Get flowing with the Liquify filter in Adobe Photoshop.
Push, pull, and swirl pixels as if they were liquid. Use this filter like a brush tool to adjust faces, touch up clothes and hair, and make delicate adjustments.
Treat pixels like water with a Liquify filter.
The Liquify filter, found in Filter › Liquify, lets you push and pull pixels in Photoshop. Move your cursor through the pixels like they’re water, pushing elements very slightly in one direction or another. Use the filter for subtle retouching tasks, and reach for it to smooth out wrinkles in clothing or rough edges. Also use the Liquify filter to tweak subtle elements like facial features.
Distort an image.
The Liquify filter is sometimes called the “bloat tool” because it can make an object look like it’s filled with water, melting, or viewed through a wide-angle lens. Holding down the mouse button intensifies the effect, further distorting the image.
Make clothes fit better.
Sometimes a subject will have an errant fold of clothing. Smooth out those pixels and give your subject a sleeker profile. It’s a go-to tool for anyone doing fashion or wedding photography.
Change face shape and expressions.
Using the Face-Aware Liquify options, you can select features such as eyes, mouths, noses, or ears and enlarge them or space them apart. Bend straight mouths into subtle grins, or move eyes ever so subtly.
Smooth and correct hair.
People in photos might have tufts of hair that aren’t quite behaving. As with clothing, the Liquify filter provides a quick way to wrangle those pixels and get their coiffure in line.
Other Liquify distortion tools.
The Liquify menu includes several distortion tools that push and pull pixels as if they were water. While Liquify is technically a filter, you can use it as if it were a brush to make changes. Each of these tools has fully customizable tool options to control factors like brush size or brush density. When using a hand tool, like an Apple Pencil, applying more stylus pressure will have the same intensified results as applying more brush pressure when painting.
Forward Warp tool.
Push pixels out of the way as you drag this tool, like running a finger through a pool of liquid.
Move pixels away from the center of the brush area, like a bubble emerging from water. Hold down the mouse button to intensify the effect.
Push pixels toward the center of the brush area, like water getting sucked into a drain. Hold down the mouse button to intensify the effect.
Twirl Clockwise tool.
Create swirls and eddies of pixels, like tiny whirlpools or forkfuls of spaghetti. Twirls are clockwise by default, with counterclockwise an alternative option.
Push Left tool.
Push pixels left (or right, if you’re using the alternative option) like a miniature bulldozer moving piles of earth.
This tool reverses distortions you’ve added, calming the waters and restoring the original image beneath your changes.
Control what you liquify with a Freeze Mask tool.
A Freeze Mask protects a segment of your image from being liquified. Apply the mask over the area of the image you want to stay static, and the Liquify filter’s effects will bounce off it like water off a duck’s back.
The Thaw Mask tool lets you erase sections of the Freeze Mask. Make fine adjustments to the sections of an image you want to liquify and the sections you want to stay solid.
Learn more about the Liquify filter with these tutorials.
Read more on how to push, pull, and swirl pixels in your photos.
Dive deeper into the Liquify filter.
Explore more details on how to use the Liquify filter to distort and alter an image, how to use the various Liquify subtools and keyboard shortcuts, and how to apply Liquify as a smart filter.
Adjust and exaggerate facial features.
Discover the Liquify filter’s uses as a face tool, and how to change expressions in both subtle and overt ways.
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