How to Make a Cozy Cabin Part III

27 Jan

3. Adding falling snow

All this step takes is a little understanding of the Brush Tool and it’s corresponding Brush Pallet. You can either download a free brush online or make your own (which I recommend, though it is slower). This is what my brush looked like when I was finished tweaking it:

Snow Brush Settings in Photoshop

The key is to make the brush very uneven and with various levels of opacity, which is all possible using the incredibly awesome Shape Dynamics, Scattering, and Transfer options.

Next, make yourself a new, transparent layer over all the other layers. With the foreground color set to white, start painting over the entire scene as best suits your preference. You can make it a light snow, like I did, or an extreme blizzard! Remember that the more you add, the more fake it will appear. Here’s an example of what I painted (with a black background added to make the flakes visible):

Snow layer up against a black background

There are much more realistic (and more complicated) ways of making snow falling, but for my purposes, this was all I needed.

4. Adding snow clinging to branches

This last step I actually ran across by accident. Though I discovered the concept by mistake, I liked it so much that I decided to keep it. It probably wouldn’t work with every picture you edit in Photoshop, but it sure did work nicely with this one.

Remember the mask we made over the sky in Part I? We created it over the Dramatic Clouds image so that the clouds would only show through where there was sky in the Cabin image. Because of the way we created it, the mask was very detailed, covering every branch and twig in the background forest so that the Dramatic Clouds would not cover them up.

Well, I discovered that by moving the mask upward by two pixels, instead of it making only the branches visible, it also makes a two-pixel-thick layer of sky visible above the branches. So you are not actually seeing white; all you’re seeing is a little bit of the normal, Cabin image sky above the branches!

Now this only works with the Blend Mode and Opacity settings that I applied to the Dramatic Clouds image earlier. Otherwise, the mask would be covering up just as much of the branches from below as it is revealing sky from on top. Of course, the professional way of adding clinging snow could be done differently, but I won’t go there because I don’t have to with this image.

Up close detail of the clinging snow affect

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading theses posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them! I don’t spend an awful lot of time in Photoshop, but when I do, it is always enjoyable and I often learn things I never knew before.

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