Photoshop CC 2015 Update Raises Liquify Rendering Problem

Photoshop CC 2015 Liquify Ligthen rendering issue

Adobe just updated a couple of their CC applications, one of which being Photoshop. Amongst the new features, it was almost inevitable that a few bugs would show up. One that can be quite annoying is the liquify tool lighting or rendering problem. But there is a quick and easy workaround.

For once in my life, I decided not to wait and upgrade Photoshop right away when the new version came out. As I still have CC 2014 installed alongside CC 2015, I figured if anything went wrong I could still use the older version. Well, working with the latest version, it took me only a couple of minutes to find a quite annoying bug. I opened up a picture, used the liquify tool, clicked OK and… wait for it:

After trying a couple of files, restarting Photoshop and my computer, I tried the same thing in CC 2014 with no issue. I finally worked on an 8-bit file, and there was no problem. So from my understanding only 16-bit pictures are affected by the problem. Any area that is altered using the liquify tool will get a rendering close to the one seen when switching the blending mode of a layer do "Linear Dodge (Add)".

As you can understand, one solution is to give up on 16-bit files until Adobe comes up with an update that corrects the issue. But for professionals that need high-quality print files, this isn't a viable option.

Another workaround I found on is to press alt when clicking on the liquify filter in the filter menu. It disables the GPU acceleration. Meaning it will slow down the performances when using the liquify tool. However, you can always use the liquify tool with the GPU activated, hit OK, and then press cmd or ctrl + z to go back on step, reopen the liquify tool with the GPU acceleration disabled. Once the liquify tool is reopened, click "Load last mesh" and hit OK.

Unfortunately, pressing alt on Windows closes down the menu. So it seems like Windows users are left with the choice of either working on 8-bit files or disabling the GPU acceleration altogether in Photoshop preferences.

Not very practical workarounds, but they'll do the trick while Adobe is working on a fix. Let's hope it won't take weeks before this gets corrected.

When Photoshop CC 2015 was announced, many developers wondered what was going on with Adobe Extension Manager not working with their extensions. Then when the recent Lightroom update was made available to everyone, many glitches appeared, some of which turned out to be quite bothering for users (import module for example). It makes one wonder if Adobe is taking its users for beta testers. Adobe if you are reading this, please send some people beta versions before making your updates public. Don't come and tell me no one at Adobe tried the liquify tool on a 16-bit file before yesterday's update was made available to everyone.

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Manny Torres's picture

Adobe kills me with this crap! Don't they test this stuff before they hit the market? It's always Disable GPU to fix....grrrr

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

I will preface this by saying, that I love Adobe & what they are doing with the Creative Cloud.

That said, I've had my share of Photoshop bugs as well through various versions of Photoshop CC. A lot of times when I use Adjustment Layers, I'm unable to use the corresponding info panel in order to make any adjustments. Photoshop simply won't open the panel, so I have quit Photoshop CC and start it up again. Very irritating.

In an older version of Photoshop CC I had issues with the healing brush, which I use a lot. It would leave little white artifacts that were visible on my images. The healing brush was unusable. So I had to use the clone stamp tool in place of it.

I'm using a mac, not sure if any windows users have had these issues as well. I love the new Photoshop CC features, but good god, it would be nice if existing features were still in good working order before releasing new software.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

I know what you mean about the healing brush… it actually still happened to me in the previous version. I haven't had a chance to give it a try with the current update/version. But from what I hear, they are still working on a fix, it hasn't been fully changed back to what it used to be/how it used to work.

Nick West's picture

I spotted the new update and couldn't believe that the legacy brush still wasn't an option from within the Photoshop UI, Adobe promised this months ago in their forums yet users are still expected to use some workaround script/hack in order to get back to the brush we all know and love. And now this!

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Apparently the so called promised Adobe made took the form of a diffusion slider. I'll give it a try when I have time to experiment. For now I'm sticking to the hack script thing… which has changed with this update, because otherwise it'd be just too easy, right? :)

Nick West's picture

Yeah, ha! I've tried it, I can see it becoming useful under some circumstances but it still isn't right, and I really don't want to have to start worrying about what my 'diffusion level' is set to every time I heal.

I posted this liquify issue over on Adobe's forums and pointed to this article, everyone should head over there an 'me too' the problem:

Thanks for the information Quentin, such a stupid bug... For a fix on a 16-bit image that has already been edited (if a lot of time has gone into it):

1. Undo the edit when it applies the filter incorrectly.
2. Turn off the graphics acceleration from the preferences menu.
3. Apply the liquify filter from the top of the filter drop down menu.
4. Turn the graphics acceleration back on. Because why the heck wouldn't you...

They should really let users know about issues like this. I wasted a file that I put a lot of time into.

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

Just went to use the Liquify Filter in the latest version of Photoshop CC 2015. I was retouching a commercial portrait for a client and had the same experience with the Liquify Filter. Sucks. A feature that has been around that long shouldn't have this issue

Leigh Miller's picture

Thanks for this...Adobe definitely has to get their act together. Releasing software after software with bugs is a sign of sloppiness. Then the nerve to withdraw monthly payments from subscribers...

More steady income and less dev. time and attention to detail.

It's almost as if they're only out for profit!!! /s

Spy Black's picture

When you run a professional monopoly you can do whatever you want. It's only when there's a GIANT outcry (like there was with LR recently) that Adobe will say "what? Oh, well, Ok..." and actually do something about it.

John Sammonds's picture

It would be nice if Adobe stopped changing things its a work tool and changes cost time and money. slow down get it right and lets earn our living without Adobe messing things up

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Changing things to make them better would be fine. The problem is they change things by either removing useful features (i.e. Lightroom), breaking things that work without testing them (i.e. Photoshop) or creating useless new stuff (i.e. iPad apps).
I really wonder who tests and approves the updates…

Spy Black's picture

"For once in my life, I decided not to wait and upgrade..."

Adobe would like to thank you for being their alpha tester...

Quentin Decaillet's picture

You made my day :) Adobe is definitely getting more and more pros angry lately… hopefully CC2020 will be release candidate material and by CC2025 we'll have a fully working software. That is if they stop breaking things that work! :P

Jason Ranalli's picture

It is highly likely that you will see much more of this from Adobe. I have many years of software experience and when an entity moves to a highly iterative model of deployment there is very little pressure for them to get things right.

Nick West's picture

This blows my mind. Every time. This is going to be the healing brush issue (still ongoing) all over again.
Will we ever get a stable version beyond CC 2014? The most frustrating thing about this is knowing what a nightmare it is communicating with Adobe. Their forums are a truly horrible experience.

olivier borgognon's picture

Nice tweak.

Adobe is taking people for alpha testers, not even beta with this kind of issue. This is seriously unacceptable, like their LRimport or the constabt crashes. They are making more cash than ever before and treating their clients with total disrespect because they have no serious competition. It would be the perfect time for a team of developers to come up with a suite now.

Mark Colangelo's picture

I think a reading of this link could be of some help for the Adobe Management Team:

I've about had it with Adobe. For a while there everything was peachy, but CC came along and quickly took a dive. Now LR takes about five minutes to initiate, another five to import images, and forget about getting any real work done. And PS "forgets" my keyboard shortcuts unless I Alt+Tab out of the program every few minutes and come back in. I've always been loyal to Adobe, but C1 is looking pretty good right now.

Just upgraded to 2015 CC, Now can't adjust brush softness by right-click. Anyone has same issue?

What's hilarious to me is that even the workaround of not using the GPU does not work either!

.....Masking in the liquify module without the GPU crashes photoshop entirely.....and thats a clean install on a fully specced out 2015 Macbook Pro

Yep, same here. I was happy about the workaround and it worked if I only moved some parts a bit. But it crashes completely if I draw a mask (at the end of the stroke). I don't call me a power user and if I run into so many problems with the latest versions of Adobe software I don't want to think about what professionals are experiencing right now. I hope there is going to be a stable version without too many bugs soon - and I will stick to it as long as I can. (The other thing that drives me crazy is the Nikon-tethering problem in Lightroom. At least I have a workaround with Capture One...)

There is a Windows solution to using the ALT key. Try this: click on the Filter menu to drop the menu down and then left-click on Liquify BUT hold the left mouse button down - then press ALT - then let up on the mouse button. Liquify will start without the GPU - you'll notice it's much slower.

had a similar problem when I tried to put an ACR Filter on a "smartobjected" layer and tried to to keystone correct a building. Works fine in 8bit but NOT in 16bit.

Maybe there is a connection between these issues. Or they are using the same software engine.

You can press Alt to open the tool in Windows but you have to have it pressed before you put the cursor over the menu.

I think the best solution is to roll back to the previous release of Photoshop instead of deactivating graphics acceleration or converting to 8 bits.

It is not very clear from the CC app how to roll back but I actually made a little entry in my blog after contacting adobe for support on how to.

What I think Adobe should implement after the last two update debacles (lightroom import and now liquify) is an option inside the CC app to skip one update of an app. That way you would be notified of the fix being released instead of having a permanent "app update available" in the CC.

I've been running CC2015.01 on a PC and haven't seen this issue. As far as the issue with the healing brush artifacts, the workaround I use is to create a new layer and use it for the results then merge that new layer into whatever target layer I had intended to use.

Breaking news: photographers and retouchers worldwide unable to work because liquify is broken.

You know what? This industry is broken.

Dennis Qualls's picture

Interesting that you learned to hit the alt button to disable the GPU. Do you know if that works to disable the GPU on add-ones like Nik? I'm constantly experiencing a full system crash when I use "Dfine". I've even had the GPU replaced/upgraded only to encounter this again.

I know you mentioned in the article that developers have had issues with extension managers. Not sure if the two are connected.

Dennis Qualls's picture

I got up and turned my iMac on to try holding the alt when the file renders after using Dfine. IT WORKED!!!
Thank you for this article!!!

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