This tutorial will show you how to create a snowflake vector shape in photoshop. You will be able to scale up and down the final shape without rastoration, so whatever size you need the final snowflake, you will be able to follow the measurements given in this tutorial. If you do work at a different size you will need to keep the measurements in proportion although the angles used will remain the same.
Create a canvas 1000x1000px 72dpi
I’m going to work with the snowflakes in white right from the start so the first thing is to give the background a colour to work against. I have just used the paint bucket on the background layer.
The next step is to draw some guides out to work with. First we need to find the centre of the canvas. Use the marque tool, and set the tool to ‘fixed width’ 500x500px. Place the marquee tool in the top left corner.
Make sure the rulers are turned on (toggle ctrl+R / Apple+R to turn the rulers on and off). Drag guides from the rulers top and at the left and drag across in line with the right and bottom of the marque. (This should snap into place if it’s not easy to align click the snap-to settings).
Set the marque tool to 126x250px and line up to the top right of the central point. Drag the guides across to marque the new points(toggle the guides on and off with ctrl+; / apple+;)
Set the marque tool to 126x217px and line it up to the centre point top right. Drag a guide to the top of the marque.
Choose the pen tool and set the foreground colour to white.
Start the pen tool in the middle and work up the centre line to the top intersection, across and down one, and back to the centre point to create a triangle.
Staying with the pen tool, change the shape area to subtract in the tool option bar.
Just like you would do with scissors with a folded piece of paper to make a snowflake, cut out sections from the triangle.
When you are happy with the cut outs, use the direct selection tool to move the points that cross over the left and right side of the triangle in line best you can. (This is only important if you want to have the final snowflake as one vector shape, you can ignore this step if you are happy to have the snowflake in different sections on different layers either grouped or linked together).
Duplicate the shape layer (Ctrl+J Apple J).
Flip the new shape horizontal. Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal
Use the move tool on the new shape layer to bring it in line with the left of the first triangle.
Use the Direct selection tool and drag the direct selection tool across the canvas to highlight all the points.
With the points selected choose to copy and cut the points (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X / Apple+C, Apple+X). Click ok in the pop up box.
Choose the first triangle in the layers palette and paste the points to this layer (Ctrl+V / Apple+V)
You should now have a symmetrical shape all on one layer. If the central section is out of shape and not symmetrical, this will be because some of the subtraction points were still overlapping from Step 14.
Duplicate the new combined shape and use the transform tools to rotate the shape. Use Crtl+T / Apple+T to bring up the transform tools and set the rotation angle in the tool setting to 60. Hit the return key to exit the transform tool.
Move the new shape layer into position.
Combine the 2 shape layers by repeating step 16 & 17.
Duplicate the new combined shape layer and rotate 120. Move this layer to the new position before duplicating and rotating the new layer by 120 to complete the snowflake.
Use the same process of highlighting the shape points with the direct selection tool and copying and pasting onto the original shape to create the vector snowflake on one vector shape layer.
The final vector snowflake.