How to use the powerful liquify persona features of Affinity Photo with brush tools ? Sadly, these are not the standard strokes but they are still a great set of tools that be used and a panel that can be used to modify the size, hardness, opacity and speed etc and you can use them for turbalance, twirl, push pixels, pinch and punch effects and more.
The key thing is to select a pixel layer (though some other layer types are allowed) and then enter the persona via the top left buttons
Once in there you see you now have a different set of tools as well as panels (there is a brushes panel but it is not the same as the usual one). You can use them to distort the mesh and the underlying image as well.
You even have a cloning tool that works as usual where you can define a clone point and then take the mesh from there to another location and that will then distort the design in that location.
You have a number of tools in the panel such as the push forward (probably the most useful), push left, twirl, pinch, punch, etc. Some of the tools are basically the same thing but just in a different direction and you can modify their use by the alt / option key and shift key. reconstruct to reduce them locally though you can also use the reconstruct mesh slider in the panel to change it for the whole design,. Once you are apply with your applied modifications then you can click apply. This is a destructive effect.
You can also fade it, go to the layer menu and use the fade command and you can change how the image and effect blend by using the blending modes such as darken, multiply, overlay etc as well as overall fade.
You are back in the standard pixels. You can also go to the filter menu and re-apply the effect multiple times.
Everything described above is a destructive effect but luckily there is also a live filter layer version and that is non destructive. It is applied just as a live layer connected to any existing layer. It can be duplicated, it can be edited as any live effect. The same options for the tool are also available as a live filter layer via the layer menu and the distort section. You can use them to create all kinds of beautiful warped designs