How To Use The New Face Aware Liquify Feature Of Photoshop CC 2015

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How To Use The New Face Aware Liquify Feature Of Photoshop CC 2015

Before and After results of the Face Aware Liquify tool.
The new Face Aware Liquify feature of Photoshop CC 2015 puts precision facial retouching in your hands.

Before we get started I have to warn you the amount of fun you can have with this new feature should be illegal. Having said that, never ,for a moment, forget that you are dealing with real people here and if your intention is to hold them out to ridicule then I would respectfully request you head over to another tutorial.

With that disclaimer out of the way, the introduction of the ability to “tweak” faces in the June ,2016 Photoshop update is a rather powerful addition to the Photoshop feature line up. If there was one common topic discussed throughout the Photoshop community it was how difficult it was to make minor modifications to the faces of subjects in their images. For example it could be someone wondering how to adjust a person’s eyes without making the subject look like a an elf from Lord Of The Rings or to make the subject’s nose a little thinner.

Face Aware Liquify will put an end to those discussions.

When you open this feature, Photoshop instantly recognizes any faces in the image and a powerful set of tools for adjusting Eyes, Face Shape, Nose and Mouth is put at your disposal. In fact, if you really like the result and want to use it on subsequent images, you can save the changes as a mesh and apply them at the click of a mouse.

Let’s get started.

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Overview of the Face Aware Liquify Tools In Photoshop CC 2015

The Face Aware Liquify dialog box is shown.
An extensive set of controls allow you to make subtle edits to a subject's facial features.

To start you need to open an image containing a face. From there you select Filters> Liquify. The Liquify filter opens and the face is recognized.  Photoshop gives you two clues this has happened. The first is the recognized face is “bracketed”. The second clue is the Face Tool on the left Toolbar is selected.

On the right is a pretty comprehensive set of Properties that adjust specific areas of the face. They are:

  • Select Face: Use this pop down to select a particular face in an image containing more than two faces.
  • Eyes: There are five sliders here that control Eye Size, Height, Width, Tilt and Distance. You can also “do it by the numbers” but, until you become a bit more proficient with the tool, I would hold off on this approach.
  • Nose: There are two sliders that control the Height and Width of the nose.
  • Mouth: These five sliders add a smile, adjust the upper and lower lips, the width of the mouth and the mouth height.
  • Face Shape: The sliders control the size of the forehead, the height of the chin, the shape of the jawline and the width of the face.

There are a couple of “gotchas” here that you need to know. The first is this feature is best applied to faces that are facing the camera. The second is any changes applied through this filter are done symmetrically. You can’t, for example, give the subject one big eye and one small eye.

If you prefer to use a mouse or pen on the image, simply click or tap on a facial feature and a series of dots relating to the controls will appear. From there you can simply drag the dot until you achieve a satisfactory result.

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How To Create A Face Aware Liquify Preset In Photoshop CC 2015

The image shows the Face Aware Liguify dialog box and the image mesh applied.
Save your settings as a mesh and apply them to any image.

In the above image I decided the subject’s face was a bit too wide and his rugged look needed to be a bit kinder and gentler. I opened the Liquify filter and used these settings:

  • Eye Size: 84
  • Eye height: - 81
  • Eye width: 18
  • Eye Tilt: 43
  • Eye Distance: -72
  • Nose height: -53
  • Nose Width: 4
  • Smile: 70
  • Upper Lip: -23
  • Lower Lip: -76
  • Mouth Width: - 53
  • Mouth Height: 79
  • Forehead: 50
  • Chin Height: -87
  • Jawline: -100
  • Face Width: -15

I really liked the result but dreaded opening another image and entering the numbers. This is now a non-issue. If you twirl down the Load Mesh Options, you can save the settings by clicking the Save Mesh… button.

Essentially, a mesh is a grid that determines pixel displacement. To see the mesh twirl down the View Options and select Show Mesh and deselect Show Image. You are looking at a graph and, if you have made changes to the image you will see areas where the mesh has been distorted. These are the result of the values applied to the Face Aware Liquify sliders.

When you click the Save Mesh … button Photoshop creates a mesh file – it has a .msh extension- and the Save dialog box asks you where you would like to save the file.

To apply the mesh to another image, open the image and apply the Liquify filter. Then you simply select Load Mesh … in the Load Mesh Options, locate the .msh file and click the Open button in the dialog box. The face will change to the options created in the mesh.