Reconstructing and reverting

In the Reconstruction section of the Liquify window, you see a Mode pop-up menu plus two buttons, Reconstruct and Revert. You can use these options not only to revert an image to the way it looked before you applied a distortion, but also to redo a distortion so that it affects the image differently.

The following list outlines reversion possibilities:

♦ To undo your last drag, just press Ctrl+Z, as always. Press again to undo the undo.

♦ To return everything back to the way it was when you first opened the Liquify window, Alt-click the Cancel button, which turns into the Reset button, and then Alt-click the button. Again, everything works as usual.

♦ To revert unfrozen areas to their original appearance, choose Revert from the Mode menu and then click Revert. Alternatively, drag over the areas you want to revert with the reconstruct tool, labeled in Figure 11-42. As is the case when you work with the freeze and thaw tools, the Brush Pressure setting determines the impact of the tool.

Tip If you press Escape while a reversion is in progress, Photoshop stops in its tracks. This technique enables you to use the Revert button to reverse some, but not all, distortions that you applied to unfrozen areas.

Now for reconstruction techniques, which are considerably more complex than the reversion techniques. By selecting one of the following options from the Mode menu and then clicking the Reconstruct button or dragging with the reconstruct tool, you can reconstruct a distortion so that it extends from a frozen area into neighboring unfrozen pixels. The Reconstruct button affects all unfrozen areas, but dragging with the tool alters only pixels under your cursor, subject to the limits of the Brush Pressure setting.

Tip All the reconstruction modes calculate the change to the image based on the warp mesh (grid). To get a better feel for how each mode works, deselect the Show Image * check box, turn on Show Mesh, and then apply a simple distortion across a portion of the grid. Freeze part of the distorted region and then keep an eye on the grid lines at the intersections between frozen and unfrozen regions as you try out each of the modes:

♦ Rigid extends the distortion only as needed to maintain right angles in the mesh where frozen and unfrozen areas collide. Any unaffected unfrozen areas revert to their original appearance. The result is unfrozen areas that look almost but not exactly as they did originally.

♦ Stiff interpolates the distortion so that the effect lessens as you move farther from the boundary between the frozen and unfrozen areas.

♦ Smooth and Loose both extend the distortion from the frozen areas fully into the unfrozen areas. With Loose, you get a little more continuity in the distortion between the frozen and unfrozen regions.

♦ Displace, Amplitwist, and Affine work only with the reconstruct tool. Using these modes, you can apply one or more distortions that are in force at a specific reference point in the image. Click to set the reference point and then drag through unfrozen areas to distort them. Use the Displace mode to move pixels to match the displacement of the reference point; select Amplitwist to match the displacement, rotation, and scaling at the reference point; and choose Affine to match all distortions at the reference point.

Although Liquify certainly gives you plenty of ways to reconstruct distortions, predicting the outcome of your drags with the reconstruct tool can be difficult. So if you don't get the results you want after your first few tries, you may find it just as easy to revert the whole image and start from scratch.

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