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Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

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  #11  
Old 12-01-2009, 01:47 PM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Dear markc78 and all...

I think that a lot of people really get carried away with Liquefy, when usually a little bit of Warp transform to a small section(s) would do the trick just as well (if not better, as it can be difficult to do all of your Liquefy moves in one mesh, so then you're either redoing all your Liquefy moves until you get everything right, or doing multiple Liquefy moves and saving and naming and tracking multiple meshes (more things to keep track of means more opportunities for misplacing things or being confused later on.

If you're adjusting/affecting a number of small areas you can use Warp transformations and keep each of those changes separated out by layer. Simpler, faster, no need for low-res document, etc.

If you Liquefy at the beginning, then all of your retouching of those affected areas after that could be wasted if your client doesn't like your Liquefy moves. If you do it at the end, then you can get some weird texture blurring as the mesh mashes around the pixels, so you'll likely need to do some touchup work over the Liquefied layer.

Liquefy is an incredibly powerful tool, but it's also a messy part of an otherwise non-destructive and adjustable workflow. Sure you can save the mesh so you can recreate the Liquefy if the client wants other changes below, so it's kind of repeatable. But it's nowhere near as simple as turning a layer on or off.

There are always going to be some destructive processes in doing creative work. Do you change the rotation of the person's head before or after retouching? It's the same kind of question. You have to make an educated guess as to which way is more productive and will more likely to get you where you need to go. Either way you can be wrong.

My personal workflow is to use Liquefy as little as possible and as late in the game as possible.

Hope you are doing well. Take care. Alan.
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2009, 10:48 PM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cricket1961 View Post
I prefer to do a merge up at the end of everything, dupe that layer and make a lo-res version of it. Then I do my liquify to that, save the mesh, toss the lo-res version, apply the mesh to the merged up layer. That way I can toss the liquified layer if more retouching needs to be done and apply the mesh to another merged up layer to get the same results.

Chris

Clever. I knew that mesh was good for something.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2009, 11:30 PM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Using the push left/right tool is superior for pushing in stomachs, arms, legs, jaws, and any places where you'd have to make multiple forward warp tool strokes while struggling to prevent it from getting lumpy.

I try to liquify before dodge/burn. For example, I'd liquify a womans neck and then apply the shadows highlights the new neck shape requires. I don't want the sleek shadows/highlights I've worked hard to create altered, they might not look as good. For some reason I usually end up forgetting liquify and end up doing it after dodge and burn...
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2009, 12:29 AM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

I think the general problem I have with Liquify is that it's an overall thing. If you're moving a lot of things around even subtly there's bound to be some part(s) of it that you or your client aren't going to be happy with. And then it doesn't matter if you have the mesh because it's carrying all the changes. So then you're making changes below making a new merged layer then replaying the mesh and applying a layer mask to get rid of the portions that are problematic then making a new merged layer and making a new Liquify to affect the portions that needed adjustment. Seems to me that you end up keeping track of a lot of mesh files and you get an increasingly complex stack where you can't touch anything below the liquify without having to run it all over again. Liquify certaily has its place, but I am not a big fan.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:34 AM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Alan
When you need to reapply a mesh to eliminate a portion warped, you can just load the mesh and then paint back in the original with the undo brush which allows you to incrementally bring it back. There is no need to keep multiple liquified layers as it will only lead to confusion later on. Keeping track of the differing meshes(?) is also not to bad if when you save them with the images name and add a unique name to the mesh. Its just a click of the mouse when you are saving.
I'm not a huge fan of Liquify either and will only use the tool when berated into using it.
I'm an even bigger non-fan of the warp mesh in CS4 and earlier. If it allowed for varying grids I would be a lot happier.

Snook, here is the link to my tutorial posted on my blog:
http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/blo...al-repost.html

Chris
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  #16  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:41 AM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Natalia

I used to do the liquify at the beginning also. You are spot on with the visualizing aspect.
I'd still do it that way if I hadn't been bitten by photographers adding in the liquify at some later stage so many times.
Once I figured out the way to do it at the end without ruining texture etc, it changed everything for me.

But heck, sometimes I still do it to a retouched layer in the middle of the retouch and don't save the mesh. All depends on the enormity of the liquify being done, and if there are a limited amount of masks already added to the image.

I really need to get some excitement in my life beyond the occasional unsafe warping!

Chris
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2009, 06:37 AM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cricket1961 View Post
I really need to get some excitement in my life beyond the occasional unsafe warping!


Ring someone's doorbell and run away.

/me is such a bad girl

x
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  #18  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:49 AM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

I like the idea!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Godmother View Post


Ring someone's doorbell and run away.

/me is such a bad girl

x
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  #19  
Old 12-09-2009, 12:55 PM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Thanks Chris...

I really appreciate your sharing your perspective on this (perhaps I am making the process more convoluted than it needs to be).

Perhaps it will even convince me to use Liquify more often (but I generally go there as a last resort as I'm keen on bending, stretching and warping pixels more than is necessary).

Still there are times when Liquify is clearly the way to go. I also wish there was a way to vary the grid on the Warp transform.

But I think that the original question of when to Liquify could just as easily be applied to all kinds of structural changes to an image. There's no clearcut answer, but it kind of becomes obvious when you're working on the image.

If you worry too much about when to do what, then it's hard to get anything done. There is no single infallible pathway or workflow. Everyone approaches the work somewhat differently, and everyone will gravitate to a different working method.

I think it's important to figure out what generally works best for you and what will serve the needs of a particular image. And I think that would be largely dependent on how much Liquifying you are doing to an image.

If you're making major changes in Liquify, it makes sense to do them first and get them approved before doing all the other retouching (and part of that retouching is likely going to be cleaning up after your Liquification moves). If you're only doing minor changes in Liquify, then it's probably better to do it at the end.

There will also be cases where you need to do some major Liquify moves at the beginning and some minor Liquify tweaks at the end (with a bunch of other retouching work in between).

The idea that every bit of Liquification needs to be done at one time in one layer seems unnecessarily restraining. The work on different images will evolve in different ways.

You can't just tweak and reload a mesh from the beginning if you've already done a bunch of retouching over the top of it (that affects the area(s) in question). And you can't just do it all at the end if there are major changes being made because that will change the image in unintended ways (as your sculpting with light comes into conflict with your sculpting with Liquify).

Liquify remains complicated in that you need to keep track of what you've done. It's particularly important to name your layers, name your mesh(es), and keep them together with your working PSD file so that you can remember and reliably redo what you've done when you need to.

Hope you are doing well. Take care. Alan.
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2009, 02:29 PM
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Re: Hi-End Workflow: When to LIQUIFY ?

Alan

Yes, it all does depend on the image and what needs to be done. I don't like to liquify at all which is one of the reasons that I do it at the end and on its own layer. Always easy to take it off.

Your reasoning for doing major Liquifying moves at the beginning is sound Alan. In my case I am at the whim of the Photographers who hire me. To often after doing some major liquifying at the beginning and finishing the retouching, either the photographer or his client have changed their minds about the liquify. Which rendered days worth of work useless.

Yes you are right, you can't tweak a mesh from the beginning of the retouch... some things might be affected by the re-contouring. I haven't run into anything yet by doing it at the end of some major retouching, but I'm sure its bound to happen.

I'm curious as to your reasoning that the two sculpting moves might conflict. Do you mean that there might be a chance of artifacting? or stretched pixels? True, this could easily happen when liquifying a hi-res image. But when you do it to a lo-res version the brush is so large that it moves quite easily and quickly(another reason I like to just do it all at once. Just my choice).

Once the layers are merged up its all one and the liquify happens smoothly. And if more retouching does need to be done at that late stage, its usually minor tweaks, and after throwing away the merged up layer and making a new one post retouching the mesh is easy enough to reapply.

I have one client who rarely likes the liquify HIS client wants done, and for his portfolio he wants one with none of that stuff on the image. Simple enough for me to turn off the layer and save a new tiff.

This is all good by the way. Love a good discussion so please don't feel like I am taking offense to anything you are saying.

Chris
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