Design a Snowboard




Introduction: Design a Snowboard

This is a basic tutorial, presented by PBnJ Snowboards, on how you can easily design a snowboard with Adobe Photoshop CS3, or something similar. Lots of people want that special board that they've made with their own sweat blood and tears, and this will show the design prospect of it. In a later tutorial, we will show you how to print the image, press the board, and hit the slopes with a truly unique board. So lets get started.

What you need:
Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/Illustrator
An idea (Sometimes's word of the day is great)
Willingness to see things through.

Step 1: The Idea.

On July 5th, had the word of the day being "Affray", which is a "tumultuous assault or quarrel". So my inspiration was Fire vs Ice, being a snowboard and all. There are many brainstorms off this, like peace and war, love and hate, etc etc.

So with that and mind, fire up that RAM hogging Photoshop, and make your computer stir, this could take awhile depending on complexity and access of tools. Having a pad for this is great, but a mouse works just as well.

So with Affray in mind, it's time to start the Fire & Ice deck.

Step 2: Starting Photoshop

The deck size, is all about resolution.
The dimensions I use are:
w: 2,300px
h: 10,000px

These can be switched if you would like a landscape view, which is actually what we will be doing, so get a better idea of visual balance, so to speak.

When you start, there is a drop-down menu for color mode. I use RGB because it's vivid and uses all of the colors of the spectrum pretty religiously. Down side is, you need a sublimation printer (An epson plotter with special heat sensitive ink, which prints onto a piece of thin acrylic, that transfers onto a plastic "top layer" of the board via heat). Although, some companies will print one fore you, for around $50 or so. Best option.

Another way is to use CMYK color mode, which is best for silk screening. Down side, is you need 4 screens, one for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black respectively. This is a cheap alternative if you are going to mass produce 1 board on your own.

I will cover both in this instructable.

Step 3: Background Layer

This is the farthest back layer, and the first in most projects. Since we are doing a fire and ice deck, might as well start with a deep blue, and a deep red.

Layers work best when you have the farthest back layer, a darker color than the one above it. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, which will be covered later when I am making the fire and ice themselves.

1. 1) Double click the layer on the right, and 2) convert the locked background into a layer by clicking "Okay". (It should now be named "Layer 0")

2. 3) Double click "Layer 0" and look for "Gradient Overlay" and click it (4). 5) Click the color spectrum where it says "Gradient"

3. 6) Click the far left box below the spectrum (the color stop) and click the "Color" option (7). 8) Choose you general color, in this case, red, and 9) select the shade. I have mine in the far top right, to get the brightest red. You can also enter all these values manually (10).

4. Do the same for the other color stop, but with the other color of the gradient. In this case, blue. (All the steps, 6-10, are labeled again.)

5. Click "Okay" until you get to the "Layer Style" Screen again. Align the gradient so it runs across the board. If you are following this tutorial word for word, it should be 180 degrees (11). 12) Adjust the scale to 20% degrees in my case. If it's 100%, there will be no color that is the same, until the far left or far right. Try moving the bar around, and see what it does. 13) Click "Okay"

Finally, you are done with the background. This should have taken about 2-10 mins, depending on how well you know Photoshop.

Step 4: Ice Layers

This is now the start of the design aspect. This is where it gets tricky, and you can get lost easily, if you don't know what you are doing. I'll try to go slow here, and provide lots of pictures. I will sort of break it up into the different Layers. Also, download the "Light Brushes" set here at

Layer 1:
1. 1) Start by adding 8 layers or so. You can go one at a time if you'd like. These will be all the shades of blue, sort of. 2) click on layer 1 to begin.

2. 3) Click the brush tool (Hotkey "b")

3. 4) Click the drop-down menu, select "My Brush 6" (5), and adjust it to 2500px from the default 1625px (6).

4. 7) Click the brush somewhere in the blue side, but make sure all of it is on the board. We will be adjusting it soon.

5. Now that you've placed it, hit hotkey "Ctrl + T" to open up the free transform menu (8)

6. 9) Now drag the little boxes on the corners and edges to span a little into the red side. Make sure it covers across the board (Up and down). My exact values in the Free Transform menu are labeled, if you'd like to make it exact. (You can enter values and location, in x, y, instead of dragging the boxes. Also holding shift while dragging corners will keep the scale.) 11) Click the check box to save the transformation.

7. 11) Double click "Layer 1" and 12) click "Color Overlay". 13) Now click the color to open a familiar box (14). Choose your color, make it dark, and then click "Okay" and "Okay" again (15) to save the Layer Style.

8. Now click on layer 2 (16).

Layer 2:

9. This is actually 4 brushes. (Yeah back to that trusty Brush tool). I'll label each one that corresponds to the brush set. But make a nice design here, it will be expanded like the last one.

10. Trusty transform tool again. This picture isn't the expanded view, but it should read what is labeled, not what is there on the picture. But same as before, enter the values, or expand to your desired look.

11. Remember this screen? If not, you double click "Layer 2" (17) and click on "Color Overlay" (18). Choose the color, lighter than the last, different from the rest, and then click "Okay" and "Okay" again to Finish layer 2. You can, again, copy my exact values.

Layer 3:

12. This one is a little crazy, and for sake of time, I will just show you the values of the color overlay. The free transform is too difficult to recreate and there is a wide variety of brushes. But here it is. (Values listed in notes)

13. Should look a little like this.

Now that you have the hang of it, I will show you what my other layers look like. Remember, you use the brush, and once you feel like it's ready, expand it, then color it. If you don't like it, just "Ctrl+alt+z" and retry it.

Now you've finished Ice! That was actually the hard part. You'll see what I mean.

Step 5: Fire Layers

Fire, although it may seem hard, is quite easy. Contrary to popular belief, fire isn't completely bright red. In fact, red fire is extremely rare. It's roughly shades of dark orange, to yellow, and some white. We will start with the first layers.


1. 1) First thing's first, lets make the ice layers invisible, for now. We don't want that chaos messing with our minds while we make fire. (1)

(Now first thing's first. Flame is a fractal. You can look up some good fractal brushes, but this is what I used:

2. Layer 9- I made this layer white, because it's almost the exact same shade of red below it. But it's actually a dark orange. I recommend not making these red, but red-orange.

3. Layer 10- You can now see layer 9's color, and layer 10 is now white. Same rule as ice, dark to light. This layer is basic orange.

4. Layer 11- Now you can see layer 10's orange, and layer 11 is now white. This is your typical yellow, just slightly orange.

5. Layer 12+13- You can see Layer 11's yellow, and layer 12 is an almost blackish red. Very sparse use of layer 12, and I felt like adding spiz-az on layer 13, and threw in that white burst. This is the finished blank product.

6. Layer 14- The company signature, with the spirit of the board. This is not necessary for you, as you guys aren't PBnJ, but I just want to help with your idea.

Now save your work as a PSD first, than a JPEG second.

That's it for the design. But it looks more like a rectangle, than a board.

Step 6: SnoCAD X

God's gift to the snowboard manufacturing earth is this program, SnoCAD X, found free at

Open up Snocad when it is finished downloading.

1. 1) change the editing mode to "Graphics"

2. 2) Click "Load Graphic" and locate it on your computer, where you saved the JPEG off of Photoshop.

3. 3) Use the Drag icon to drag the design to the board.

4. 4) Use the stretch icon to stretch the graphic over the rest of the board.

5. 5) Save as. 6) Is the money shot. Exporting it as a PNG can make it so friends, and companies can see your work, and some companies will even make it for a small price. But you can't put a price on custom design by you.

6. Finished product! Check us out, at

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    11 years ago on Step 4

    Hey can you upload your brushes again? Link is dead :)

    Best regards,

    BTW it's a nice tut!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I will have to fish the brushes out and get them on my own file sharing, I can't seem to find them either. I will get them within the week, and thanks!