Liquify: The backdrop settings are preventing the preview from showing brushing changes

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  • Updated 1 month ago
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I haven't been able to figure this out and every time I find a topic asking the same thing in the Adobe forums, it's unanswered or the person ended up using something else because they couldn't figure it out.

Using Filter>Liquify, I need to be able to use the tools on the current layer while all layers are fully visible so I know the adjustments I'm making look right in the image as a whole. However, I can't find any combination of settings that allows me to do that.

When I check SHOW BACKDROP and choose Use: All Layers (which for the work I do is the only useful option) with Mode: In Front or Blend (also the only options I can use), I can't actually edit the layer I'm on because I get the error The backdrop settings are preventing the preview from showing brushing changes.

If I lower the opacity, I can make changes, but a lowered opacity means I can't see what I'm doing as well as I need to since things are semi-transparent and blending.

I feel like this should be a very basic thing. I do a lot of composites, which means having several layers I blend/mask/work with independently to create a final image, so all of the changes I make to each layer are relative to what's going on in the other ones and how the overall image looks. 

Not being able to use Liquify while viewing the image in full in that same way makes it useless, because I can't see what I'm doing in context, and workarounds like creating snapshots of the whole image to work with, then masking it off so only the part I need is visible are tedious.

I figured I'd ask here in case I'm missing a combination of settings that will allow me to work with Liquify in this way because it seems like such an obvious thing I should be able to do. If it's not possible, at least I'll know not to waste any more time trying to do it lol
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P.F. Paul

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  • confused

Posted 2 years ago

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Cj Fricke

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I hear you man, I feel the same way in other features. Wish I could help..but I am adrift in content-aware!
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Christopher Brandão

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Ok so what you do. I just had this issue but I been using photoshop for years so I knew I was able to do it before they just moved settings around. 
what you need to do is merge (temporarily) all the layers(if you have more than one layer beside the liquifying layer.  Thats important!.And then in the "show Backdrop" area, for "use", set it to that that newly created(temporarily) merged layer. then for mode set that to behind. and you can leave it on 100% opacity. I wish it would let you mulitselect some layers instead of only letting you choose all or one.

once you do that you can liquify the layer with everything else in full opacity
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Leo Sbirakos

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Thanks Christopher, this solved my issue with not being able to see the changes in the Liquify tool.
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mike reen

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Hmm, something is amiss here. I'm current;y following a tutorial by high-end retoucher Sef McCullough and he is using a series of mask guides to help liquify abutting edges of a nike shoe. He has opacity at 100% and no problem. When I copy his settings exactly  I get the same message as the OP. If I drop below 90% opacity I can see the previewed changes. What's up Adobe, have you done something to engine behind this tool. Seems silly.