How to use Liquify in Krita

You can liquify or distort an image in Krita. Liquify is usually used to enhance or decrease certain features of an image or character on the canvas.

There are two ways to use the Liquify effect in Krita. The first way is by using the transform tool, and the second way is by using the Deform brush. I will thoroughly explain both methods so you can finally learn to use the liquify tool in Krita.

The Difference:

Transform Tool gives a more complete and accurate liquifying effect.

Deform brush is faster but less accurate

How to Liquify using the Transform Tool

Step 1: Create a selection by using any selection tool (Freehand selection, Bezier curve, Polygonal selection tool etc). For example, I use Bezier curve selection on the eye part of my shark image.

Create a selection

For more information about the selection tool, check out: How to Use Lasso and Other Selection Tools in Krita

Step 2: Transform the selection by clicking the transform tool icon at the left toolbar or by pressing the Krita’s keyboard shortcut Control + T in Windows and Cmd ⌘ + T in Mac

Transform tool liquify in Krita

Step 3: Head into tool options. Click the Liquify tool icon, which has a tear-drop shape.

There are two modes of liquify available: Build up and Wash.

“Wash” mode keeps the brush effect within a range from none to the maximum set by the “Amount” option. “Build up” mode continuously increases the effect without a limit.

After choosing which modes to use, you can adjust these parameters to increase or decrease the liquify effect:

Liquify settings
  • Size: Adjust the size of the brush. A bigger brush will apply liquify effect in a bigger area. 
  • Amount: Adjust the intensity of the brush effect. The button next to this option enables the effect strength to be responsive to the pressure applied using a drawing tablet.
  • Flow: This setting is relevant only when using the “Build up” mode.
  • Spacing: Set the interval between each application of the brush effect when you drag it across the canvas.
  • Reverse: Switch the direction of the brush’s action. For example, an action that normally enlarges will shrink, and one that rotates in one direction will rotate in the opposite direction.

Step 4: Click on the canvas to apply the liquify effect on the transformed area

How to Liquify using the Deform Brush

The deform brush engine allows you to liquify an image or part of your art faster than by using the transform tool. It’s less accurate, so use it only when you want to apply a quick liquifying effect.

Deform brush liquify

Here’s what each option does:

Grow: Expand the section of the image under the brush tip.

Shrink: Compresses the section of the image under the brush tip.

Swirl Counter Clockwise: Twists the section of the image under the brush tip to the left.

Swirl Clockwise: Twists the section of the image under the brush tip to the right.

Move: Shift the section of the image in the direction you’re painting.

Color Deformation: Shuffle the colors and details in the section under the brush tip.

Lens Zoom In: Magnifies the area under the brush tip, making it appear larger.

Lens Zoom Out: Reduces the area under the brush tip, making it appear smaller.

In the default settings, there are only three brushes with the deform brush engine: Distort Grow, Distort Move, and Distor Shrink brushes.

You can add more by editing the brush setting on the currently available brushes or importing new brushes into Krita.

I will explain how to use Distort Grow, Distort Move and Distort Shrink Brushes.

Using the Distort Grow Brush

Step 1: Open your project in Krita. Click on the brush icon from the toolbar or press the ‘B’ key to access the brush tools. 

Distort grow brush Krita

Step 2: From the brush presets, scroll down and choose the Distort Grow brush to begin.

Step 3: Adjust the brush size and other properties to suit the area you want to liquify. You can change these settings by clicking the edit brush settings icon in the top toolbar or by using the brush editor (F5).

Step 4: Position the brush cursor over the area you want to expand. Click and drag the brush over the image. You’ll see the section underneath the cursor begin to grow and bulge outwards.

Using the Distort Move Brush

Step 1: Press B to open the freehand brush tool

Distort Move Brush Krita

Step 2: Select the Distort Move brush from the brush presets.

Step 3: Place the brush cursor over the part of the image you wish to move. Click and drag in the direction you want to nudge the area. The pixels will shift along with your brush stroke. 

Don’t forget to adjust the brush size and smoothing if needed.

Using the Distort Shrink Brush

Distort Shrink Brush Krita

Step 1: Click the freehand brush tool icon or press B on both Windows and Mac to open it

Step 2: Find and select the Distort Shrink brush from the list of brush presets.

Step 3: Apply the Effect. Hover the brush cursor over the section you want to reduce. Click and drag the brush across the image to compress and shrink the area under the cursor.

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Kenny HD
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

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