SigTutorials > Photoshop Signature Tutorials > Beginner Signature Tutorials > Create flow using the liquify tool

Create flow using the liquify tool

Posted on May 17th, 2009. Written by JaspervD.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a nice flow in your signature using the liquify tool and some other cool techniques.

At the end of this tutorial you will be able to:

  • Blend your render using smudging
  • Use the wave filter to create your background
  • Use the liquify tool to enhance flow
  • Use gradient maps to color your signature
  • Add some nice effects to improve the flow.

We will be creating the following signature:


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It is fully labeled, this way you can exactly see what I did when creating the signature, even steps that I didn’t explain in the tutorial.

Never again you will get stuck because you don’t understand something in the tutorial, just take a look inside the .psd file and boost your signature making skills with new technique’s and ideas!

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Finding a nice render

Before we start you will need a render that has some sort of action going on in it. For example someone shooting.

Here are some great renders you can use:


As always save the .png file localy before you open it in photoshop to preserver transparency!

Creating the background.

Lets get started by opening a new document in photoshop, I choose  380px  x 150px.

Now add your render, but don't resize it yet, we will be using the render to create our background.


As you can see the render doesn't fill the entire background, to solve this go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and move the duplicate so it fills your entire canvas.

Now select both layers using ctrl and go to Layer > Merge Layers


Now go to Filter > Disort > Wave and use the default settings,  just play around untill you got something you are happy with.


Now our background is finished, thats all easy isn't it.

Adding the render

Time to add our render into our scene. So add it again on a new layer and resize it so the most important parts of the render are visible.

I often see people making the render really small so the entire render fits the signature, don't do this you only want the most interesting parts to be visible.

For example in the render I used the most important parts are the face and the gun, so thats the parts I want to be visible.


Time to blend our render with the background so it doesn't stand out that much from the background. To do this I choose to slightly smudge the sides of the render, if you don't know how to smudge I suggest you to read one of the many smudge tutorials!

With the following smudge settings my blended render looks like this:


Adding a Light source

Time to add a source of light in our signature, by looking at the shadows and highlights on the render I determined that the light was coming from the left, near the gun.

To add the light I selected my brush tool, and with a 300px white soft round brush I brushed once to create the light.

Re colouring the signature

I did not really like the colors of my signature, so time to change this!

What I like to do is first make the signature black and white, after which I can determine what colors look good.

There are many ways to make your signature black and white, I simply used a gradient map (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map) and I picked the black to white gradient.



To add some color to the signature I again used a gradient map. This time I just tried all the different gradient maps untill I found one that looked nice.


Creating flow

Nowadays everyone is talking about flow and depth. Why? Simply because once you have mastered these your signatures look 10 times better!

Its hard to give a real definition of what flow really is.  If you want to read a great tutorial on flow, check out this great tutorial by glassbitch on the sigtutorials forums.

I will now show you 2 techniques to create some good "flow" in your signatures.

This is the flow I want to create in this signature:


The Liquify Tool

Create a new layer and go to Image > Apply Image, now with this layer selected open the Liquify Menu (Filter > Liquify) and select the Forward Warp Tool (W) I used a size of around 50-100px.


Now take any parts in your background that don't flow well with the rest of the signature and using the warp tool, manipulate them so they flow well with the rest of the signature.


Here is my result after this step:


Brush Tool effects.

Lets add some cool effects to the signature. Open the brush tool (B) and select a soft round brush with a diameter of 6px. Use the same color as your light source. (so for me its yellow/white).

Now open our brush tool manager (F5) and select the following settings:



Now brush to add a nice effect to your signature, after some brushing my signature looked like this:


I used the Eraser tool to delete some of the brushing I didn't like. I also turned the opacity of the effect layer down to 50%

Finishing the signature

Now its time to add the border and some text.

For the border I used the Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection (on an empty layer) at the top of the signature. I used the paint bucket tool (G) to fill this selection with black.  Now simply duplicate this layer and move it to the bottom and your border is done!

Now its time to add some text, I used a font from the blade runner movie and using the marquee tool added some bars next to the text to make it look more interesting.

Make sure you place your text close to your render, and have the text color match the rest of your signature!

My Final result looks like this:


What you learned

In this tutorial you learned how to create a background using the wrap tool, how to color your signature and most importantly how to create some nice flow!

Now its time to practice your just learned skills, don't just copy this tutorial, but mix it with other techniques you already know!

I can't wait to see your results, so feel free to show it in the comments below!

171 Responses »

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  5. Great tutorial!

    How mine turned out:

  6. My signature with this tutorial! 🙂

  7. My outcome, great tutorial, thanks for it. 🙂

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