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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
In order to keep the viewer's eye within the image, it can be helpful to darken down the edges of the photograph. In order to do this, we'll scoot over to the Effects panel and move down to Post Cropping Vignetting. You can see that there are three different styles: Highlight Priority, Color Priority, and Paint Overlay. The Highly Priority actually enables highlight recovery when you're darkening down the edges, but it can lead to subtle color shifts in those areas of your images that become darker. It's really great for working with photos that have bright areas, such as maybe clipped specular highlights or really bright puffy clouds.
The Color Priority, on the other hand, minimizes the color shifts, so you won't see any shifts in color in the darkened areas of the photo, but it doesn't perform that highlight recovery. I do notice, though, that the Color Priority is often much more subtle than the Highlight Priority, so I tend to find myself using it a lot more. Once you select the style, you can then change the Amount: moving the slider to the left is going to darken the edges; moving the slider to the right will lighten the edges.
So in this case I want to add a darker vignette. We can change the midpoint, but I'm not sure if we can see exactly what's going on, so let's decrease the Amount all the way, to make sure that we can see the changes that I make to the other sliders. So we can see the Midpoint. Moving it to the left moves the Midpoint in towards the center of the image, to the right will only apply the vignette at the very edges. The Roundness slider; if you move it to the left, it makes more of a rectangular vignette. If you move it to the right, it makes more of a circular vignette right in the center.
The Feather slider is going to soften the edge of the effect. If you move it to the left, you get a very hard edge; if you move it to the right, you get a very soft edge. Most of the times I like my vignettes to be very soft-edged, so I'll increase the Feather to 100. I'm also going to set the Roundness back towards the center point. I'm going to drag the Midpoint a little bit more towards the center, and I'm really going to back off on the Amount. I just want a slight change. And this is one of those great places where you can tap the P key to preview before and after to make sure that you're not going overboard with your vignette.
At any point in time, you can also switch back and forth to try out the other styles, so I can quickly go to Highlight Priority or to Paint Overlay. The only thing with Paint Overlay is sometimes it tends to make my image look a little bit muddy, so I usually stick to Color Priority or Highlight Priority. One of the great things that I will mention about the Post Crop Vignetting is that if you spent this time to create the vignette and then you decide you want to crop your image, if I tap the C key to grab the Crop tool, and drag out a crop--and let's just make it really drastic here--when I tap the Enter or Return key, you'll notice that the vignette was just recalculated and applied to only this area of the image.
If I tap the P key, there is without the vignette and there is with the vignette. If I change my mind, tap the C key again and drag out my crop to a different area, when I tap the Return or Enter key, it will recalculate it again, so that's why it's called the Post Crop Vignette. The vignette will be applied to whatever canvas you end up with. One last little suggestion I might make is that you take a look at your image at different sizes to make sure that the vignette isn't too strong.
So I'm going to use Command+Minus just to zoom out here, because if I knew that this image was going to end up very small on the web, I just might want to double-check, because sometimes vignettes look very different at different sizes. So just make sure that you haven't overdone it when you're using the vignette to darken down your edges.
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