How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

In this tutorial, you will learn how to turn your photos into frozen winter images inspired by white walkers from the Game of ThronesTV series. I will try to explain everything in so much detail that everyone can do it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action
The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create here in this tutorial. If you would like to create the effect shown below, a more advanced effect with animated snow and mist, and just using a single click, then check out my Snow Walker Photoshop Action.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

What You’ll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following photo:

1. Let’s Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be theBackground layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

2. How to Select the Subject

Step 1

In this section we are going to make a selection of our subject and copy the subject to a separate layer. Select the Magic Wand Tool (W), set the Tolerance to 32,and click once on the white background to make a selection of it. Then press Control-Shift-I on your keyboard to invert the selection and get a selection around the subject.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now go to Select > Modify > Smoothand set theSample Radius to 5 px. Next, go to Select > Modify > Contract andset Contract By to 3 px. Finally, go to Select > Modify > Feather and set Feather Radius to 2 px.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using a selection, and name this new layer Subject.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

3. How to Make the Eyes Glow

Step 1

In this section, we are going to change the eye color and make the eyes glow. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Temp.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the iris of both eyes. The color doesn’t matter.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Control-click on this layer thumbnail to make a selection of it, and then select the Subject layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to create a new layer using the selection. After that,Right-click on the Temp layer and choose Delete Layer to delete it.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 4

Now go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation, check the Colorize option, and set Hue to 206, Saturation to 82 and Lightness to 21 as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Linear Dodge, set the Opacity to 59%, and name it Eyes_Glow_1.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 6

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to create a blank layer mask. Then set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the pupils of both eyes.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 7

Select the Subject layer, go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, and name it Eyes_Glow_2.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 8

Set the foreground color to #808080, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over both eyes of your subject.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 9

Now go to Image > Adjustment > Hue/Saturation, check the Colorize option, and set Hue to 206, Saturation to 82 and Lightness to 21 as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 10

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 11

Now press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the current layer, name this new layer Eyes_Glow_3, and drag it just above the Subject layer.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 12

Choose the Lasso Tool (L)and make a selection around the left eye of the subject. Right-click anywhere inside the canvas, choose Free Transform,and set theWidthof the layer to 200% and theHeight to 400%,as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 13

Now press Control-D on your keyboard to deselect. Then choose the Lasso Tool (L), make a selection around the right eye of the subject, Right-click anywhere inside the canvas, choose Free Transform,and set theWidthof the layer to200%and theHeightto400%,as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 14

Press Control-D on your keyboard to deselect, and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 50 px as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 15

Now set the Opacity of this layer to 84% and then Shift-click on the Eyes_Glow_1 layer to select all glow layers at once. After that, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers and name it Eyes Glow.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

4. How to Create the Background and Texture

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the background and also add some texture. Select the Background layer and go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Background Color, and set the color to #000000 as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now we are going to add a small light source behind the subject. Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the current layer, and name this new layer Middle Light.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Right-click on this layer, choose Blending Options, check Gradient Overlay, and use the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 4

Now set the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 5

Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Background Texture.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 6

Now press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 7

Press Control-T on your keyboard and set theWidth and Height of the layer to 200% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 8

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 9

Set the Opacity of this layer to 25%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

5. How to Blend the Subject

Step 1

In this section, we are going to blend our subject more with the background. Select the Subject layer and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a blank layer mask.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a small soft brush, and brush over the white areas that are left from the background.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Pick a large soft brush and brush over the bottom area of the subject to fade it.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

6. How to Create Snow and Mist

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create snow and mist. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, name it Snow_1, and drag it to the top of the layers in the Layers panel.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now set the foreground color to #000000, go to Edit > Fill, and set Contents to Foreground Color, Mode to Normal, and Opacity to 100%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, and set theAmount to 100%andDistribution to Uniform. Check theMonochromatic option, and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 4

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and use the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 5

Press Control-T on your keyboard and set theWidth and Height of the layer to 200% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 6

Now go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur, and set Angle to 45 and Distance to 10 as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 7

Set the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 8

Now go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, name it Snow_2, and drag it just below theSnow_1 layer in the Layers panel.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 9

Set the foreground color to #000000, go to Edit > Fill, and set Contents to Foreground Color, Mode to Normal and Opacity to 100% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 10

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, and set theAmount to 100%andDistribution to Uniform. Check theMonochromatic option, and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 11

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and use the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 12

Press Control-T on your keyboard and set theWidth and Height of the layer to 200% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 13

Now press Control-A on your keyboard to make a selection of the canvas and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection to add a layer mask that reveals the selected area of the layer.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 14

Right-click on the layer mask and choose Apply Layer Mask. Then press Control-T on your keyboard and setthe Width and Heightof the layer to500%as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 15

Now go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur, and the set Angle to 60 and Distance to 50 as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 16

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen. Then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a blank layer mask. After that, press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and X to exchange them, and then go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 17

Now go to Image > Auto Tone, and then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 18

Inside the Properties panel, set the Density of the layer mask to 60%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 19

Now we are going to do the same for the other snow layer. Select the Snow_1 layer, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a blank layer mask, and then go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 20

Now go to Image > Auto Tone, and then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and enter the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 21

Inside the Properties panel, set the Density of the layer mask to 60%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 22

Now we are going to create some mist. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer, name it Snow Mist, and drag it just below the Snow_2 layer in the Layers panel.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 23

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 24

Now press Control-T on your keyboard and set theWidth and Height of the layer to 200% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 25

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen and set the Opacity to 45%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 26

Now go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a blank layer mask. Then set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the face of your subject to remove the mist from this area.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 27

Inside the Properties panel, set the Density of the layer mask to 80%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

7. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make the final adjustments to the design. Select the Snow_1 layer and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance to create a new color balance adjustment layer, and name it Color Look.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance/Saturation to create a new vibrance/saturation adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 5

Control-click on the Eyes_Glow_2 layer thumbnail to make a selection of that layer, set the foreground color to #000000, go to Edit > Fill, and set Contents to Foreground Color, Blending to Normal, andOpacity to 100% as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 6

Now press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches and X to exchange them. Then go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall Contrast.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 7

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 40%.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 8

Now press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. After that, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px as shown below:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

Step 9

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and name it Overall Sharpening.

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

How to Create a Frozen Winter Adobe Photoshop Effect Action

If you would like to create the effect shown below, a more advanced effect with animated snow and mist, and just using a single click, then check out my Snow Walker Photoshop Action.

The action works so that you just fill in your subject with a color and play the action, and the action will do everything for you, giving you fully layered and customizable results.

The action comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use and customize the results to get the most out of the effect.