How To

How to: create a quick vignetting effect in Photoshop

Elena Santos


Sometimes a simple effect can spice up a picture more efficiently than a complicated one. This is the case with vignettes – images in which the center is clear, while the edges fade off. There must be dozens of ways to achieve this effect, but I’ve come up with a quick Photoshop trick that lets you apply a nice vignetting to your images in no time. Here’s how I do it:

1. Open your picture in Photoshop and grab the Marquee tool (M). Change it to elliptical and draw a shape on your picture to set the limit between the part you want to keep clear – the center – and the part you want to fade off – the corners and edges.

2. Go to Select > Inverse to invert the selection and then press Q (or hit the button highlighted in the screenshot) to enter Quick Mask mode. The part with a pink layer over will be the one that remains perfectly visible in the vignette.

3. Now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur and apply a strong blurring effect to the image. This will help smooth the transition from dark edges to a clear center.

4. Press Q (or click the same button as in step 2 again to go back to Normal mode. The selection will be visible again. Now press Ctrl+L to open the Levels window, and reduce brightness by moving the white arrow to the center of the slider.

5. Done! Press Ctrl+D to remove the selection and your vignetting effect is finished.

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