after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Liquify Effect

Kara Sloane
|3 min read
Written by Kara Sloane


In today's tutorial, Kara Sloane offers a glimpse into the exciting world of After Effects by demonstrating the effective use of the liquify tool—a versatile effect that employs computational algorithms to simulate the dynamics of fluids, allowing users to morph and transform objects seamlessly.

1. Accessing the Liquify Tool:

Begin by navigating to the tool within After Effects.

  • Start by going to the Effect menu.
  • From there, move to the Distort category and select Liquify.
  • Initially, leave the settings in their default state. This allows for better control when starting out.

2. The Science Behind Liquify:

Understanding how the liquify tool works on a technical level can enhance its practical use.

  • The liquify effect, at its core, is a computational algorithm designed to simulate fluid dynamics.
    • When you apply the tool to an object, it’s as if you're introducing a force or disturbance, akin to dragging a finger through still water.
    • The mathematical algorithms running behind the scenes interpret these user inputs and calculate how pixels should be displaced to achieve the effect.
    • Just as fluids have viscosity or resistance to flow, the liquify tool allows for control over the flow, giving the illusion of different fluid consistencies.

3. Initial Stretching:

Manipulate your chosen object for the desired effect.

  • Identify the brush tool at the top. It's a powerful feature that lets you define how the liquify effect is applied.
    • While there's flexibility to change the brush size based on your needs, sticking to the default size can be effective for beginners.
  • To begin the liquify process, simply click and drag on the object in the direction you desire.
    • This tool works wonders on a variety of objects—text, images, and more.
    • Its dynamic nature is especially great for simulating natural effects like drips, making objects appear as if they're melting or stretching.

4. Refining the Effect:

Further adjustments can refine the effect to make it more precise.

  • Continue to click and drag until you achieve the desired look. Remember, less is often more; don't over-stretch.
  • If you wish to revert or adjust the effect, navigate back to the tool's settings to reset or fine-tune your alterations.

5. Review and Finalize:

Always ensure the effect fits seamlessly within your project.

  • Before finalizing, take a moment to preview your changes. Given the demanding nature of After Effects, patience is key, especially on slower systems.
    • Kara notes: "My computer's really slow, but it provides a rough idea of the outcome."
  • If layering, you can overlay the liquified object with others, ensuring alignment and cohesion within your composition.

With a blend of science and artistry, the liquify effect becomes a dynamic addition to any After Effects project. While the tutorial faced minor technical delays, the core knowledge stands: understanding the principles behind this tool can lead to more refined and captivating visual experiences.


motion design
after effects

Support Us

If this project file helped you at all, feel free to give us a tip.