Lets be honest with ourselves, snow makes everything better…

Today we are going to be talking about how to create your very own snow brush in Photoshop. This brush is the definitive key to help make all of your winter images look even more magical!

snowtutafter

This snow technique is by far one of my favourite tools to use. This brush is actually the brush I used to create the snow in this image several months ago:

SnowCandle_IGWATERMARK.jpg

Now if you also enjoy minimal amounts of effort, like myself, feel free to download the exact brush that I create in this tutorial via the link below.

SNOW BRUSH DOWNLOAD

However to make this brush truly look like snow, use the brush output settings detailed in this tutorial!

If you are more into reading, then continue below!

CREATING A SNOW BRUSH

Once you have downloaded and installed the snow brush from the link above, you’ll have to play around with a few different output settings. These output settings will make the brush turn from, “wtf is this”, to, “oh wow it looks like snow!”. Needless to say it’s an important step, so make sure you get it right!

Open up your brush shape manager and we first will change the spacing to 25%

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.47.28 PM.png

Next we will click on our SHAPE DYNAMICS tab. Here we will change our size jitter to 40%, angle jitter to 70%, roundness jitter to 19% and minimum roundness to 25%. Now our brush is starting to look a bit more snow like!

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.47.40 PM.png

Lastly we will go to our SCATTERING tab where we can spread out our brush’s output. Make sure both axes are checked then crank up your scattering to 308%.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.47.52 PM.png

Now your brush output(show in the box at the bottom of the panel above) should look identical to mine. Now when you paint on your image it should loosely resemble snowflakes. Now lets make them look real!

Let’s Make It Realistic

Create a new layer and call it BIG FLAKES. On this layer we will paint our custom brush using a relatively large brush size. These flakes will be the closest to camera so they will have the greatest blur to them, however; they are key to creating depth.

Below is how my image looked after painting on my BIG FLAKES layer with a large brush size.Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.48.24 PM.png

Now we need to add a couple of blurs. We are going to convert our BIG FLAKES layer into a smart filter so we can go back and adjust our gaussian blur and/or motion blur later on if need be.

With your BIG FLAKES layer selected go up to FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR then pick a blur radius that fancies your tastes. Once complete go to FILTER > BLUR > MOTION BLUR, set your angle to 60 and adjust your distance to something suitable, once again; for your tastes.

Your BIG FLAKES layer should look like this in your layer panel: Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 6.20.20 PM.png

Now your snowflakes should appear something like this: Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.48.40 PM.png

Rinse And Repeat

From here we will repeat these EXACT steps on a layer called MEDIUM FLAKES and then another layer called SMALL FLAKES.

As you might have guessed, on each of these layers we will just make increasingly smaller brush sizes with our snow flakes. I turn off the flake layers I am not editing just to get a clearer view as I make my adjustments.

Here’s how my MEDIUM FLAKES turned out before and after my blurs: Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.48.49 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.49.04 PM.png

Then the SMALL FLAKES before and after the blurs: Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.49.13 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.49.33 PM.png

Take note as to how the blurs and motion blurs are not all the same strength. As we decrease the size of our snow brush, we will also decrease the intensity of the gaussian blur and motion blurs accordingly.

Once you have added all of your blurs to each of your layers, your layers panel should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 6.25.14 PM.png

We have each size of snow flakes on separate layers, with individual smart filters and blurs that we can go back and adjust, at any time!

Turn on all of your layers and now you should have an image that looks similar to this: Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 5.49.52 PM.png

A euphony of custom made snow flakes raining down throughout our image. Can it get any better?! If there are any snow flakes that are getting in the way of the subjects face, just use a layer mask to mask those pesky flakes away.

And just like that, you made your average looking winter photo become a gorgeous winter wonderland!

If you enjoyed this tutorial make sure to LIKE this post and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Happy Editing!

Brendan