How to Create a Liquid Human Figure in Photoshop

July 7, 2010 • By

This Photoshop tutorial will include the use of the 3D software – Daz3d that you can download for free at www.daz3d.com. This great easy-to-use 3d software which also has been doubles as a virtual photo studio is a 98 MB file. I opted for Daz3d because it offered to me the option to manipulate the posture of the models I used in any form. This is great if you have a limited gallery of stock images or you can’t find a model with the exact posture, lighting, body weight or skin color you looking for.

The second part of the tutorial would deal mainly with Photoshop. Here, the use of the advanced options of Curves command would be pivotal in enhancing the tonal state of our model. This means that the midtones, highlights and shadows are crucial for our project.

Step 1

Launch Daz3d and open a new document (Ctrl+N). To load the pre-installed model, Victoria 3 RR LE, head on to the Content tab. Go to Studio > People > Victoria. Below the left window pane, you see a thumbnail image of Victoria figure.

Step 2

Double-click on the thumb image of Victoria to load the model into your scene (main window). The anatomy of the model isn’t very detailed; its comparable to that of a doll and so its probably not going to set your pulse racing.

Step 3

To apply a pose preset to your figure, click the Content tab and beneath it, go to Studio > People > Victoria > Poses > Fairie and select Turning 01 by double-clicking or dragging to the scene.

Step 4

There are a couple of ways you could manipulate the posture of your figure but now will stick with the PowerPose feature for simplicity. Under the PowerPose tab, you’ll find a figure with dots at various points. These dots are used to position or ‘pose’ parts of the body to the direction desired with the use of the mouse.

Step 5

For the point at the neck, drag downwards just slightly to set the head to face downwards.

Step 6

Raise the shoulder upwards and a move it backwards a little.

Step 7

The chest should stoop forward a bit.

Step 8

The hips here were raised.

Step 9

Now to add lighting for the figure itself. Go to Studio > Lights> General and double click on General Lights 01 to apply the preset lighting effects to Victoria.

Step 10

On the left of the scene is the Rotate Camera icon along with other camera options. To adjust the light to shine down more to the front of the figure, left-click the Rotate Camera icon and with the mouse held down, rotate the camera to the desired direction. The rotation I made was only just slightly to the left-hand side.

Step 11

Before we have the scene rendered, on the menu bar, go to Render > Render Settings and click on the General tab. For the Speed option, I set the slider to its midpoint as I did put into consideration the capabilities of my ‘not-so-old’ graphics card. If you’ve got a recent or decent GPU, you could set the Speed to the maximum for better quality rendering results. When done with the Render Settings, click ‘Accept’ and then Render. From the File menu, save the rendered scene as a .png image file to your choice folder and name it “girl_model”.

Step 12

We’ll drag the “girl_model” file into Photoshop and head on to Image > Image Size and set new dimensions for the picture. The image size of “girl_model” could also have been set in Daz3d before rendering as well.

Step 13

I’ll be using the Magnetic Tool (L) because its much faster to work with and more effective on high contrast backgrounds.With the Magnetic Lasso Tool, make a selection around our ‘girl’. Right-click the selection and choose Layer Via Copy to extract the selection from its white background to a new layer. *Note: if you do have any white markings left around the figure , use the Eraser Tool (E) with a Hard Brush to clear these markings.

Step 14

Delete the “girl_model” layer from the Layers Palette and name the new layer with the girl, “model” if you wish.

Step 15

Have the model’s color desaturated (Shift+Ctrl+D). Go to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast to increase the brightness of our model.

The result:

Step 16

Reduce the “model” layer opacity to about 60% and then go to Filter >
Artistic > Plastic Warp. The PlasticWarp Parameters are shown below:

The resulting effects gives the image a more ‘fluid’ look. I also created a new layer,”background” and with the Paint Bucket Tool (G), click the empty space to apply the foreground color (#071431).

Step 17

On the Layers Palette, set the “model” layer’s Blend Mode to Pin Light. To make the figure look a lot more opaque hence, adjusting its tone, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves or alternatively, click Ctrl+M to bring up the Curves dialog box. Now bend the Curve’s diagonal line just slightly at its base or just enter the Input/Output values as shown below:

Step 18

We’re not done yet with the Curves. Click on its Options for the Auto Color Correction Options and ensure that Enhance Per Channel Contrast is selected. For the Highlights, increase Clip to 1.0%.

Here’s our image with a lot more transparency.

Step 19

Select the Dodge Tool (O) and set its brush size to between 8 px to 12 px and highlight most part of the edges and other parts of the body as shown below.

Step 20

With the Smudge Tool (R) selected, and its Strength reduced to about 70%, have the feet of our model smelted together.

Step 21

We’ll now enhance the liquid state of the watery model with the Liquify command. Go to Filter > Liquify and set the Tool Options.

Step 22

Starting off with the arms, use the Pucker Tool (S) to create little ‘waves’ or ‘protrusions’ by holding down the mouse and dragging. After wards, use the Bloat Tool (B) with a reduced brush size and increased Pressure of about 65% for more sensitive. The aim of this is to reduce the protrusions made by the Pucker Tool into dispersed droplets.

Step 23

Still maintaining a relatively high Brush Pressure for the Bloat Tool and a smaller Brush size of 8, proceed to virtually disintegrate small parts of the left arm into liquid forms.

Step 24

For the feet, use varying Brush Pressure and Sizes.

You’ll get an appreciable ‘wet’ result.

Step 25

I found some areas a little too whitish or bland and so I used the Burn Tool on choice areas I was dissatisfied with. The purpose was to maintain a shiny look for the figure.

Step 26

The effects previously applied on the model with the Liquify command look a little too matte and so, we use the Marquee Tool (M) to select these areas one at a time. When the selection is made, go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen to make the watery waves so to speak, look more crisp by sharpening twice. The Sharpen Tool (R) could have been used here but I wanted to see the results on a level-by-level basis.

Step 27

Create a new layer and name it “splashes” for the water brushes we’ll be employing. This set of water brushes that can be downloaded from its creator – Redheadstock for free at redheadstock.deviantart.com. With the Brush Tool selected, choose the Water Brush (splash 1) and change its color to #dbdcde and paint around the model’s feet. Switch the color to a white one and paint over the first splash.

Step 28

Use other water brushes out and about the figure. For instance ‘splash 3’ and ‘splash 6’ were used to create trails of droplets. Also for the tip of the splashes, reduce the brush opacity for a faded dispersal of water. Though I at point, I would have ended the tutorial right here but the show must go on as we explore other techniques to apply to the figure.

Step 29

For the “background” layer, apply a Gradient Overlay Layer style to it with the parameters below:

Step 30

Select a Soft Round Brush with its color – #eaebed; size – 25 px; opacity – 75%. Then go to Brushes Palette and select Scattering. Increase the Scatter Randomness by 190% and set Count to 2.

Step 31

With a new layer named “motion” created, paint three short brush strokes as depicted below:

Step 32

Head on to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set the blur Distance to 692 pixels. You may have to readjust the Blur Distance if the final effects overlaps the right-hand side of the model.

This tutorial for now ends here! There’s so much more one could with this image. These are just the basics.

Here’s a variation of the image with a black background. This brings out the image a lot more

By David Ella Ella

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