photoshop creative

How to create realistic snow in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
March 5, 2012

Add a blast of snow to your holiday pictures using these techniques in our tutorial, featuring the Noise filter and a hefty dose of motion blurring

If you’re looking back through your collection of winter photos and have noticed a considerble lack of snowfall, then it’s time to open up Photoshop.

Snow effect


Step 1 – New black layer

Add a new layer above your image and fill this with black (Alt/Opt+Backspace will do this as long as your foreground swatch is black).

Snow effect

Step 2 РApply  Noise filter

Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and change the Amount slider to 300%. Make sure Gaussian and Monochromatic are both ticked.

Snow effect

Step 3 – Blend and blur

After applying a slathering of noise, set the layer’s blend mode to Screen. Now go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and in this menu set Angle to 34 and Distance to 25. These values are arbitrary, depending on image resolution and personal style.

Snow effect

Step 4 – Levels

The snow is too distracting at this stage. Open up the Levels adjustment (Image>Adjustments) and push in both the black and white points. The black point will likely need to be pushed further than the white. He’s what we did:



  • micheal igbenabor.

    It’s really interesting. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Derek Hattersley

    I have tried it, whilst I created a snow storm there was no settled snow anywhere as in the sample shown. Are you sure you did not start with a snow scene?

  • Simon Skellon

    Hi Derek – This technique only creates falling snow and not snow on the ground. The before image is on the left and the after is on the right at the top of this post. Apologies for not labelling them clearly.

  • good tips,go on sir.