How to Use Liquify Tool in Photoshop in 3 Ways

By Tata Rossi 5 days ago, Photoshop Tips

The Liquify tool allows you to distort pixels of an image without losing quality. With this tool, you can remove double chin, add hair in Photoshop, and apply artistic effects. Check out this article to learn how to use the Liquify tool in Photoshop in 3 methods.

Method #1. Distorting the Image

To distort an image in this photo editing software on PC and Mac, take the following steps:

STEP 1. Open a Photo

Open the image you aim to work with. You can either select the whole layer or a specific area for distorting.

using liquify in photoshop open photo

STEP 2. Choose the Liquify Filter

Click “Filter” and select the Liquify tool from the list. You’ll see a dialog box. If you want to get more options for the Liquify tool, try Advanced Mode.

using liquify in photoshop choose liquify filter

You’ll find several tools in the Liquify filter dialog box:

To push pixels of a picture forward, use the “Forward Warp” option.

To reverse distortions added to a photo, you can use the “Reconstruct” tool.

A great instrument for adjusting pictures is “Twirl Clockwise”. It helps you rotate the pixels clockwise.

If you want to move pixels toward the center of the brush area, the “Pucker” tool comes in handy.

Besides, the Liquify filter dialog box includes the “Bloat” tool to move pixels away from the brush area.

The last option you should check out is “Push Left”. The tool is capable of moving pixels to the left or right based on your preferences. To move pixels leftwards, drag the tool up. If you want to move pixels rightwards, drag the tool down. While doing so, you need to press “Option” for Mac (“Alt” for PCs) to achieve the desired result.

STEP 3. Select the Tool and Zoom in on the Image

Since the Liquify tool Photoshop is available in different formats, you just need to select any option listed above to create the desired distortion and zoom in on the editable area. You can press Command+ to zoom in on the image, Command- for the opposite effect.

You can also press Command + 1 to set the scale of an image back to 100%. Besides, you can hold down on the Spacebar key to click and drag the picture around as needed.

using liquify in photoshop select tool

STEP 4. Adjust the Brush Parameters

Photoshop is very popular among users, so there are lots of Photoshop portrait tutorials for beginners and professionals. You can check them out to learn how to adjust brush parameters based on your needs. You should run the Liquify dialog box to set the brush size for manipulations. Here you can also adjust the brush width.

Besides, you can configure the brush density in the same window. By adjusting this parameter, you can follow the brush feathers at the edge of the image. You can also control the brush pressure. This parameter focuses on the speed the brush performs editing while you drag it on the picture.

using liquify in photoshop adjust brush parameters

You can also alter the brush rate to adjust the brush speed when you keep a tool stationary in the image.

Last but not least, you can adjust the stylus pressure for your wedding portraitss and other shots. The option is available only for tablets with a stylus.

STEP 5. Apply Distortion

Move the brush across the image in the desired direction. Press “OK” to close the dialog box and apply the distortion.

using liquify in photoshop apply distortion

To reverse distortions made to the image, press “Option” for Mac (“Alt” for PCs) and select “Reset”. The tool will clear all the changes, bringing the picture to its original state.

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Method #2. Using “Freeze” and “Thaw” Masks

If you want to leave certain areas of the picture intact, you can use a “Freeze Mask” or “Thaw Mask”. This method will suit those involved in fashion photography. Follow these steps:

STEP 1. Open an Image

Choose the image you will edit.

using liquify in photoshop open image

STEP 2. Select the Liquify Tool

Click "Filter" and choose "Liquify".

using liquify in photoshop select liquify tool

STEP 3. Select the “Freeze Mask”

Select the «Freeze Mask» tool. It allows photoshopping portraits without going overboard.

using liquify in photoshop select freeze mask

STEP 4. Apply the “Freeze Mask”

To protect a certain area from editing, drag the tool over it. Then press and hold down “Shift + Click”. The key combination will create a straight line between both click points.

using liquify in photoshop apply freeze mask

STEP 5. Select the “Thaw Mask”

With the «Thaw Mask» tool, you can Invert Frozen Areas, Show or Hide Frozen Areas, and Change the Color of Frozen Areas.

using liquify in photoshop select thaw mask

STEP 6. Drag the Mask

Drag the “Thaw Mask” tool over the frozen area.

using liquify in photoshop drag thaw mask

STEP 7. Distort the Desired Area

Use the "Forward Warp Tool" to distort the editable area without affecting the frozen one. The tool can move pixels forward when dragging. Select “Shift + Click” to thaw in a straight line that is between both click points. To reset all frozen areas, you can click the “None” button in the “Mask Options” panel.

using liquify in photoshop distort desired area

Method #3. Using “Face-Aware Liquify” Tool

This method is capable of identifying facial features such as eyes, noses, mouths, etc. Since facial features are small, it’s difficult to adjust them with other tools. In Photoshop tutorials on YouTube you can learn different ways to adjust facial features with on-screen handles.

STEP 1. Open the Image

You need to open self-portrait photography or portrait photography in Photoshop.

using liquify in photoshop open the image

STEP 2. Select the Liquify Tool

Press “Filter” and select “Liquify”.

using liquify in photoshop select the liquify tool

STEP 3. Select “Face” Tool

You can either choose the “Face” tool from the dialog box or press “A” on your keyboard. The instrument identifies faces in the picture automatically. Alternatively, you can use the “Select Face” menu from the “Face-Aware Liquify” area of the “Properties” panel to identify the faces in a portrait. Click on the needed face to select it.

using liquify in photoshop select face tool

STEP 4. Adjust the Controls

You can start adjusting one face by hovering the mouse over it. You’ll see on-screen controls that allow performing different manipulations. To make changes, you need to customize sliders in the “Face-Aware Liquify” area. You’ll find sliders affecting different face parts.

using liquify in photoshop adjust controls

STEP 5. Adjust the Face Using the Sliders

To change individual facial features, you should move to the right side of the panel. Choose the desired value, by dragging sliders.

After you make all the adjustments to the face, you can apply the same actions to edit other models if any. Once you’re satisfied with the result, press “OK” to save changes.

using liquify in photoshop adjust face using sliders

Bonus Tools

bonus tools for photography

If you want to make your portraits more creative and professional, Ps tools will come in handy. Learn how to install Photoshop actions and apply them to your shots. Professional retouchers created these actions for streamlined processing.