Use Smart Objects to Create Snowflakes in Photoshop

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They say that no two snowflakes look alike. Trying to create several different snowflake designs in Photoshop can take time. Fortunately, there’s a simple technique that you can use to quickly create any number of truly unique snowflakes. Let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new Document 100 px by 300 px. This will become one arm of our snowflake.

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Step 2

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices. In the Grid Section, set the Gridline to every 25 pixels and the Subdivision to 4. This will give us an even grid to work on.

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Step 3

If your gird is not visible, got to View > Show Grid (or press Ctrl + ;). Your canvas should now resemble the image below:

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Step 4

On a new layer, use the gridlines as a guide to draw a line down the center of the canvas. It’s important to start our shape at the center.

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Step 5

Continue to add decorative elements to the shape.

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Step 6

Once you’re happy with the shape, hide the background layer by selecting the eye icon in the Layers Panel. Next, select both the shape layer and the background layer. Right-click on any layer and select Convert to Smart Object

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Step 7

Create a new document 800 px by 800 px.

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Step 8

Drag the Smart Object that we just created into this scene.

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Step 9

The next step is to make copies of the smart object in a circle. To make a copy, press Ctrl + J. Now, press Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform.

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Step 10

Go to the Top Menu and select the bottom, middle anchor point to reposition the center of our layer’s orientation.

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Step 11

Now, use the handles to rotate our object to the 45 degree mark

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Tip: holding shift will snap the rotation to 15 degree increments

Step 12

Repeat the last 2 steps (copy and rotate) until you have a complete snowflake.

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Step 13

In order to quickly update the look of the snowflake, you can double-click any of the smart objects in the Layers Panel. This will open up the original shape we created.

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Step 14

At this point, We only need our snowflake scene (the 800 px by 800 px document) and the smart object (the .psb document) open. We can close anything else. Now go to Window > Arrange > 2-up Vertical.

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Step 15

As you can see, this will allow us to work on both documents simultaneously.

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Step 16

Now, all you need to do is update the smart object with any shape you want and save it (Ctrl + S). The snowflake document on the other side will automatically update with the new design.

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You’re Done

Now that you’ve learned how to quickly create custom snowflakes, see what different designs you can come up with. Also experiment with adding different Layer Styles to create the perfect snowflake!

snowflake Final

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