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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
Another great tool for retouching is the Liquefy Filter, but like with any retouching tool, you'll definitely want to be subtle using this tool. One of the most common problems when you're on location, shooting portraiture is, of course, the wind with people's hair or maybe somebody comes in and has a portrait taken and they haven't even done their hair. So on this couple, let's go under the Filter menu and choose Liquefy, and I'm going to be really subtle with what I do, but I am just going to kind of reshape both of their hairdos a little bit.
When you first come into Liquefy you will probably see this dialog, you probably won't be in the Advanced mode. So let's just start here and I'm going to use the first tool here which is the Forward Warp tool. The Forward Warp tool allows me to just click-and-drag. So for example if I click here and drag, you can see that it just moves in the direction that I drag. Now one of the things that I often see is that people try to use a really small brush and go in and drag multiple times, which is fine, if you want to give him a mohawk, but that is not the look that we're after.
So I am going to hold down the Option key and click Reset. What you want to do to make a very subtle change is actually use a large brush. So we have the Brush Size over here but you can also use the Right Bracket (]) and the Left Bracket ([) and Liquefy just like you can with any of your painting tools. Wherever you click with that and drag that area will be moved the most, and then it kind of fades out as it reaches the outer circle of the tool.
So in this case, I want to do two things, I want to bring this area down a little bit, so I will get a little bit smaller of a brush and then just kind of click-and-drag down to shorten those hairs, and then I'll come over here and just click-and-drag up a bit in order to just kind of round out his head here, because obviously, the wind is blowing in this direction. And we'll do the same thing here for her hair. Let's just give her a little bit more hair, a little bit more fullness there, and we'll just tuck in this hair a little by just clicking-and-dragging to the right.
So obviously, this is very subjective, but I do find that in a lot of cases, women do actually want a little bit more volume to their hair. And of course, someone's head is always going to look nicer if it's nice and round. So let's go ahead and click OK, and we'll just do a little before and after using Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo and redo. So you can see that after being liquefied, he's got a much nicer hairline and she's got nicer, fuller hair. Let's go ahead and move to our next image.
I have to say this is probably one of the more unflattering positions that you could photograph this woman in, but perhaps, it's the only photograph that she has and you want to make it a little bit better. The last time I was pretty confident and I just liquefied directly on the background, but don't forget, if you're not as confident, you can always make a copy by just using Cmd+ or Ctrl+J to duplicate that Background layer and then you can always come back or at least toggle on and off and see the before and after that way.
So again, I'll go under the Filter menu and select Liquefy. Now, in this case, we're going to need to pay attention not only to the area that we're liquefying, but also the background because we don't want to stretch it that much. Now for this little bump right here, what I am going to do is I am going to use my Right Bracket key to get a much larger brush and then just click-and-drag to tuck that little area in. Again, I don't want to go too far, I don't want to actually indent it in; I just want to maybe bring it in, just a touch.
And then up here underneath the arm, not only am I going to bring it to the left, but also just up a little bit and the same with this right area of the arm here in the underneath part of the arm. Then I'll move to the outer part of the arm and we'll just tuck in, we'll just make a little indention here so that it looks like her shoulder ends there is more definition to where this muscle might begin there. I might get a little bit of a smaller brush here and also just pull in the side of her neck, maybe do the same on the other side. Again, it's a really small movement, if I use Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z, you can see that all I've done is just a little bit of a movement there, just adding a little bit of a roundness to her neck.
Where it's going to get difficult is over here on the left-hand side because her arm is in kind of an awkward position here, and you'll notice if I click and move anywhere in her fingers, her fingers are going to start looking really odd. So I might just position my cursor right here, and we might just be able to tuck that in just a little bit. If I wanted to do more maybe I should wait and actually do maybe a copy and paste in Photoshop. But again, I can move this line in a little bit right here just to straighten it out, and then I'll get a much bigger brush and what we need to do is we need to straighten out these lines that are going horizontally here.
So by just bringing down the lines and making them look more horizontal, that's going to flatten out the stomach area. I can switch to another tool. You'll notice here that we've got a Pucker tool right here and a Bloat tool right here, this one moves things in and this one moves things out. So I'll go ahead and select the Pucker tool and get a really big brush, and I'm just going to click maybe once or twice here to just kind of bring in those folds a bit.
Now again, when you click with this tool, if you click and hold, you can see that it continues to move. So let's undo that. So again, I want to make sure I have a really big brush and I'm just clicking once or twice. I'm not holding down the brush, otherwise it's going to make too big of a change for me. Okay, let's go ahead and go back to the Forward Warp tool and I want to try to close the gap here between her shirt and her pants, but if I click-and-drag, you'll notice that both the shirt and the pants move, and I don't want to do that.
So I'm going to use the Freeze tool. The Freeze tool is not visible, unless I go into Advanced mode. Then we get our Freeze tool right here in our toolbar where I can then freeze this area right down here, and in fact, I'll probably want to freeze her fingers as well, and then the bottom of the pants here. With that area frozen, I'll return back to my Forward Warp, get a little bit large of a brush, again that's just the right and left bracket keys, and then just pull this down so that the ending of her shirt is just a little bit lower and a little bit closer to her pant.
You can see by just making that a horizontal line, it's going to thin out the waist area there. If I wanted to continue on, we've got the Eraser tool here where we can erase that frozen area. In that way, I can come over here and grab my Warp tool again and just bring this line so it's a little bit more of a horizontal as well. Let's go ahead and click OK and see the before and after, so we can toggle on the Eye icon that's before and that's after. Okay, finally, let's move to this last image and try Liquefy one more time.
We're just going to do a Cmd+J to duplicate this layer, and then we'll go under the Filter menu and choose Liquefy. Now this is something that I would obviously be just doing for fun, but I'll get a big brush with my Forward Warp, and since this little guy obviously wants to show off his muscles, let's just make him, just a wee bit bigger by just scooting those up. All right, we can even trim down his abs, I don't think he needs to be trimmed down whatsoever, but just for fun, let's click OK, and look at that, we've got a before and after, that's before his workout and after his workout.
So again, I think you guys can see that Liquefy can be used to do all sorts of things, but it can also be taken way too far too fast. So just remember that when you are retouching, you really want to make it subtle. You just want to remove the distracting elements in a photograph unless you are trying to do something funny like we just did with this little kid's muscles.
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