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Creating a Snow Scene

Here’s a simple technique that I use for creating a realistic snow scene. When it’s used on a picture in which there is little or no detail in the sky, it is incredibly effective, especially when falling snow is added.

  1. With a suitable picture open in Photoshop (Figure 4.28), go to Select > Color Range. In the Color Range properties, choose Sampled Colors from the Select menu, choose the Selection option, and choose None from the Selection Preview menu (Figure 4.29).

  2. Move your cursor on top of the open photo, and click once with the Eyedropper tool. You can see what is being selected from the white areas in the Color Range preview box. Now that you have sampled an area of the picture, move the Fuzziness slider left or right to add or take away from the selection. When you are happy that enough has been selected, click OK.
  3. Add a new blank layer to the top of the layer stack by clicking the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Name the layer snow (Figure 4.30). Go to Edit > Fill, choose White from the Contents menu, and click OK.

  4. Go to Select > Deselect (or press Command/Ctrl+D). Add a small amount of blur, so that the snow has no sharp edges, by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, adding a Radius of 2 pixels, and clicking OK (Figure 4.31).

You can take it one step further by using the Particles brush to create falling snow. The technique is exactly the same as for debris, but use the brush with a white foreground color (Figure 4.32).

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