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Seasonal -- Snowman -- image heavy a bit beyond beginners


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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it


One of our newer members has asked me to do a seasonal tut. "On a snowman please " . I looked around the internet and saw a few photoshop tuts, but didn't really like the outcome of any of them. So made my own with a nice semi realistic texture.


This is a fairly straight forward tut. I'd rate it as just a bit beyond absolute beginner. It is long because I show many pictures so the newbies can follow along and put a bit more challenge into their images.

When I work with many layers like this I find it is a good idea to name the layers. This take a tiny bit of time but it is a good practice to get into, especially when you start doing complicated images where bits and pieces hide behind other pieces, or inter twine and twist around pieces. I also like to use a different layer for each element or major addition with in an element. This allows me to go back in later and find the layer or layers I need to work on with less troubles.

as this tutorial does work with many layers here is a real quick review for the newbies that are trying this out for their first self made non render image.


plugins are required . I've limited this to several basics you really should know about.

gradiant mapping, bevel, drop shadow.

plug in list viewtopic.php?f=16&t=30570

this list will direct you to the proper plugin


open a 800 x 600 image. (control + a, del) you want a transparent background layer ( it will show as checkerboard grey and white)

set primary color as white and secondary color as COCOCO

in answer to the where do I change the color at. clik the more button on the color wheel you now have a spot to change the hex value...... C0C0C0 is a hex value for a gray shade.



The Body

draw using the lasso tool :LassoTool: a shape quite similar to a triangle. it should be a little bumpy . name this layer body

do not deselect this shape! you will keep it active until you move on to do the head portion.

fill with a radial gradiant :GradiantTool: :RadialGradiant"


on this same layer adjustments >gradient mapping by pyrochild

colors used white both ends and aprox middle color 93bcbc


duplicate this layer :DuplicateLayer: name this layer duplicate body

to the duplicated layer effects .> dents ..... change the scale setting to around 65.


the next step is to apply frosted glass on the same layer you just did the dents.

set the maximum distance anywhere between 6 and 8.


now you deselect.


The Head

add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer:

the texture is done same method as the body.

use lasso :Lasso Tool: and make a bumpy circular head name this layer head

do not deselect until you go on to make the scarve


same as the body fill with circular gradiant :GradiantTool: :RadialGradiant: ( your colors haven't changed. they are still primary white and secondary COCOCO )

same as the body adjustments > gradient mapping by pyrochild sames colors as before white both ends white and aprox middle color 93bcbc

duplicate the head layer :duplicateLayer: and apply dents at the same settings as above. scale around 65 name this layer duplicate of head

same as before on the layer you did the dents you will use frosted glass anywhere from 6 to 8 distance.

now you deselect


The Scarve

use the lasso tool :LassoTool: and draw the long portion of the scarve that hang down. name this layer scarve tails

change to the colors you wish to do the scarve and hat. change the fill selection and bucket fill :PaintBucketTool: the scarve tails.


add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer:

use the lasso :LassoTool: and draw the scarve portion that goes around the neck. name this layer scarve


We need to now add shadow

do the same settings on both scarve tail layer AND scarve layer

this image shows the settings for the shadow and what the scarve looks like after shadow has been applied.



LAYER CHECK you are at a total of 5 layers now.


The Hat

in your layer box clik the layer marked head rightover the writing.


now wand :MagicWandTool: any where in the transparent area of your picture (grey and white checker is transparent area)

invert your selection (control + i)

leave selection active

add a layer :AddNewLayer: above the scarve layers

change to paintbrush tool :Paintbrush tool: . Use the same pattern and colors as the scarve. and bucket fill :PaintBucketTool: name this layer hat around head

so now the poor snowmans face is all covered up.

use the ellipse Selection tool :EllipseSelectTool: and cut away the portion to show the face. :EditCut:


add a new transparent layer name this layer hat rib

switch to the line tool and change the end caps of the lines to rounded I used a 20 size line here. you may have to make the line bigger or smaller depending on what size you have made the original head.

just note the two end caps of the line should end just outside the hat area.

now take the two centre nubs and adjust this line until it curves around the hat edge.


apply a drop shadow to the rib of the hat.

these are the settings I used offset x 5 offset y 10 widening radius 8 blur radius 13 opacity 66


The Eyes

The eyes are what makes or breaks most images.

these are done very very simply using just a paint brush and black and white colors.

add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer: name this layer eyes

Of course if you made the head bigger you may need to adjust the size of the paint brush to suit your image

this is what I used on this picture.

using black paintbrush set at 20 add two round dots

change to white paintbrush and over draw a bit off centre two dots size 14

change back to black and add two dots size 10

change to a size 2 brush and draw in with white some little shine highlights

add a drop shadow.



The Buttons

add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer: name this layer buttons

The buttons are nothing more than three paintbrush dots move the cursor a little bit so they are not perfectly round. Then give them a shadow.



The Carrot Nose

The nose uses bluring for the shading.

add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer: name this layer carrot nose

use the lasso :LassoTool: and make a carrot shape. make it large! look at the picture see how large I made this in relationship to the snowman. almost as big. when it gets downsized it will look more realistic.

do not deselect

fill that lasso carrot shape with a linear gradiant :LinearGradiant: . The lighter color near the tip and the darker color at the larger rounded end. In this picture I used primary color F9AAOF and secondary DF8719


add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer: name this layer nose shading

change to the paintbrush tool :PaintBrushTool: and about a size 30 brush

run a line of white down the middle of the carrot. White or light colors bring the portion forward.

next add the darker shade around the inside edges of you still selected lasso carrot shape. It doesn't need to be perfect.


next you are going to use gassiaun blur effects>blurs>gassiaun

I used gassiaun blur at 34 . This is a judgment call you will have to make. You wil know if you didn't blur enough. the white line will still be really visible. Same as if you blur too much. the image will not look rounded.


add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer: name this layer carrot lines

draw some curved lines with the paint brush tool l :PaintBrushTool: and a darker brownish orange color. In this picture I used BC7116

effects>blur>true blur


now you are finished drawing the carrot

now you deselect

merge the three carrot layers together. start at the top and use the merge down button :MergeDown:

work from the top down


after you have all three layers of the carrot merged together. you need to make it smaller to fit on the little snowmans face.

use the move pixels tool :MoveTool: clik anywhere on the picture and hold the shift key down and drag inwards.

when it looks the correct size for your snowman's nose move into position and add a drop shadow.



The Arms

the little twig arms are very easy to do, but you do need to have them in the correct layer.

they need to go behind the body layer, in order to look like they come out the sides of the snowman's body.

so how do you add a layer at the bottom? all the layers I've had you add before were added to the top.

clik the layers window on the layer marked body. It should be now blue highlight and white writing

next add a transparent layer button :AddNewLayer:

but it still isn't the very bottom layer clik the move layer down button :Down:

so you are ready to do the branch

select paintbrush tool and set size to 30 use a brownish color I used BC7116 in this picture. and draw in two stick arms.

with the magic wand :MagicWandTool: clik anywhere outside the arms then invert the selection (control + i)

do not deselect until you finish the bevel step below


add a transparent layer :AddNewLayer:

effects>selection>bevel depth setting of 3



you have now finished the snowman

check it over any additions you wish to make should be done now before you flatten.

as you can see I went back in and added some little fringes to the scarf. and the snowballs at his feet.

the fringes just little black lines with the pencil tool :PencilTool: dont forget to give them a drop shadow!

and the little snowballs at his feet. If you look closely they are just copies of the head layer made smaller by dragging in the corners (similar to how I made the carrot smaller)

again don't forget the drop shadows on the snow balls.

now you can flatten and save.

now that you know how to make a snowman go ahead and customize

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas

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Great job on the snowman ! I think this tut does a great job of demonstrating the use and effect of layering - are useful task for noob and veteran alike. I also believe the use of the Magic Wand, Lasso Tool, Gradients, Blurs, and Shadowing effects are very beneficial for anyone trying to learn paint.NET. Despite my low post-count, I have been a paint.NET user for a long time and attribute much of my knowledge and success to learning from the tutorials in this forum.

I think a newbie would be well-advised to try tuts such as this and gleen the knowledge from the user base to further one's skills.

As usual, great job !

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thanks you.

@Wizzard that was so nicely said. I try to write my tut with all the PM questions I receive in mind. In each I try to show how to do something different, and introduce a plugin that is beyond the standard basics. This time it was gradiant mapping. Hopefully those reading the tut will pick up that the plugin isn't so darn scarry and experiment with it a little more.

@free321123 oh good gracious that little snowman is precious. you've done a wonderful job! I like he is holding a snowball and an Christmas Decoration. I really like how you did the bottom portion. That rounded bit bottom centre gives him a lot of dimension.

so well done and I thanks you from bottom of my heart for trying out my little snowman tut.

Have a very Merry Jolly Christmas.

ciao OMA

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great job Welshy I like the addition of BoltBaits plugin makes the snow look really good in the black and white. agree about the carrot nose perspective. I was so working on getting a good looking carrot and simplify the way to blur it i didn't pay proper attention to the angle.

I look and see if I can go back and change on my tut. only if not toooooo much work and not too many more pictures.

ciao OMA

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don't beat your self up. That's a fine image at least you tried something outside your comfort zone. the addition of that sign actually improves the balance of your image greatly.

learn about shadows that will help you down the road.

ciao OMA

I dont have shadows plugin, i have to work with out a lot of them because my dad always changes the password so i cant download anything.
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than't no problem I'll do a few little quick notes and add it in in the post right after the tut. just a quick little way to cheat on a shadow. for you and those that don't have the plug in drop shadow. Its the old method from before we had that plugin. Lot more work but it will add to your images.

give me a little bit of time. I'm redoing some images for the tut on the nose that was at a wonky angle.

ciao OMA

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Great tute, Oma! I am aware of the huge amount of time & effort you have put into your tutes & I thank you for taking the time to help others.

I usually start with a huge canvas but something went wrong...most likley too many interruptions.

In any case here is my attempt:


Thank you again!


Knowledge is no burden to carry.


April Jones, 2012

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Nice tut, i think the result turned out pretty good :D .

Ummm, I cannot see your posted image...

Welshy, NOW you remind us of the mouth? After I've done my snowman? It's been more than 40 years since I built one. Guess that is my excuse for not thinking about a mouth.

In 150 degree heat, working on the snowman was good. Lucky he survived at all :lol:


Knowledge is no burden to carry.


April Jones, 2012

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:D @barbieq25 that little snowman you did was just so cute. I also like to start with a larger canvas and downsize. That will likely be dealt with in another just beyond newbie tut that I've in the works. Doing so in this tut wasn't something I wanted to tackle. The person that actually asked for this one wasn't quite up to working with muliple pdn's yet. So I thought to keep it super simple. Just beyond beginners level.

:D @Gigabyte oh that is fabulous. I like how you've gone ahead and modified the image to suit your own style. The little tree is a great addition as well as the moving snow. Lovely.

:lol: @Welshblue I didn't draw a mouth. :oops: Most times we just scooped out a little hole, but I see from some pictures others do about snowman they use twigs or coal. My little guy in the tut is shivering so much from the cold here in frosty Manitoba that he has his chin down trying to bury it in his scarf.

thanks you Darkshock and Falken. Hope to see your little seasonal snowmen/women posted here soon. :wink:

ciao OMA

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Well Oma! I don't really like my outcome :D and I got lazy with the background, but I really enjoyed the tutorial, and I think I learned a lot from it. :) You are VERY detailed (it took me 4 hours to complete, of course I was chatting online with friends while I was doing it.) :) Thanks for the great tutorial!

(I was a little confused on the bevel step, and ended up using the same technique for the arms that you ahd for the carrot.)


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Oma, I just wanted to say thank you for this fantastic tutorial. I don't have a snowman to prove I went through your tutorial, but your method on creating a snow texture will be very handy indeed! I can't wait to apply it as a frosting on some icy, 3-D text! :P

Thanks again for the hardwork it took to bring this together.

Merry Christmas,

- Mike


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:lol::lol: @Crimson read my lips , I'll say it nice and slow """ begginnerrrrrsssss tut! minnnnimmmmummmm pluginnnns and stepssssss."" Just a lot of pictures to describe to a newbie trying to follow along some new ideas. I know you are experienced enough, if you want to add dents etc go for it. I did say more experienced members could customize. :roll:
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