For all Photoshop’s abilities, I think it’s fair to say it’s what the liquify tool does that ends up getting most of the press. Want a smaller nose? The liquify tool is there. How about fuller lips? Smaller hips? A thigh gap? Or maybe breasts so large they have their own gravitational field? While there are other ways of achieving the aforementioned, it’s the liquify tool that tends to be the go-to.
For those who aren’t familiar with photography or photo editing, or those who just don’t have a deftness with Photoshop, these are the manipulations they often associate with the editing software. While it’s not entirely wrong, there’s much more to be done with the tool.
What the liquify tool really allows is the ‘bending of pixels.’ It gives the ability to push and pull pixels as you see fit, and that capability has far more uses that just altering someone’s physical attributes. Aaron Nace takes a user submitted portrait and breaks down the settings of the liquify tool, and then goes to work showing what they do and how to use them.
- Change brush size often
- Keep an eye on the brush pressure to allow for more nuanced adjustments
- Brush density can be kept on the high end, allowing for larger areas per stroke, and thus more natural changes
- Beware of editing images that fill to the border of the frame, as you may encounter some transparency. Using the masking option will help with this.
As usual, Aaron is spilling all sorts of valuable information regarding workflow, and other precesses, as well as and possibly most importantly, how to think about what you’re doing. Like Aaron suggests, I actually find myself using the liquify tool to alter wardrobe, and fix hair. To a much lesser extent do I use it to physically change a person’s structure.
In regards to that, however, I will say that when I am using the tool to reshape some part of someone, the most common thing for me to do, especially for women, is to drop their shoulders. It’s one of my biggest suggestions to women having their photo taken, that keeping shoulders down make a tremendous difference in how they appear. If they don’t do it at the moment of capture, I’ll often do it for them in post.
As always, if you are a fan of Aaron’s teachings (and who isn’t?), be sure to check back here for updates, and follow along with Aaron on YouTube and Phlearn. You should also consider becoming quickly adept at Photoshop with the Phlearn Photoshop 101 & 201 sets as they are extremely comprehensive, and will have you quickly doing things with Photoshop you may have otherwise thought too complex, or didn’t even know you could do.