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Jan 08 2008 Posted by in multimedia | Comments Off on Vignettae

Just a little off the sides, please. I love me some vignettes, and incorporate them in some way on just about every graphic or video that crosses my transom. Most of the time it’s quite subtle, not just that templated “heavenly” or “dream sequence” white-corner effect.

Let’s say you’re doing some work for a big client leashed to their fascist color palette. It can be frustrating trying to give that mandated “Levitra purple” (PANTONE® 0469ED, I believe) background any character as a solid block. It’s practically expected these days to vignette this at some level. Well, that’s what I call it; you could look at it as a lighting effect, but you really shouldn’t brighten their color, only dim it. You might consider it a gradient ramp, but the vignette technique below is more flexible.

Just enlarge the canvas, draw a circle selection with lots of feathering on a new topmost layer, invert it, and paintbucket that black. Then change the canvas back to its original size. Now you have plenty of extra resolution to transform/distort the shape and size of this vignette layer to taste. Rarely would you want to keep it symmetrical on all four corners. Instead you’d move it around to only cover a portion of the image to create a more natural illusion of light falloff. It may end up as an oval rather than a circle, maybe even rotated, and likely at a lowered opacity.

This effect is also quite common even on text, where the edges fall off just a little to give the image some depth. See you in a darkened corner. . . .