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For example on tree branches like this:


Image from Wikimedia commons

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There is no doubt that the best result can be generated by using Particle or Physics system, which is a bit complicated to talk about in a few words. A quick-and-dirty way is shown as below:

  1. Switch Transformation Orientation to Normal, try to find and select a single vertex which Z axis towards up (or nearly up). Press ShiftG1 to select nearly all possible upward vertices by tweaking a reasonable Threshold value, as shown in Figure 1 and 2.
  2. ShiftD to duplicate the selection, then P1 to separate it as a new mesh. Now you can freely tweak it with a few modifiers to make a nice pile-looking snow cover, particularly with the Displace modifier. As shown in Figure 3.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

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    $\begingroup$ I remember one Blenderguru tutorial where puts pink sugar over a bagel and he uses the liquids for make it drop over. Doesn't look bad. But this solution is less CPU overkill and accurate than this one. $\endgroup$ – gabrign Jan 28 '14 at 0:04

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