The Magic Frame: Liquify

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I recently shot a young lady while doing some general portraiture work. This was not part of an assignment, and I have not had the time to edit the photographs. I photographed her in two outfits, one Western, and one Indian.

This post, however, is not about portraiture. It is about the Photoshop Liquify Tool. I have used this in the past, but sparingly. However, what I did discover, is that they have a new version – the ‘Face Aware’ liquify tool, which is quite brilliant.

I do have a few ethical concerns about this. Me and my greying hair! However, I also accept the fact that some degree of modification does take place in all photographic work. We have to accept the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, from a realistic perspective. However, my boundaries are not the same as yours.

Anyway, the face aware liquify tool does a really good job of smoothening face contours in a very realistic manner. The face needs to be looking at the camera for it to work, and should not be too inclined.

Look at the above photographs very, very carefully. I mean it – look carefully. In the photograph on the left, I have made no edits at all.

Look at the photo on the right. Look at the face contours, the nose contours, the forehead, the lips and, you will start to see differences. They are subtle, and would not ordinarily be tool noticeable. However, I think she looks a tad better in the photo on the right. A little slimmer. For a model, this may work. For the rest of us, maybe not.

The tool, however, is really very good. It is indeed very intuitive and does a really good job of smoothening contours and shapes without having the face look awful.

Next week, I will show you the liquify workspace.

16 Comments

  1. Agreed, it’s very subtle, and it works well. I suppose it’s main use would be in commercial shoots; otherwise we are in that ethical grey area you mention.

      1. Indeed! And I love the ones that go wrong, when they end up with a body that is impossibly long, or with 6 fingers or with other Photoshop mistakes!

  2. I can see how that new tool can be used to mislead. I think I am going to go a little Nat Geo (they will only accept unaltered work) on this one and say that I prefer people unaltered. If they are altered, they need to be clearly labeled as digitally enhanced or modified. I don’t think this will happen.

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