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Adding a vignette

From: Photoshop Artist in Action: Tim Grey's Photo Optimization Techniques

Video: Adding a vignette

I'm pretty happy with this overall image of the Brooklyn Bridge. In the raw conversion process, I had to pay careful attention to some chromatic aberrations and color fringing in the image. But overall there wasn't too much work to be done and it's looking pretty good I think. But one thing that I would like to do in order to help frame up the image a little bit is to add a vignette effect. In essence, the image doesn't feel bookended. It doesn't feel like there is a beginning and end necessarily. The tower over the Brooklyn Bridge over on the left side certainly helps to add a framing element, as do the set of towers over on the far right side of the image.

Adding a vignette

I'm pretty happy with this overall image of the Brooklyn Bridge. In the raw conversion process, I had to pay careful attention to some chromatic aberrations and color fringing in the image. But overall there wasn't too much work to be done and it's looking pretty good I think. But one thing that I would like to do in order to help frame up the image a little bit is to add a vignette effect. In essence, the image doesn't feel bookended. It doesn't feel like there is a beginning and end necessarily. The tower over the Brooklyn Bridge over on the left side certainly helps to add a framing element, as do the set of towers over on the far right side of the image.

But, I still think a vignette can really help to sort of close off this image a little bit. And so, I am going to apply a vignette effect. I could have, in theory, created that effect in Adobe Camera Raw, except then I later applied a cropping to the image. In theory, I could also use the lens correction filter. But doing that at this point would be a little bit tricky in terms of my actual image layers because I have both an image layer, as well as an image clean up layer. Instead, I'm going to create a new layer, not a duplicate of my image layer but just a separate layer that will be used purely for applying a vignette effect, and then I'll still use the lens correction filter in order to apply that effect. Let's take a look at the process here.

I'll start off by creating a new layer, but I want that layer to have special properties. So instead of just clicking on the create new layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the layers panel. I'm going to hold the Alt key on Windows, or the Option key on Macintosh while clicking on that button. That will cause the new layer dialogue to appear, and I can type a name for the layer for example. I'll type vignette of course. And then I'm going to change the blend mode from normal to multiply. And that will mean that this layer can only darken whatever's down below.

Finally, I will turn on the check box for "fill with multiplying neutral color," that will cause this layer to be filled with white. However, because white is the neutral color for the multiply blend mode that won't cause white in the image, it will actually cause no effect, whatsoever. So with that checkbox turned on and with my other setting established, I'll click the OK buttons in order to create that layer. Next, in order to add a little bit of flexibility to my workflow, I'm going to utilise a smart filter. And that means I need to convert my vignette layer To a Smart Object. I'll go to the Filter > Convert For Smart Filters.

I'll get a confirmation. I can just click OK there. And that will cause the Vignette Layer to be converted to a Smart Object. Which means I can always come back and fine tune the filter effect later. Next I'll go to the Filter > Lens Correction. I'll make sure that all of the adjustment options on the Auto Correction tab are turned off, and then I'll go to the Custom tab. And there, I'll find the Vignette amount and Midpoint sliders. I'll drag the Amount slider over toward the left in order to darken the effect.

But, then I'm going to drag the mid point value over toward the right because I really want that vignette to just be at the very edges and especially at the corners of the image. Of course, because I'm working on a pure white layer, getting a sense of what settings would be best can be little bit tricky, but fortunately I'll be able to compensate for this in just a moment. I'll go ahead and click OK and apply that filter. And you can see that I now have vignette effect on the image. I can turn off visibility for that vignette layer turn it back on to get a sense of the before and after. I can turn down the Opacity for my vignette layer, if I want to reduce the strength of the effect, but I can also return to my lens correction filter at any time, because I applied it as a smart filter.

So I'll double click on lens correction for the filter. And then I can go back to the custom tab and adjust the settings as I see fit. Perhaps pushing the vinette a little further to the edge of the image and softening it up just a little bit. Making it not quite as much of a darkening effect. I think that will work pretty well. I'll go ahead and click okay. And so what;s the result look like. And that looks to be quite a bit better. I'll toggle the visability off and then on again. Maybe I'll reduce the opacity just a little bit for that layer, but not by too much. And that looks much better. Now I have a sense of framing for the image, helping to keep the viewer focused on the center of the image.

And with that, I think I have a good result from this image. It didn't require too much work, I had to focus on some corrections for the chromatic aberrations and color fringing. A little bit of spotting here and there, and some cropping. But, finally, with this vignette effect I feel that this photo is finished.

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