Add a surreal twist to nature
Use the Liquify filter in Photoshop to transform a plain flower photo
The Liquify filter in Photoshop CC offers a vast array of uses, from subtly altering facial features to dramatically resculpting body shapes. It works by distorting the shape of the pixels in the image, expanding or squeezing their proportions in any direction to bring about the desired effect. But although it’s used in a serious way to create an illusion of perfection on a cover model or a fashion advert, it also has lots of scope as a surrealist’s tool for those who want to create a different spin on backyard floral shots. Here we’ll turn a humble daisy into a spikey-petaled, alien species…
Once I’d opened the daisy pic, I made a ‘belt and braces’ copy layer with Ctrl/Cmd+J. With the Quick Selection tool, I selected the flower head and petals, then placed these on a new layer – again with Ctrl/ Cmd+J. With this layer active, I opened Liquify… from the Filter menu, and used the Forward Warp tool with a medium-size brush to drag out and reshape the tips of the petals. Once this was done, and the petals had turned into thin tendrils, I clicked OK to apply and exit the Liquify command, so I could see how the new flower head looked in place on the stem. 1
Some of the new tips of the petals required a little blur to look realistic, so I selected the Lasso tool and set the Feather Radius in the Options bar to 40px. (This saves time by automatically softening the edge of the selection.) I drew roughly around each petal tip, leaving plenty of room around it, then went to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, applying the right amount for a natural looking effect.
To add texture to the in-focus petal tips, I locked the transparent pixels on the top layer to avoid anything spilling over the edge, and cloned some texture from the petals to the tips with the Clone Stamp tool.
I clicked the top layer and pressed Ctrl/Cmd+Alt +Shift+E to merge everything into a new layer. I then opened the Camera Raw Filter and darkened the edges using Post Crop Vignetting in the FX tab.