How To Make A Vignette In Photoshop
One of the easiest ways to draw your viewer’s attention or isolate your subject is with a vignette. With the help of Photoshop, there are 4 easy ways you can quickly add a vignette to your images.
The classic vignetting effect applies a circular darkening around the edges of your photo. In Photoshop, you can do just that, as well as have the option for more specialized vignetting effects.
Effects such as adding colored vignettes, white vignettes, or having manual control of where the edge darkening takes place.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn four of the easiest ways to add a vignette in Photoshop. No matter if you want the classic dark vignette or want to spice things up with color, this post has the answers you’re looking for.
Let’s get started!
Creating Black Or White Vignettes In Photoshop
For the first section, let’s discuss how to create black or white vignettes in Photoshop. Since you have the ability to control whether you’re darkening or brightening, it’s extremely simple with these methods.
If you are looking for a way to add a colored vignette to your image, skip ahead to method number 4!
Method 1: Using Lens Corrections
Using the profile corrections filter in Photoshop, you can create vignettes with the click of a slider. No layer masks or additional settings required!
Step 1: Go To Filter > Lens Corrections
To begin, select your image layer and go to Filter > Lens Corrections.
A new dialogue box will appear directly inside Photoshop.
Step 2: Switch To The “Custom” Tab
Although the Lens Corrections tab is meant to correct things like vignetting, you can also use it to create vignettes.
By default, you’ll be working inside the Auto Corrections tab. Instead, switch to the “Custom” tab.
This is where you can use these lens corrections as creative adjustments.
Step 3: Adjust The Vignette Slider To Darken Edges
In the setting bar, look for the “Vignette” sliders. There are two sliders called Amount and Midpoint, but we’ll focus on the amount for now.
By moving the amount slider left, you’ll darken the edges of your photo and increase the intensity of your vignette.
If you move the amount slider right, you’ll brighten the edges and get a completely different look.
In this case, I want to add a regular vignette, so I’ll drag it left to darken the edges of my image.
Step 4: Set The Vignettes Midpoint
The next slider to work with is called “Midpoint.” The easiest way to think of this setting is to control how far your vignette spills inwards from the edges.
For example, a lower midpoint setting of +15 will bring the darkening inwards compared to the default setting of +50.
The midpoint setting is great for controlling how intense your vignette looks. Try to play around with this slider and see how it changes the final look!
Step 5: Save Your Changes
Once you’re happy with the vignette effects, click OK to commit to your changes. The filter adjustments will be added to your layer, and your vignette will be applied.
If you are using a regular layer, these changes will be permanent. However, if you’d like the option to go back and make adjustments, you can use a smart object.
Just make sure to convert your layer into a smart object before applying your lens correction filter!
Method 2: Create A Vignette With Camera RAW
Another simple way to create a vignette in Photoshop comes with the help of Camera RAW.
Camera RAW will automatically open when you import a RAW photo or can be accessed from your currently existing Photoshop project.
The beauty of this method is that you have a lot of advanced vignette adjustments, all refined to a couple of sliders. This way, you get the most creative control without the manual labor.
Sounds like a win to me! Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1: Open Your Image In Camera RAW
With your image layer selected, go up to Filter > Camera RAW filter.
You can also press Command + Option + A (Mac) or Control + Shift + A (PC) if you’re into shortcuts.
If you are opening a raw file directly into Photoshop, Camera RAW will open automatically!
Step 2: Open The Effects Tab
Similar to Lightroom, all of your adjustments will be found within the settings bar. Scroll down through your settings until you see the Effects Tab. This is where all the vignette adjustments are found.
Step 3: Adjust The Vignette Slider
Start by moving the Vignetting Slider left (darken) or right (brighten). The further to each end you bring the slider, the more intense it will look.
Step 4: Refine Your Vignette With The Advanced Settings
Now that your base vignette is complete let’s spice things up a little. Clicking on the drop-down arrow beside the Vignetting slider, you’ll find the advanced settings.
Here’s what each slider does for your image:
The Midpoint controls how far your vignette reaches inwards from the outer edges of the photo.
By default, a vignette has a vertical oval shape. With the roundness slider, you can change the shape of your vignette to get different looks.
The Feather controls how blurred the edges of your vignette are. With a higher feather, the vignette will blend into your photo. With a lower feather, the edges will be very pronounced.
Since the vignette covers everything in your photo, the Highlights slider lets your recover the highlights. That way, you don’t end up darkening brighter parts of your image and can easily make things pop against the vignette.
Step 5: Save Your Changes
To apply your vignette effects to your image, click OK.
Now your image will be brought back into the main Photoshop workspace with the vignetting applied.
Method 3: Using Layer Masks To Create A Vignette
With the previous two methods, you’re restricted to the shape and size of your vignette. What if you want to make it look more apparent in one area while more subtle in another?
By using Layer Masks and an exposure adjustment layer, you can manually paint your adjustments. That way, you can get the most customized vignette look in your photo.
Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1: Create An Exposure Adjustment Layer
For this method, you’ll start by creating an exposure adjustment layer and darkening your entire image. Don’t worry; you’ll refine this darkening later on.
Select the exposure adjustment from your adjustments panel or access it via the bottom of the Layers panel.
Click on the exposure slider and drag it left to darken your image. This will control how dark your vignette looks, so try experimenting with different values.
If you want a brighter look (white vignette), you can increase the exposure slider instead.
Step 2: Press Command/Control + I To Invert The Layer Mask
Now your exposure adjustment is visible across the entire image. To help you paint it back in manually, let’s invert the layer mask to make the adjustment invisible.
With the exposure adjustment layer mask selected, press Command + I (Mac) or Control + I (PC) to invert the mask.
Step 3: Select The Brush Tool And Set Foreground Color To White
To make the exposure adjustment visible once again, we’ll paint white onto the layer mask.
Start by accessing the Brush Tool (B) and choosing a soft round brush. Ensure your opacity and flow are at 100%.
Next, set your foreground color to white and click on the exposure adjustment layer mask to select it.
Step 4: Paint Around The Edges Of Your Photo To Add A Vignette
With your brush settings in order, click and drag across your image to paint on the adjustment. Wherever you paint will make the exposure adjustment visible again.
For the vignetting effect, paint around the edges of the photo. This will darken the edges based on where you paint!
This is one of my favorite ways of darkening a photo’s edges since you have complete control!
Method 4: Using The Elliptical Marquee Tool
For the final method of creating vignettes in Photoshop, you can use a selection area to fill with black. This technique works best if you want a hard-edged vignette but can be further blended with a gaussian blur.
Step 1: Create A New Layer
Start by creating a new layer above your image layer. This is important for later on while also ensuring you’re editing non-destructively.
Step 2: Create An Elliptical Marquee Selection To Define The Vignette
Grab the elliptical marquee tool from your toolbar, choose “New Selection,” and set the feather to 0px in the upper settings bar.
Now click and drag out on your image to create a selection. This circle’s shape will define where your vignette takes place, so make sure to get it right!
If you want a perfect circle, hold the shift key while dragging outwards.
Otherwise, you can freehand the selection while pressing the space bar to move the whole selection if necessary.
Step 3: Invert The Selection Area
Currently, the inside of the selection is active. Since you want to fill the outside of the selection with black, you need to invert the selection area.
Once you’ve committed to a selection, use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + I (Mac) or Control + Shift + I (PC) to invert the selection.
Step 4: Fill The Active Selection With Your Foreground Color
Now it’s time to add some color in the selection area. Start by setting your foreground color to black.
With the new layer selected, press Option + Delete (Mac) or Alt + Delete (PC) to fill your selection with black. If you want your vignette to be colored, choose a different color to fill the selection with.
Then press Command/Control + D to deselect the active selection.
Now you’re left with a hard-edged vignette on its own layer. If that’s the look you were going for, then your job is done!
However, if you want to blend it further, continue to the next step.
Step 5: Add A Gaussian Blur To Blend The Vignette
With the vignette layer selected, go up to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Experiment with different radius values by moving the slider up or down. The further you move the slider, the more blurred the edges of your vignette will become.
If you’re looking for a better-blended vignette, then a higher blur radius is ideal.
Once you’re happy with the look, click OK to commit to your changes.
Now you’re left with another great vignette look, this time using selections!
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to make vignettes in photoshop. Whether you want to quickly make it with a slider or get more specific with selections, these four techniques let you do it.
Vignettes are a great way to darken your photo’s edges and draw attention to the center of your photo. Especially if you have your subject placed in the center of the frame, you can make them really jump out in the photo.
Try experimenting with the four ways of creating vignettes outlined here, and see which one fits your workflow best!