Use Adobe Photoshop to add realistic snow effect to your pictures. Even if picture is taken in summer
Original photo. Northern Finland, not far from the polar circle:
Let's try to add little snow to it.
Step 1. Duplicate background.
As usual, begin with pressing Ctrl-J to duplicate "Background" layer. That will let you have a "backup" of the original image if something goes wrong.
Step 2. Create "Snow" layer filled with white.
Press Ctrl-Shift-N to create new layer. Give it a name "Snow".
Press Shift-F5 to fill new layer with white.
Step 3. Fill "Snow" layer with noise.
Select Filter - Noise - Add Noise.
Set Noise Amount to 100-150%, Gaussian distribution, Monochromatic NOT checked.
Step 4. Increase noise size.
Press Ctrl-A to Select All, then Ctrl-T to Transform.
Use numeric input in the upper part of the window, set vertical and horizontal scale to 150-200%.
Step 5. Set blending mode of "Snow" layer to "Screen".
Step 6. Convert noise to snow.
Use Image - Adjustments - Threshold. Set Threshold amount to 200-240, depending on how much snow you want.
Select Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur. Set Radius to 0,5 - 1 pixels. Do not blur snow too much at this step.
My values are: Threshold - 243, Gaussian blur - 0,6 pixels.
Step 7. Make snow fall.
Select Filter - Blur - Motion Blur. Set Distance to 8-12 pixels and try various directions.
Step 8. Ideas for further adjustments.
Image after some editing:
- Create "Snow - 2" layer for small-sized snow using technique explained above, but do not increase noise size (as in Step 4) and set Threshold to 230-240 to have little amount of snow.
- Try to set opacity of "Snow" and "Snow - 2" layers to 60-80%.
- Make some areas less "snowy". There are two ways to do that, "simple" and "advanced". Simple way is to use Eraser tool in Brush mode with opacity set to 20-30% and remove snow from areas where it is unwanted.
Advanced way is using layer mask; it's non-destructive as you do not delete anything but simply hide it. Select
Layer - Layer Mask - Reveal All, then take large soft brush, set brush opacity to 20-30%, press D to set foreground color to black and paint over the areas where you want to hide snow. Set brush color to white to reveal snow again.