Get Our Free Ebook
Beginners Guide to HTML


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.

subscribe to newsletter