snow effect

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a snow effect in a picture. The steps mentioned below are easy to follow and can be used on any image.

 snow effect

You’ll need:

Step 1

Open the cabin image.

snow effect cabin

Step 2

Create a new layer and name it “Snow”. Press D to set default colors and then press Ctrl+Backspace to fill the layer with white color.

 snow effect snow layer

 snow effect snow layer white

Step 3

Open the Layer Style window for the new layer by double-clicking on it and make the changes shown below.

 snow effect layer style

 snow effect layer style result

Step 4

Select Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a layer mask for the Snow layer. Now, use a soft round brush to paint the mountains and other areas that appear washed out with black.

 snow effect layer mask

 snow effect layer mask paint

 snow effect layer mask result

Step 5

Now, let’s add some snowflakes. First, create a new layer and name it “snowflakes”. Now, press D to set default colors and press Alt+Backspace to fill the layer with black.

snow effect black layer

We’ll now add some noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise.

 snow effect noise

 snow effect noise result

Add some blur by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

 snow effect gaussian blur

 snow effect gaussian blur result

Change the layer blending mode of the current layer to Screen.

 snow effect screen

 snow effect screen result

Step 6

Create a Curves Adjustment Layer by selecting Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and use the settings shown below. We’ll also clip the snowflakes layer to the Curves Adjustment Layer by Alt-clicking between them.

 snow effect curves adjustment layer

 snow effect clipping

 snow effect curves adjustment layer result

Step 7

We now have some snowflakes, but we already know that not all snowflakes in a picture are of the same size, so let’s add some bigger snowflakes. Repeat steps 5 and 6, but with a stronger Gaussian Blur (probably around 2.5 or 3).

 snow effect bigger snowflakes

Step 8

We’ll now hide some of the bigger snowflakes. Create a layer mask for the second snowflake layer (the one which has bigger snowflakes). Using a soft round brush, paint black here and there to hide some of the snowflakes.

 snow effect bigger snowflakes layer mask

 snow effect bigger snowflakes layer mask result

Step 9

Let’s add some falling snowflakes. First, create some static snowflakes by repeating steps 5 and 6 again.

 snow effect static snowflakes

Now, we’ll add some motion to our new snowflakes layer by selecting it and going to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur.

 snow effect motion blur

 snow effect motion blur result

Step 10

For more realism, we’ll add some snow on the roof of the cabin. Using a chalk brush, paint some snow on the roof with the color #e9e8e8. Then, slightly paint over the snow you have already added with the color #ffffff.

 snow effect snow on roof

 snow effect snow on roof result

Step 11

Finally, we’ll add a bit of blue color since it’s a winter photo. Create a Color Balance Adjustment Layer by selecting Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and add a little blue and cyan color.

 snow effect color balance

And that’s it!

 snow effect