Creating a Vignette in PhotoShop Elements

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    Creating a Vignette in PhotoShop Elements

    Finished Image With Edits
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    Adobe's PhotoShop Elements is a stripped-down version of Photoshop, but it is still a powerful software application that is more than capable of adding lovely vignettes to your photos. Vignette is a term that indicates an area of an image, usually the border, that fades to black, white, or another color. Originally, vignettes were happy accidents due to a poor lens or camera design. As with many accidents, people realized vignettes are an attractive effect in some circumstances. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Selecting the Vignette Area

    Selecting Vignette Area of Image
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    Open an image in Photoshop Elements. If you need to edit the image in any way for orientation, red-eye or to crop and straighten, do it now. If you aren't already in Expert mode, click Expert at the top of the screen before you begin,

    The first step in creating a vignette effect is to define the area you want to remain untouched by the vignette. To do this, select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and draw the shape you want on top of the image. Don't worry if you don't get it in the right position at first. You can move the selection using your mouse or, for smaller increments, the arrow keys on the keyboard. To change the size of the selection, use Select > Transform Selection. Use the handles on the transform box that appears to adjust the size or shape of the selection. When you are happy with the selection, click the green check mark at the bottom of the selection to save it.

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    Inversing the Selection

    Inversing selection of Image
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    Since the vignette fills the area around the original selection, inverse the original selection. Go to the ​Select menu and choose Inverse. This tells the program that you want to work with the area surrounding your original selection.

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  • 04 of 06

    Refining the Edge

    Refining Edge of Image
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    If you leave the selection as is, there would be a sharp line between the vignette color and the original selection. To prevent this, use the software to feather the edge a bit. Return to the Select menu, but this time choose Refine Edge. This brings up a pop-up menu with several sliders. First, click on the tiny thumbnail next to "View" and select Overlay to display a red tint on top of the part of the image that won't be altered.

    Next, use the feather slider to "fuzzy" the edge between the selection and the center of your image. The red tint indicates the amount of feather you are applying. The larger the number, the fuzzier the vignette effect. Click OK.

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  • 05 of 06

    Add the Color

    Adding Color to Image
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    Go to the Edit menu and select Fill Selection. This brings up another pop-up menu with options. Use the drop-down menu next to "Use" to pick the color you want to use for the vignette effect. Options include the current foreground and background colors, black, white and gray.

    Click Color to open the Color Picker, where you can pick any color. In the  Blending section, choose a mode of Normal from the drop-down menu or select an opacity option to adjust the strength of the vignette effect. Click ​OK to review the vignette.

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    Finished Image

    Finished Image with Edits
    © Liz Masoner licensed to, Inc.

    Save the vignetted image by selecting Save As from the File menu. This leaves the original photo untouched.