photoshop creative

How to use Photoshop’s Liquify tool to create surreal effects

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
January 24, 2012

A quick tip on using Photoshop’s Liquify filter to make a Dali-inspired melting clocks and other surreal effects

Photoshop’s Liquify tool can be used to give a Dali-inspired feel to an image.

Kick off by taking or downloading a shot of a clock face and opening the image in Photoshop. Duplicate the locked Background layer by dragging it onto the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Grab the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Toolbar. Place the cursor at the centre of the clock face and hold down Alt. Next, click and drag to draw an elliptical selection that grows from the centre of the clock face.

If your clock face is at an angle (like the one we used), you’ll need to rotate the elliptical selection marquee to choose it. To do so, go to Select>Transform Selection. This enables you to change the shape and position of the selection without modifying the pixels within it.

Drag outside the selection handles to rotate the marquee. Hold down Ctrl/Cmd to move each corner independently to distort the marquee. You should then be able to fine-tune the shape and position it to overlap the clock face. Hit Enter to apply the changes to the selection.

Choose Edit>Copy and Edit>Paste to pop just the clock face selection onto a new layer. Alt-click on the copied clock face layer to reactivate the selection marquee. Target the original layer and Edit>Fill the selection with black to create a dark space where the clock face used to be.

To melt the clock face go to Filter> Distort>Liquify and grab the Shift Pixels tool. Use a large brush size like 600 and a Pressure of 50. Drag down over the clock face to warp and distort it Dali style.

Recreate the Dali style in Photoshop