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Using simple layers in your favorite paint program, add ripples and warps to your image to create fantasy and sci-fi special effects. This tutorial is written for Paint Shop Pro 7, but Photoshop has similar capabilities. This final image below was created using Stephanie Petite, The Dress, and Dark Wall from DAZ.
Before you start, turn the image into a layer. (Layers / Promote to layer)
Duplicate this layer (Layers / Duplicate) and rename the new layer “ripple”. Naming your layers avoids confusion later.
Select the circle selection tool with a high feather value (I'm using 30). A high value means that the ripple will blend nicely into the image.
Outline the circle of the ripple, as above.
Open the ripple dialog box (Effects / Geometric Effects / Ripple) and set your parameters (see above). A fairly low amplitude and wavelength are suitable for my image because the entire ripple area is quite small.
When you're happy, click OK, then right-click to deselect the outline.
Lower the transparency of the “ripple” layer so you can see the hand underneath. The aim is to remove the distorted hand so the clean hand underneath shows through - so that the hand appears to be on top of the ripple, rather than part of the ripple.
Using the lasso tool with a feather of 3, outline the hand and other areas that are distorted by the ripple. Hit the delete key to remove the selection. The unchanged layer underneath now shows through.
Right-click to deselect the area.
Adjust the transparency of the ripple layer until you're happy with the effect.
Layers / Merge All to flatten the image.
Another example is shown below. Here I've put a “warp” effect on the tentacles (Effects / Geometric Effects / Warp) to make it look like the creature is “warping” into realspace and thus distorting the corner of the room.
The warp effect distorted the girl so I had to cut around her after applying the effect to the top layer. It's usually a good idea to reduce the transparency of the top layer with the effect (here it's at 50%), with the clean layer underneath showing through, so that the distorted area is still recognizable.
“ALL CLEAR ON SUB-LEVEL B”