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I've been trying to use the Liquify Persona for some editing, and finding that it's... not great. It seems to only work on the original image, and not at all with images that I've done some color balancing to. That seems broken -- shouldn't I be able to go back to the original pixel layer and use Liquify on that? On one image I used patch to clean up some blemishes, and then merged the patch layer and the original, then tried Liquify... it wouldn't affect the image in any way. I can see the mesh deformation, but the image remains unaffected.

Is it really a one-shot deal? Once you apply, it's baked into the image? That makes for a pretty dreadful workflow.

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Once you have applied changes done to a layer with the Liquify Persona those changes are baked into that layer.
If you want to apply some colour adjustments you can add an Adjustment layer above the layer you are manipulating and the colour adjustment will stay ‘live’.
If you want to keep the original layer then you can duplicate it and hide the duplicate to go back to later if needed.
If the Liquify Persona doesn’t seem to be doing anything them you might have the wrong layer selected when you enter that Persona.
If this doesn’t make sense within your workflow then you may need to give us a more-detailed list of the order in which you want to do things so we can see if it’s possible and/or advise further.

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When I tried to use the Liquify Persona and nothing happened, my first thought was that I must have had the wrong layer selected, so I double checked. Even when I disabled the layers above the original, liquify did nothing to the image. With mesh warp I could see the MESH warp, but it didn't affect the image... and I don't know why.

I've only ever successfully gotten the Liquify persona to actually modify the image when it's the first thing I do after loading the image, and that combined with the fact that it's a one-shot deal, meaning that there's no possibility of tweaking it after applying it, basically means that you load an image, liquify it, then do your retouching... and if as you go you start realizing that you need to fine tune your liquify stage, you're out of luck; the only option apparently is to start over from scratch.

 

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Would it be possible for you to give us a full-screen screenshot which also shows your Layers Panel with the ‘problem’ layer selected while you are in the Liquify Persona.
Or, even better, would you be able to supply a video showing us what you are doing?
Trying to diagnose visual things like this is difficult without seeing what is on your screen.

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