photoshop creative

Create a melting effect

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 14, 2016

Master the Liquify filter and create astonishing special effects


1. Create a new document


Go to File>New>Blank File (Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Melting Effect and set the Width to 230mm, Height to 200mm, Resolution to 300 and then click OK. Now add a bonfire as your background. Hold Shift and drag the corner handles to scale the image and hit Return/Enter.

2. Make a selection


Add your typewriter. Grab the Magic Wand tool (Shift+A). In the Tool Options, check Add to Selection, set the Tolerance to 30, check Contiguous. Now use the Magic Wand to select the white area. Invert the selection by clicking Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I.

3. Use Refine Edge


With the typewriter selected, it is time to refine the selection. In Options, click Refine Edge. Set the Radius to 3.5 pixels, Smooth: 5, Feather: 0, Contrast: 0, Shift Edge: -30%. Check Decontaminate Colors, Amount: 100% and choose Output to New Layer with Layer Mask. Now click OK.

4. Adjust the tones


First duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Now go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. You need to hide the Typewriter Copy layer. To adjust the tones go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Check ‘Use previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ and hit OK. Set the Input Levels to 5, 0.80 and 254.

5. Merge and select


Let’s merge the layers. Hold Shift and select the Typewriter Copy2 and the Level 1 layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Now grab the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) and select the typewriter front panel. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+X to Cut and Cmd/Ctrl+V to Paste it in a new layer.

6. Apply the Liquify filter


Let’s apply the Liquify filter in individual areas, starting with the typewriter front panel. Go to Filter>Distort>Liquify. Use the Zoom tool to get close to the object and then grab the Warp tool (W). Vary the brush Size and Pressure. Push down on the pixels to create the melting effect.

7. Create more distortions


Now cut and paste the keyboard in its own layer. Apply the Liquify filter on each button. Distort the typewriter body by using the Warp tool to push the pixels and then the Pucker tool to create droplets. Remember to vary the brush size.

8. Add a Layer Style


Duplicate the typewriter layers and merge again. Hold Shift, select the layers. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Style Settings and choose Bevel. Choose Lighting Angle: 90°, change the Size to 10 pixels, Direction: Up and then click OK.

9. Draw a melting puddle


Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+N). Name it Melting Metal and click OK. Grab the Lasso tool (L) and draw a selection that looks like a puddle, around the typewriter. Use the Color Picker tool (I) and sample the typewriter colour. Hit Opt/Alt+Delete to fill the selection. Drag it under the Typewriter layer.

10. Create a metal effect


Hit F6 to open the Effect panel. Click Styles and choose Wow Chrome from the drop-down menu. Pick the ‘Wow-Chrome Beveled Edges’ option. Now hit F11 to open the Layers palette. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Set the Input Levels to 0, 0.30 and 255, and Output to 0 and 145. Clip the layers (Cmd/Ctrl+G).

11. Add burning paper


Click on the Typewriter layer. Grab the Burn tool (Shift+O). Set Range: Midtones, Size: 200 pixels and Exposure: 100%. Paint over the paper to create a burning-paper effect. Now add a layer mask and paint over the paper to create a small hole.

12. Place the flames


Add some flames to the image and hit Return/Enter. Change the blend mode to Screen. Place more flames over the typewriter and add a layer mask to hide the hard edges. Simplify the layer (Layer>Simplify) and use a Levels adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl+L) to enhance the colours.

13. Create the smoke


Find a smoke brush online, download, and then drag into Photoshop. Create a new layer. Grab the Brush tool (B). Set the Foreground colour to white. Open the Brush Preset picker and choose the Smoke brush. Paint some smoke around the image.

14. Reflect the light


Create a new layer. Change the blend mode for the new layer to Color. Use the Color Picker tool (I) and sample the flame. Grab a soft Brush (B) and paint around the flames to reflect the light on the typewriter. Now change the layer’s Opacity to 50%. You’re all done!