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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


When you feel that enough interesting shapes or visual ideas have been provided with the Liquify techniques, work on the image in Photoshop's standard environment, where every feature and command is available. Some of the directions you might consider at this point include the following:

  • Exploring variations

  • Zoom-and-crop simplification

We'll combine both choices. The image at this stage is an especially good source for a series of layered variations that require little more than changing Blending modes.

  1. Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool and set the Style to Fixed Aspect Ratio. Enter 1 into the Width and Height fields. Your rectangular selections will be constrained to perfect squares of any size.

  2. Constraining the aspect ratio of your rectangle enables you to use the zoom-and-crop maneuver without distorting your layers in later steps.

  3. Zoom in on the image until only a small area fills your screen. If you're working with the 4.5-inch square at 300 ppi used here, 200% magnification is ideal.

  4. Figure 6.22. Zoom in on a small area of the image.

  5. Use the Hand tool to scroll freely around the image. When you find a composition you like, make a square selection and copy and paste it to a new file. Make three such image fragments.

  6. Figure 6.23. Make square selections of three image fragments.

    Okay—so it's zoom-and-copy-and-paste, but zoom-and-crop sounds better.

  7. Resize all three images to the same pixel dimensions. Combine them into one layered image that is wide enough to enable the layers to be side by side with some white space between them.

  8. Figure 6.24. Make a triptych of the image elements.

    You have just made a triptych. The three elements should make an effective combination because they are fragments of the same liquid painting. This can be the end of the project, or you can explore additional ways to combine the three elements.

  9. Ctrl-click/Cmd-click one of the layers. Ctrl+J/Cmd+J to make another layer via copy.

  10. Position this new copy exactly over one of the other two layers. Use the Shift key to constrain movement to the horizontal.

  11. Change the Blending mode. Some modes are likely to be too harsh, unless you reduce the opacity of the layer.

  12. Figure 6.25. Explore several combinations of Blending mode and opacity.

    Shown from left to right:

    • Top layer: Linear light at 42% opacity

    • Middle layer: Difference at 100%

    • Top layer: Luminosity at 100%

    • Middle layer: Linear light at 75%

    • Top layer: Soft Light at 100%

    • Middle layer: Hard Light 60%

  13. Make a triple stack of layers so that all combinations are possible.

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