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How To Make Snow Or Rain In Photoshop

An Easy Photoshop Tutorial

By Damien Andrews

Some photographs and artwork, particularly titling artwork, scream out for the addition of falling rain or snow. Sometimes adding falling rain or snow adds depth, other times it makes a commonplace photograph humorous or more dynamic. It can also bolster the story of the photograph, such as adding it to a picture of the kids building a snowman. Falling snow makes a great addition to titles created for videos of snowboarding, skiing and sledding. Here's how to add falling rain or snow to any photograph or artwork using Photoshop.

This process works equally well with photographs and artwork.

Start by opening Photoshop and then the file you wish to add falling rain or snow to. Make sure the subject photograph is the proper size, and that it is cropped the way you want the final to be. Make sure that the two colors visible on the Tools Palette are white and black – with white being the front (foreground) color and black being the background color. Now let's make FX snow and rain.

Step 1
Open a new layer in the layers palette. You can name the new layer falling rain or falling snow. I'll refer to the new layer as falling rain.

Step 2
Select all of the new layer by holding down the control key and typing the letter "a" (^a).

Step 3
Fill the falling rain layer with white by typing ALT+Backspace. Now deselect the layer by typing ^d.

Step 4
Now go to Filter>Pixelate>Mezzotint and select "fine dots" from the dropdown menu in the dialog box. Now click OK.

Step 5
Invert the layer by clicking ^i. You now have a bunch of white specs on a solid black background – and that's good.

Step 6
Go to the Layers Palette and select Screen as the Blending Mode. This is done in the small box at the top of the Layers Palette. Initially, it will say "Normal."

Step 7
Now go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur to open the Motion Blur dialog box. Make sure the Preview Box is checked so you can see your subject file changing. Adjust the Angle and Distance to get the look you want.

To reduce the intensity/density of the falling rain or snow, simply turn down the opacity of the falling rain layer using the Opacity Slider at the top of the Layers Palette. You can also add another layer, using the same process as you did to create the falling rain layer, and make it have bigger flakes/drops, a slightly different angle of falling, etc. Adjust with the filter settings and the opacity to get superb, realistic results.

Before making rain and snow

Here is the raw photo selected to demonstrate the results obtainable using this Photoshop tutorial.

After snow and rain are added

I used an 'in-between' look here for demonstration purposes – it could be snow or rain. Less opacity would make great rain, more for snow. For perfect snow, I'd add another layer, turn opacity way down and use minimum blur.




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