Snow effect

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:

image 1

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.

image 2

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.

image 3

Step 3. Fill "Snow" layer with noise.

Select Filter - Noise - Add Noise.

Set Noise Amount to 100-150%, Gaussian distribution, Monochromatic NOT checked.

image 4

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%.

image 5
Click to enlarge

Step 5. Set blending mode of "Snow" layer to "Screen".

image 6

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.

image 7

Step 7. Make snow fall.

Select Filter - Blur - Motion Blur. Set Distance to 8-12 pixels and try various directions.

image 8

Step 8. Ideas for further adjustments.

Image after some editing:

Snow Effect

  • 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.

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