Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Let it snow! Making snow in Photoshop

In the northern hemisphere it's that time of the year again... we're longing for a white white Christmas. Or actually a white tomorrow so we can start shooting some really cool snow pictures. 

This post is useful for when you're in need of snow, but there's not much snow to be found nearby. In this post I'll describe how to add snow in an image.

I'm working with this picture from 
A great image in a wintery landscape, but with a bit of snowflakes falling it'll enhance the atmosphere in the image! 

I'm adding the snowflakes with a brush. So first thing to do is making my own snowflake brush: 

1. Open a new Document (Cmd/Ctrl I). I don't need a big document so I resized it to 500 by 500 pixels

2. I drew 2 black circles with the elliptical marquee tool 

3. Then I saved it as a brush. (go to Edit > Define brush Preset and name your brush.)

4. Then I closed the document and went back to my winter picture. Yes, almost ready to make it snow! Let's not forget to change the brush: hit B and open your brush

A brush can be changed by opening the brush presets (Windows > Brush presets). First thing is to change some settings under Shape Dynamics

Then I changed the scattering settings:

And the transfer settings:

Just play around with the settings to see what works best in your image.

Now let it snow! This is the point where I started adding snow to the image. It's important to build this op in layers. The snow in the background is smaller and less visible then the snow in the foreground. So make some layers with snow:

With the Erase tool (E) you can erase snow in places where you don't want it.

Last step is to add some blur to the snow to make it look more realistic. I'll add a bit of Gaussian blur to the smaller snowflakes. Whereas I'll give the bigger snowflakes both Gaussian and motion blur. 

  • Start with deactivating the foreground and the mid ground layer. Go the Filter >  Blur > Gaussian blur and add some blur. Check the effect it has in the image and choose your amount.  

  • Next step is to repeat this for the mid ground layer. So activate the layer and add Gaussian blur. 

  • I also added some Motion blur to those snowflakes.  Go to Filter > Blur > Motion blur. Change the angle and choose an amount that works well in your image (and is to your liking)

  • The last stap is to active the foreground layer and give it some Gaussian and Motion Blur.

If you want more snow you can easily copy a layer. Select the layer you want to copy and hit Ctrl or Cmd J.

You also can move the snow by using the move tool (V). 

And this is the end result: 

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