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Foundations of Photography: Composition

Vignetting to drive attention


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Foundations of Photography: Composition

with Ben Long

Video: Vignetting to drive attention

A vignette is a darkening in the corners of your image. It's caused by your lens, and one of the marks has a good lens is a lack of vignetting. You will most often find vignetting when shooting in extremely wide angles. If you have vignetting throughout the zoom range on your camera then you probably need to think about a lens upgrade. That said, there are times when you want vignetting. A vignette can drive attention to the center of your image and help control the viewer's eye. The thing is, you want control of when a vignette happens. This is why you don't want a lens with a vignette problem; instead, you want the ability to shoot clean images because you can add any vignetting that you want later using Photoshop.
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  1. 12m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. Using this course
      7m 27s
    3. What you need to know
      2m 50s
  2. 2m 47s
    1. What is composition?
      2m 1s
    2. All form, all the time
      46s
  3. 12m 34s
    1. How your camera is not like your eye
      2m 52s
    2. Looking vs. seeing
      2m 25s
    3. Vision and attention
      2m 13s
    4. Dynamic range
      1m 59s
    5. Seeing exercises
      3m 5s
  4. 36m 48s
    1. What all good compositions have
      1m 8s
    2. Subject and background
      3m 5s
    3. Balance
      7m 20s
    4. Point of view
      3m 22s
    5. Simplicity
      2m 59s
    6. Finding and capturing a good photo
      2m 11s
    7. Working the shot: Why one is never enough
      6m 41s
    8. Practicing
      3m 24s
    9. Why black and white?
      2m 21s
    10. Exercise: Practicing the fundamentals with points
      4m 17s
  5. 41m 48s
    1. Lines
      7m 7s
    2. Analyzing lines
      6m 35s
    3. Exploring a town
      4m 7s
    4. The Franklin Hotel
      2m 7s
    5. Shapes
      10m 13s
    6. Repetition: Arranging the elements
      1m 37s
    7. Rule of threes
      1m 36s
    8. Perspective
      1m 47s
    9. Symmetry
      1m 10s
    10. Focal length, camera position, and depth
      2m 27s
    11. Intersections
      1m 41s
    12. Exercise: Practicing fundamentals with geometry
      1m 21s
  6. 10m 38s
    1. Working a shot, revisited
      3m 21s
    2. Understanding the photographic impulse
      2m 58s
    3. Warming up
      2m 16s
    4. Exercise: Get your feet moving
      2m 3s
  7. 35m 7s
    1. Thirds: How rectangular frames are weighted
      2m 20s
    2. Tonal balance
      3m 52s
    3. Content balance
      1m 20s
    4. Squares: Weighting the corners
      2m 24s
    5. Composing people
      3m 42s
    6. Composing landscapes
      3m 53s
    7. Sometimes you can't get the shot
      1m 12s
    8. Practicing thirds with points and geometry
      1m 45s
    9. Practicing squares with points and geometry
      1m 12s
    10. Image analysis: The work of Steve Simon
      13m 27s
  8. 19m 6s
    1. It's the light
      1m 50s
    2. Direction of light
      8m 30s
    3. Texture
      2m 7s
    4. Shadows and negative space
      1m 19s
    5. Exposure concerns
      2m 44s
    6. Keeping one eye on post
      58s
    7. Light as subject
      1m 38s
  9. 18m 59s
    1. Introducing the workshop location and instructors
      1m 2s
    2. Assignment: Finding light
      5m 17s
    3. Shooting the light
      3m 14s
    4. Critiquing the light assignment
      9m 26s
  10. 22m 11s
    1. The basics of color
      1m 4s
    2. When to shoot color
      3m 56s
    3. How to shoot color
      2m 47s
    4. Practicing color composition
      1m 4s
    5. Image analysis: The work of Paul Taggart
      13m 20s
  11. 16m 48s
    1. Entry and exit
      5m 41s
    2. Framing
      2m 17s
    3. Examining the composition of this set
      2m 28s
    4. Narrative
      1m 55s
    5. When the scene doesn't fit in the frame
      3m 13s
    6. Guiding the viewer's eye
      1m 14s
  12. 13m 36s
    1. Assignment: Foreground and background
      3m 4s
    2. Shooting foreground and background relationships
      2m 19s
    3. Critiquing the foreground and background assignment
      8m 13s
  13. 34m 24s
    1. Planes
      5m 13s
    2. Controlling depth
      4m 54s
    3. Juxtaposition
      2m 58s
    4. Fear
      4m 3s
    5. Layers
      55s
    6. Image analysis: The work of Connie Imboden
      16m 21s
  14. 41m 21s
    1. Recomposing an image with the Crop tool
      7m 23s
    2. Resizing an image
      8m 9s
    3. Tone
      8m 54s
    4. Altering the perspective in Photoshop
      4m 38s
    5. Changing composition through retouching
      6m 16s
    6. Vignetting to drive attention
      6m 1s
  15. 10m 22s
    1. Workshop wrap-up and exhibition
      3m 13s
    2. Workshop students' final thoughts
      7m 9s
  16. 1m 0s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 0s

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Foundations of Photography: Composition
5h 29m Intermediate Dec 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Composition can make an interesting subject bland or make an ordinary subject appear beautiful. In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the concepts of composition, from basics such as the rule of thirds to more advanced topics such as the way the eye travels through a photo.

The course addresses how the camera differs from the eye and introduces composition fundamentals, such as balance and point of view. Ben also examines the importance of geometry, light, and color in composition, and looks at how composition can be improved with a variety of post-production techniques. Interspersed throughout the course are workshop sessions that capture the creative energy of a group of photography students; shooting assignments and exercises; and analyses of the work of photographers Paul Taggart and Connie Imboden.

Topics include:
  • Looking versus seeing
  • Understanding when and why to use black and white
  • Analyzing lines
  • Arranging the elements into lines and shapes
  • Working with perspective and symmetry
  • Changing focal length, camera position, and depth
  • Dividing rectangular frames into thirds
  • Weighting the corners in square pictures
  • Composing photographs of people
  • Composing landscape photos
  • Working with light: direction, texture, and negative space
  • How to shoot color
  • Guiding the viewer’s eye
  • Controlling depth
  • Improving composition in post-production
Subjects:
Photography Photography Foundations
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Vignetting to drive attention

A vignette is a darkening in the corners of your image. It's caused by your lens, and one of the marks has a good lens is a lack of vignetting. You will most often find vignetting when shooting in extremely wide angles. If you have vignetting throughout the zoom range on your camera then you probably need to think about a lens upgrade. That said, there are times when you want vignetting. A vignette can drive attention to the center of your image and help control the viewer's eye. The thing is, you want control of when a vignette happens. This is why you don't want a lens with a vignette problem; instead, you want the ability to shoot clean images because you can add any vignetting that you want later using Photoshop.

Here is an image you saw before. This is what we used as our vignette- correction example. And here you can see that I have gone through and done my black-and-white correction, some tonal adjustments, and I have got my image coming along pretty well here. But still, my eye tends to wander. There's something. I need the viewer's eye more in the center here, so I am going to add a vignette. Photoshop does not have a way of nondestructively adding a vignette, meaning if I had darken the corners of this image, they are going to stay dark. If I print it and find that the corners are too dark, there's nothing I can do to go back and change them.

So I'm going to perform my vignette on a copy of my image layer. Right here I have layer 0. This is the Background layer that contains my image. In your file it may say Background. I floated this layer at some point. It doesn't matter. I am going to duplicate it by picking it up and dropping it on the New Layer button right here at the bottom of Layers palette. Now you can see I have my original layer and a copy. These are identical. If I hide this one, nothing in the image changes, because all I am doing is revealing the identical copy down below.

So I am going to add my vignette to this copy. This way if I later decide I don't like the vignette or need to change the vignette, I can simply delete this layer, reduplicate my original, and reapply my vignette. Vignetting is easily done using the Lens Correction filter, which you saw earlier when we were correcting perspective. Now notice the preview is in color. That's because lens correction operates on the layer that I selected. And my black-and-white conversion and a lot of other edits were being performed by adjustment layers above that layer.

So I cannot actually see my vignette being applied along with all of my other adjustments. I am going to go over here to the Custom tab and right here I see Vignette controls: Amount, I can darken to the left, lighten to the right and Midpoint, which will control the size of the vignette. By lightening I can correct any vignette problems that my image may have. I can also create a burning-in effect. Obviously, that's not what we want. We want to darken the corners. So I am going to just pull this to the left and now I have this nice vignetting in my corners.

If I would like the darkness to pull in a little closer, like maybe closer to that tree, I will simply drag the Midpoint to the left. Then that changes the size of this overall circle of brightness in the middle. It's making it a little bit smaller. Now again, because I can't see the effects of my adjustment layers, some of which are causing parts of the image to get darker, I don't know how dark the vignette's ultimately going to be. This is another reason to work nondestructively, as we are by duplicating the layer. If I get this wrong, I can throw it out later and refine it.

I am going to go to about there and hit OK and let it process the vignette. It does some thinking and when it's done, I now have a layer on top of my original layer, that is, the vignette layer. If I hide it, you can see there's my original layer down below, the vignette up above. In fact, I am just going to double- click right here and label this Vignette. Now I know what this layer is doing. I am not sure. The corners might be a little dark. There are a couple things I can do to attenuate that. I can drag my Opacity slider for this layer to the left to lower the opacity.

That lightens things up a bit. I could also edit the corners individually by adding a layer mask to this layer. Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. If you are not clear about masking, that's covered in lots of other places in the lynda library, so I am going to just go through this pretty quickly. I have added a mask to this layer. Where the mask is white, those parts of this layer are visible; where it's black, the underlying layers will be visible. Right now, there is no black.

It's only white, so my entire vignetted layer is showing. If I take some black paint, click on this layer, grab a paintbrush, and paint into the corners, I am effectively erasing the vignette. That lets you see how far the vignette goes there. When I release the mouse button, you can see there's now black in this corner. That's blocking this part of this layer. I am going to undo that, because what I would like to do is actually lighten this corner up. So rather than paint with black, I am going to paint with a shade of gray.

That gives me a semi-opaque mask. If I just paint that out there and let go, you can see that now I have got gray here in this corner. This is revealing a little bit of this layer, but not all of it. So in this way I can go in and manually control each corner. Take a quick look at a couple of other vignetting examples here. Here is the case where I was looking into the sun. I like the silhouette of the trees, I like the shadow, but still my eye was wandering off the edges. Some simple vignetting in the corners brings my attention back here into the center.

Here is a very extreme example of vignetting. Again, my eyes were wandering away. These are pretty black, and they may print even blacker, so I don't know. I may back off on those. At the same time this is kind of a weird, almost surreally kind of landscape here. I like the sense of maybe I am looking through this lens that's too small for my camera. So vignette is a very simple technique to apply, thanks to Photoshop's Lens Correction filter, and it's also a great way to control the viewer's eye.

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