Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves
This quick & simple tutorial will show you how to create a vignette effect using curves in Adobe Photoshop.
Vignette, or “Vignetting” is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the periphery compared to the image center. Traditionally this was often an unintended effect caused by lens limitations or camera settings. It is also used for creative effect, to draw attention to the centre of the frame.
With the popularity of image sharing services such as Instagram, vignette effects can be regularly seen as it features on many of the image filters that are available.
Step 1: Open your image
The first step is to open up your image in Adobe Photoshop. It’s good to use an image with a central subject that you would like to highlight. Here I’m using a photo of my dog Bruce, that I took on my phone last summer.
Step 2: New adjustment layer
Next, go to the layers panel & click on the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” button, then click on “Curves” on the dropdown.
You should now see your new adjustment layer in the layers panel and the curves adjustment panel should now be open.
Step 3: Adjust curves
Now we can adjust our curves. Simply drag the black node across, you will instantly see the image change. Then you can grab the middle of the curve and adjust that slightly till you receive your desired effect. The effect will look very strong at this stage, but we can change that next.
Step 4: Create gradient
The next step is to create the gradient. Make sure your default colours are black (foreground) & white (background). Select the gradient tool in the left hand tool panel and then make sure you have the radial gradient selected in the top tool options bar.
With the gradient tool, simply click & hold on a central point in your image and drag outwards towards the edge. Then let go and you will see the radial gradient effect has been applied. You can try dragging your gradient tool at different lengths to get stronger or more subtle effects.
Step 5: Adjust opacity
Now your image has a vignette effect. You may be happy with this exactly how it is, or you may wish to tone down the effect slightly with the layer opacity tool.
Once you are happy with your opacity settings, your effect is complete. Below you can see the difference between the original and edited versions.