Vignette Effect

Vignette Effect

A vignette is a decorated border that softly fades at the edges of a picture so that the viewer’s attention is drawn to the center of the image.

Layers, the Zoom effect and the selection tools are used in this tutorial.

Step 1

Open the image to which you would like to apply the vignette effect.

Step 2

To create a vignette border, select the middle part of the image by using the Elliptical Marquee Tool. First, choose the Elliptical Marquee Tool in the Tools Palette. Then, hold down the Option key and start dragging from the center of the image to create a selection that covers the whole image except for the corners. Use the selection below as a reference.

Step 3

To soften the selection border, choose Edit > Refine Selection and drag the Smooth slider to 25%. Also drag the Feather slider to roughly 61% and adjust Smooth and Size to about 61 pixels. Click OK when you’re done.

Step 4

Choose Edit > Invert Selection to invert the selection so it includes only the corners of the image.

Step 5

Now, copy the selected area as a new layer. Control-click the canvas and choose Copy and Paste as Layer. Select the newly created layer in the Layers palette and set the Blending to Multiply.

Step 6

To give the image a special tint of color, add an old paper texture. Download the old paper texture from the Tutorial Resources to your Desktop and simply drag-and-drop it to your composition. If the image is not placed correctly when you drop it in, use the Move Tool to reposition it.

Once the old paper texture is in place, move its layer so it’s just under the background image layer in the Layers palette. Use the image below as a reference.

Step 7

For the old paper texture to take effect, select the Background image layer in the Layers palette. Next, set the Blending to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to about 79%. And, the vignette effect is done!

Tutorial Comments

  1. serjah -

    I feel smart here )))
    Meaning that its so easy…

  2. Danas -

    Easy and wonderful tutorial!

  3. jghorton -

    Is it possible to correct vertical distortion in say tall buildings?

  4. Ausra -

    @ jghorton, try the Transform Tool. Choose Edit > Transform and choose one of the distortion options Skew, Distort, Perspective from the Action menu in the Tool Options bar.

  5. nat -

    Was doing well until I couldn’t make the aged paper fit the size required in the background. I understand how to move the paper around in place but it appeared I needed it to enlarge the size of the paper in order it to cover the subject matter. Tried downloading several times and creating a new layer to see if I had done something wrong the first time but no luck . Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

  6. Ausra -


    Use the Transform Tool to resize the image. Choose Edit > Transform and adjust the size with the handles, or in the Tool Options bar (View > Show Tool Options).

  7. nat -

    @Ausra … Thankyou for some reason the tool options transform tool would not let me adjust it but it worked fine from the edit transform . Or perhaps it was a good night sleep and a retry ! Thanks again for going to the effort of responding . Much appreciated.

  8. cloudSlayer9816 -

    Another way to add a vignette is to click on the Vintage effect, make sure it’s set to “Normal”, And adjust the “Vignette” slider. You don’t have as much control as to where exactly the vignette is positioned (if you wanted to make an off-center vignette) or if you wanted to add a very strong one, but it is a quick, simple way.

    Thanks for the great software! Keep up the good work!


  9. KevinTheBright -

    A robust vignette tool would be a great add to Pixelmator.

  10. Jason -

    Surely you could just have a Vignette tool.

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