How to Create Liquid Backgrounds in Photoshop | Andrew Brooks | Skillshare

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How to Create Liquid Backgrounds in Photoshop

teacher avatar Andrew Brooks, Graphic Designer & Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Pictures

    • 3. Clouds

    • 4. Paint Brush

    • 5. Blend Modes & Compositions

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About This Class

In this class, I'll teach you how to use the liquify filter in Photoshop to create stunning backgrounds. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrew Brooks

Graphic Designer & Illustrator


Graphic Designer and Creative Arts Pastor

Instagram: @andrewbrooks05

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1. Intro: Hey, guys, My name is Andrew Brooks. If you're a graphic designer like me, chances are you've needed to create some good looking backgrounds quickly for a project that you're working on in this class. I'm going to show you how to create liquid effect backgrounds in photo shop. After this class, you'll be able to create stunning backgrounds in no time at all to join me and I'll see you in class. 2. Pictures: So the first way that I want to show you how to use this liquefy tool to make backgrounds is with using a picture. This is like the quickest way to jump in because you can find a picture with the colors that you want. It doesn't even have to be colors that you want and you can jump right in. All right, So the first thing that we want to do is we want to take this background layer and unlock it. So the way that I do that, it's I don't click on it, hit, okay, and then it's unlocked. Weaken, Do anything with it. Um, I like to duplicate the layer so that, um I at least have the original that I can work with. But I will show you a way that we can work around that If that's not the way you want to do it, that's what I'm gonna do it. So, Command J. We now have that duplicated, and I'm gonna just turn that last layer off just because we can. So then I want to turn this into a smart object before we before we get to liquefying anything I want to turn it into us a smart object and I'll show you Why here shortly. So right, click on the layer, go down to convert to smart object You don't see any visible changes, but that allows us to make changes to it without destructing or destroying the photo. Because a lot of times, when you do things in a photo shop to a layer without making a smart object, it's doing unless you just wanna undo, undo, undo all the way back. But sometimes you're you know, if you save it and then close photo shop, open it back up. You won't be able to edit that you won't be able to undo it is what it is. But with a smart object, you can you can save your original picture. So now, now that we have that in a smart object, gonna go up to filter liquefy now, depending on how big your picture is, how big your canvases it will. It will change the way that this looks. But this is totally up to you the way that however you want, it's a look. You have complete control over this. So you see how big my brushes here you can go up and adjust it here. You see that you can start to do some pretty cool things. I like to have mine, you know, here ish, Um and when I say here is like I said, it depends on how big your document is. I like my brush being about this size in proportion to what I'm liquefying. So for me in this document that is around 1600 but depend on your dock document up 700. Could be where you want it. But you can go small and you can see you get you can get some detail, their undo command z undoes. And then let's go back up to that 1600 smart. And then here you can start to have fun and just click and drag. Just get crazy with it. You can see that things start happening very quickly. You're totally, totally changing picture and you get a really cool effect. And now you can change sizes as you go. So All right. So I wanted to be a little bit bigger. Go up there and change it. You start getting this really cool. I see. Yeah, like that. And really, you just play with it until it's something that you like that you're that you're happy with . All right, So, like that, at least for at least for now, for Tom state, I want to show you one other thing that you can do. You can go down to this reconstruct button here and 0 to 100. And what this does is it shows you where you began and where you in. So say somewhere in the middle is what? What you like just browsing to give you a live preview. Usually this change. So maybe you wanted more of that detail. That was a part of the original picture in there. Certainly could go back. I like I don't like that. I think I like it around 90. How? It good. Yeah. Let's go with that. Okay. And then so we're done here. Go. Ok, okay. And then there you have your liquefy effect on this picture. So let's say what if you want to add something in there, you wanted to add a color in there, but you didn't want to change the overall color of the picture because we made this a smart object. Weaken DoubleClick in there. It takes us to our original picture. Let's grab our brush. Will it be to grab the brush tool? Here's a Here's a brush trick. If you hold control option You can change and drag your mouse toe left or right, you can change the size of your brush. Let's do it right there. Go here. And, um, let's pick. I was picked like a nice green minty color. Yeah, somewhere out of there. And this is just to show you what it looks like, and then I'm just gonna paint that on, and then I'm gonna close it. It's gonna ask you if you want to say that safe and then you go back into it, give it. Tom has now added that color in there. Now, I don't like that at all, but that shows you what you could do. And it shows you that the smart object allows you to go back into it later and add color and that you did not destroy your picture. So I actually don't like that. I'm gonna hit Command Z, don't do that. They had. So there is there is the picture liquefy fate and then, you know, if you wanted to later. And the when we get done with all these lessons, I want to show you that you can actually zoom in and find different compositions here would be cool. 3. Clouds: let me show you the second method. Now, this one method, we're gonna use clouds. Let me show you how to make that happen. So go ahead and make a new layer. And, um, I have my foreground set toe white. I have a background set to black here. I'm gonna go up to paint bucket tool. Right here it is. You may see your Grady and tool there. So it's underneath that. If you just hold it down, there's your pain book. It'll click. Make that white photo shop. Just need something there to render these clouds. I don't believe a blank layer will work. Just fill that in, go up to filter and render clouds. There you go. Photoshopped makes you this nice, weird looking clouds. We want to turn this into a smart object for the same reason. Case. You want to go back in and add anything on there? This does not destroy the layer. And now, now that this is a smart object, we're gonna go back up to filter liquefy. And here I like to see the whole board. Sometimes it can look kind of confusing if whether you're seeing the whole thing or not so I want to see the amount just a little bit. So command minus command. Plus Go right back there. Command minus. That's where I want to live and just start dragon things around getting the desired look that you want. You may wanna decrease the size a little bit or decrease the pressure increase. Remember that you have the ability to do that. Once you get the look that you're that you want. I want to look around the edges and see if you see any of that transparent background. I don't see any, but just in case, just drag around the edge and you'll be just fine. And remember, you can go to the reconstruct. You can look at any point that you want to going there just to see the effect and how it how it took shape. I like to live between 1900 when I'm making this effect. Okay, there you go. And just to show you again, this smart object, you can double click your smart object thumbnail and you go right back into their I don't want to save anything. But now you can You could totally go with this with this black and white. If you wanted to done that plenty of times. But what if you wanted to make that half color? What if you want to ask some color to that? Well, let's go down here to your fields and adjustments later and let's add the radiant map. So now you see that I didn't really do anything. Actually, I think it just reversed it, but is still black and white, so just double. I didn't even have to double click. Just click on it. And here you can edit your colors, so double click on that little white marker and let's so we're adjusting the You see that we're adjusting the white that's cancel anywhere. That the the white shadows to the black shadows. That's what we're adjusting. So Sco Let's go blue, Yeah, and then let's double quick there, Let's get a nice Oh yeah, looks crazy and just play with colors until you get something that you like. And now you can also go there and pick the swatches. Any swatches that you have saved, it will just automatically bring the color picker up the eyedropper tool, and you can get those colors there as well um, Let's see here. Yeah, and at any point in here say, uh, you want to know it, just there's a little bit Bring him in. You can also add in a color. So the way that I did that Command Z, come in. Oh, option. Coming in. Busy. Take those shift community. No. Why is that not working? That's weird. That's different. All right, so I just learned something. I'm gonna have to figure out my settings. So the way that you could get rid of that, if you don't want it, is dragged out. All right. So, um, let's add that color back in there. Let's go over here and I don't want that. Move that on the other side and then say you don't like that, Remember, you can just drag it out, or you pop it back in there and just adjust it until just adjusted. Until you you like the way that it looks like that. Okay. And there you have your colored clouds. Liquefied effect. Um, and once again, you could You could go back into here and add something in that you wanted to. Although it's it's kind off adding a color in at this point wouldn't really do anything because you have this, Grady It map now. If you were, take that off. Double clicking there at some colors. Get a brush tool. Let's change. It's safe. Close it. See? Now that would work. Then you had your great Matt back on top, and it takes us goes away because it it's not based on the color. It's based on the tent of the shadows, the highlights in the shadows. So there you could totally ignore the color that you started with and start with the great map, which, when the Grady and map is on top of all of these layers, it affects all of these layers. So if you wanted it just over the layer that you're currently working on, um, you could right click and create clipping mass, and then it just works to that, um, Command Z, let me show you what I mean. See? So there's the 1st 1 that we did with the picture. And there's a free take it off so you can see that it does affect every layer. Um, I'm gonna make it clipping master now, just so we can have all of these separate. Yeah. All right. There's that. Let me show you the last method 4. Paint Brush: this last way that I'm gonna show you were going to use the paint brush tool. So we want to start with a new layer. So going on here to create new layer, make sure you're on top of everything that we've made so far before you do that, and then we want to feel this layer in. I want to use this background. That's yellow. Um, I did some playing before I started making this last video. That's why that yellow and find your paint bucket tool. Remember, it lives under the Grady in, so that may be what you see in your tool panel over there, so just hold that down, go down a paint bucket. We're gonna fill this later in with yellow, and then I'm gonna grab the paint brush tool so you can go over to to put tool panel and click Be or you can't push. I click be click the brush icon, the brush toe, or you can press be on your keyboard. So I want to show you something with your brush tool before we go further. So you see, right now it's open painting. Let's go switch that switch. These so you can switch your foreground and your background by pressing this little swap arrow down here. Or you can press X on your keyboard and that will switch. I want to paint in black. Now I'll show you something with your brush tool real quick. So nice little short cut. So right now it is set to a pretty hard brush. So all this all this up here, You see, the hardness is 100%. Your size is 1 96 So you can come up here and you can adjust all that right here. You can adjust that right here, or if you want to do it on the fly, hold control an option on a Mac. And as you move to the left and right, the diameter of your brush changes. If you go up and down, the hardness of your brush changes. So when you pull down, it goes to 100% hardness. When you go up, it goes to 0% and you get that nice soft edge. So when I go 50% or so and then I wanna let's go s on pulling to the left to make it go down, pulling to the right to make it go up. That's a nice little shortcut. Remember that Its control an option on a Mac. And you say we get that softer edge. So one of backup, I'm hitting commands easy to go back and forth commands. He just takes you like between two steps. And then if you hold option commands, he takes you back each step of the time. So I want to just make some swirlies here. Must dio must be like, uh, blue. Let's do a wide Okay, So now we want to make this a smart object. Whenever you're done doing what you want to do, make it a smart object and do that right click convert smart object the same way that we've been doing it. So that way, this layer is not destroyed. Now you cannot paint on a smart object anymore. We would have to double click into that and go paint, but it allows us to not destroy that. So got our smart object go up to filter liquefy. And here we're back in the same window back in the same liquefy window and just start painting around, set your size the way you want to. Sorry. That is my dog in the background. Get the desired effect that you want. Make sure your edges aren't transparent. Remember, command minus will get you out where you can see all your edges. And for time's sake, I'll be done not super thrilled with the way that looks right now. But it looks all right. Remember, brush the brush reconstruction. You can see any point in time where it is and C on this one. I like this one because you don't get all that weird texture like we did with the picture. And with the clouds. You kind of see it kind of still has the same look. Um, as far as just the flat, the flatness of it. So at any point in there, it really all of that works. All I I think I like. I like it right about there. Yeah, Okay. Okay. There you go. It's adjusted. Now, remember, you can go back in double click your smart object. You go add color in. Could the X get safe? And there you have that. I don't like that. I'm gonna commands the undue Let's go back just to that now I've shown you three methods of how to get that liquefy effect. And these were quick. I didn't spend much time on him. You can definitely get them looking, Howard, however you want to. But now I want to have a little bit of fun with these. So I've taught you the picture method. I've taught you how to use clouds. And I've taught you how to do. Just create a regular layer, paint some stuff on there and then liquefy it. Now I want to show you a few things that you can do with these layers. Toe, have some fun. 5. Blend Modes & Compositions: out of all these. This one is probably my favorite. It's just there's not. It's not too much going on that you could easily put something on top of that when you know some text. This might be the the background that I use for the class thumbnail. I'm not sure yet. Um, but they're really there's so much that you can do with these, Um, but I want to show you how you can go a little bit further and get some crazier effects with this. So I want to talk to you about blending modes. Blending modes are crazy. They can totally change your artwork. You can have a lot of fun with them. So, um, there I could I could dive into the the deepness of it. But truthfully, I never know what a blend mode is going to look like until I apply it. And so it's easier to just go through an experiment and be creative with them for me. Instead of diving into each one of them and hoping you get the effect that you want, it's easier to adjust. In my opinion, it is easier to adjust, um, than to know you're going after a specific bunny moat when it comes to this. So I want to show you what that looks like. All right, so let's just work with these two layers right here. All right? So we got the blue, the darker blue and the blacks with the crazy yellow And why and the blues in the black. All right, so right here is where your blending modes live. There's a couple different ways that you can cycle through these Photoshopped hasn't always been able to show you them live. Um, when you scroll through them like this, you see, you see, it just gets crazy. So you have your normal is just it is what it is. It's what you see. It's not mixing with the with the layer underneath at all. Dissolve same way when it comes to this, but dark. And you start getting into crazy. This, um, this is a good way to like all your It just darkens the image below. It uses a lot of the the darker shadows, um, in in the image that you are blending into the bottom into the image below it. But you can start to see that things start to come to life when you start scrolling through these and all I'm doing is I'm just moving my mouse down below, you know, teach to to the next blending mode and they get crazy. I mean, like, look at that, That's That's crazy, like psychedelic stuff. That's cool. You never know what stuff is gonna look like. That's while I like. I really like that, um, so let's just let's go with that, All right? So now we have we have applied that now another way to change that. Let's say you didn't want to drag your mouse like that, that you didn't wanna pull those down and dragged through them like that. Well, there's another way, so make sure that you're on your selection. Tool your move tool and select the layer and then just hit shift on the keyboard, and then you're plus or minus, and then you start to browse through those. So plus it just goes down through and minus. You know, you go backwards and all I'm doing is holding shift and plus and your cycling through those blend modes. I think it's there's that crazy psychedelic one again, like I was from the sixties. I really like that one. All right, So there's that, um there's the blending mood. But look, now, now, what if we What if we put this one, which all right, so this one, this layer up here is blending too. The second layer, This is just adjustment layer. Don't count it as a layer because it is clipped its a mask to this one. So it's totally it's dependent on this one. So we're not blending to this. We're blending to this layer. So now what if we blend this one? Now we've got this one blended to this one. What if we blend this layer to this one? You start to get some craziness. I'm gonna hold shift Plus, and I'm going to start to just walk through and you see now see, Alex, Awesome. You get some craziness going on back here that I really like that that you wouldn't have. Just doing your normal liquefy tool. You get some crazy colors in there. Blending modes are so much fun. So we're back or all the way back through. Uh, receiver. I really like that one. I like the lighter color, Alex. Crazy. So that's how You can, um, use the blending most to get even crazier. Liquefied options. Get some crazy backgrounds that way. Now, um, say that that's what we want to go with. Well, we need to We need Teoh kind of package that as its own thing. Um, we need a say you want it. You still wanted to be able to edit all of these just the way that they are. But you also wanted to save this as an option so that you can start to zoom in and make compositions on that. Well, let's select all of these hit command J. We're gonna duplicate all of these. Takes a second command. J um, I wanna put these in a group, bet on here and hit this folder so it's in a group. So now we have, um we have all of these layers duplicated and put in this group, all right. And then I want to right click on it, convert smart object. And there you have this turned all these layers off. You have this, and you still have all your originals. So now that you have this guy living that way, you can set this back to normal. You could set this one back to the normal, said all of them back to normal. And then you're right back where you started from right back where you started from. And you have this sweet new deal. All right, so let's say from here now we have a blending modes You figured out the way you want it. Well, let's say you were making some social media post that you kind of wanted to have this whole liquefied theme as your background. But you don't want to use the same exact background every single time. Well, let's create a new document. Let's go, Teoh Instagram size, which is 10. 80 by 10. 80. We'll tie well. Title it liquid Instagram create We never to close that layer. All right, so what we want to do is we want to take this later that we've created this smart object that we've created. We want pull it into here. I want to show you how to do that. So if you hit, shift and click the layer and drag it, hold it. Do not still you're still holding everything that is still holding Shit. You're still hold your mouse and click it down here and let it go. All right, Now you see that we have pulled in our graphic our background. Um, but it definitely doesn't look the same way. It doesn't look the same. That's because it's super zoomed in. And this would be totally dependent on how big your original document ISS. So I'm gonna zoom out. So command minus command minus command minus. I haven't feel we're gonna be way out here, and then I want to transform this. I want to be ableto shrink it moving around. And because we've made it a smart object, we're not going to destroy anything. We're not gonna mess any pixels up or anything like that. Everything is gonna be totally edible. Um, so we won't hit command t and that brings up are transformed box. So you can start to move this around and get get the spots that you want to. Um, so say you had several instagram post. Well, look how many different options that you have. Well, what just happened? I must have clicked out. Command T. Look how many options that you have to go through. What does it keep doing that? Manti. So I really, really like right in there. That's cool. Um, that one school shows a little bit more color. So then you'd hit. Check Mark, it's in there. And in any point, you can take this and move it around, or you can hit the command t again, and you can shrink this down and get more stuff in there. If you wanted Mawr of your of your original artwork in there, you can totally do that too. You want to zoom out, you You can do that as well. And so then you're the possibilities that you have here are just crazy. You can rotate this to get any. Does any look that you really want to? I hope that this has been fun. Hope that you've learned something and I can't wait to see what you guys do with it.