Photoshop Vignette Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect in Photoshop with Curves

3 April, 2014

This quick & simple Photoshop Vignette tutorial will show you how to create a vignette effect using curves in Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves Step 5b

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves - Step 1

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves step 2

You should now see your new adjustment layer in the layers panel and the curves adjustment panel should now be open.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves step 2b

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves step 3

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves Step 4

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves step 4b

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.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves Step 5

Once you are happy with your opacity settings, your effect is complete. Below you can see the difference between the original and edited versions.

Photoshop Tutorial: Creating a Vignette effect with Curves Step 5b

Written by Will

Creative Director Will has been with Evoluted since 2009. In his role leading the design team, he continues put his extensive experience to use on an impressively-diverse array of websites.. Will’s core skills include UX design, creative direction and responsive web design; whilst he’s also earned a renowned reputation as Evoluted’s chief provider of internal, novelty animated gifs.

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