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I find it interesting that sometimes the effect we're trying to avoid in camera is the effect we're trying to add after the fact. And I think the vignette effect is a good example of that. Many times, we try to avoid vignetting with various lenses in the camera, but a vignette effect can actually be a very nice touch to add to any digital photo. In many ways, it helps to keep the viewer's eye constrained inside the image itself, and it also adds an air of mystery and darkness. It can overall just be a very nice effect. Let's take a look at a method you can use for adding a vignette effect to your images.
In this case, I have a multi-layered document. I have my original background Image layer as well, as a Black and White Adjustment layer and a Curves Adjustment layer. And I want to add a vignette effect but retain flexibility for fine tuning that effect later. So, what I'm going to do is select my Background Image layer, and I want to apply a filter effect as a Smart filter. And that means I need to go to the Filter menu and choose Convert to Smart filters for my Background Image layer. That will covert that layer to a Smart Object so that I can apply my filter in a flexible way as we'll see in just a moment.
I'll go ahead and choose that command and then click OK in the confirmation dialog. And now, you can see that the Background Image layer has been converted to a Smart Object layer. So, I'll go to the Filter menu now and choose Lens Correction. The Lens Correction filter provides a number of tools for compensating for various issues related to the behavior of the lens used to capture an image. But in this case, I just want to use it to add a vignette effect. So, under Auto Correction, I'll turn off all of the check boxes for the automatic adjustments and then I'll go to the Custom tab. And here in the custom tab, I'll focus my attention on the Vignette section. I can reduce the value for the Vignette to darken the edges or increase the value to lighten the edges.
But in this, I want to darken down those edges. And I'll go ahead and exaggerate this adjustment just a little bit so we can see more clearly what's going on with the mid point slider. This determines how far into the center of the image that vignette effect will occur. So, I can drag to the right to expand that adjustment outward, so it's only affecting the very extreme corners and edges of the image. Or, I can drag to the left to pull that adjustment in closer to the center of the image. In this case, I think I will pull it in just a little bit, but I won't make it quite as dark as it appears right now. I think right about there is going to work well. I'll go ahead then and click the OK button.
But notice, because I converted my Background Image layer to a Smart Object, I now have a Smart Filters layer attached to what had been my Background Image layer. And you can see that that includes the Lens Correction filter. At any time, if I'd like to modify the settings, I can double-click on lens correction to go back to my Lens Correction filter dialog. And fine-tune the overall settings for the adjustment and then click OK to accept the changes. I can also tone down the effect by double-clicking on the Adjustment button over to the far right here, and that will bring up the Blending options dialog. Where I can reduce the Opacity if I want to tone down the overall effect without going back to Lens Correction and adjusting the settings. So as you can see, quite a bit of the flexibility for adding a very simple vignette effect, they can have a big impact on the final image.
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