don't want to wait another 6 hours for it to render, but it's still enough of a niggle to make you want to change it. 


Photoshop's Liquify filter is the easy answer!

I was first introduced to it in ImagineFX, where it appeared on the Q & A page for digital artists who wanted to change facial expressions when the work was more or less complete. You could always try to paint your changes over the top of your picture, but this saves a lot of time and can give some interesting and varied results.

We'll use the image above as a starting point. Having rendered it out, We'll change her facial profile to make her look a little more emotional, and change and body shape slightly so it's a little less realistic.

Open up the Liquify window by clicking on Filter > Liquify.




Then select the Zoom tool on the left hand side toolbar, and zoom in on the area you want to change.


Next,select the Forward Warp Tool from the left hand side toolbar.



On the right hand side, you have options that allow you to change the size, density and pressure of the brush, along with other options. Select a few different sizes and play around with them on the screen until you see the effect they have on your image.

Use the warp tool to pull and push the facial features around until you are happy with them. 


Likewise with the elements of the body you want to change.


The picture below shows the image before and after tweaking in the Liquify filter in Photoshop. The changes are relatively minor, but make a difference to the overall feel of the picture. I've only used it for gentle editing of selected details in this case, but you could use it to make drastic changes, or to add unusual warp effects to a picture.


The finished image is here.

This tutorial is also available as a video (no sound) here.

If you've any questions about this tutorial, please email me.

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Specializing in 3D character portraits in the fantasy / sci-fi / horror genre, Deedee was first attracted to the idea of creating 3D artwork back in 2004 when she first started posting art online. Having tried many of the low end hobbyist packages in the past few years, her preferences are Carrara 6 for modelling, Vue 6 for landscapes and Poser 7 for figure posing and animation. Her influences include vampires, bad 80s horror and fantasy films, heavy metal and the works of Poe, Lovecraft & their contemporaries.

March 17, 2008

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Article Comments

louly ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 20 March 2008

Thank you! This is so useful. I never knew I could do that, to the point I was sure you were using CS3 and I didn't have it available in CS2 lol So I opened Photoshop and tried :) I think it will help with the flow of the clothes when they're too stiff or to create elf ears :)

Pilikia ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 20 March 2008

I can't believe you did all that, and then left the armpit as is. Eesh.

donquixote ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 23 March 2008

Never really thought about using Liquify for this purpose. Nice tip.

liteluvr ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 24 March 2008

Nice tutorial... I hadn't thought of using the Liquify tool in quite that manner. And for Pilikia, she did a short tutorial, not a work of art... get real.