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More on Vignettes

A simple, often-overlooked technique to add sophistication to your graphics.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 28, 2013

masking to create a vignette

Earlier this week, we posted a video on using 3D lights in After Effects to enhance a scene. One of the main reasons for doing so was to add a vignette, where the edges of the frame were darkened, and the center of the frame - where the main action occurred and the main title appeared - was brightened. It’s not as sexy as blowing something up, but it is an effective, more subtle way to help focus the viewer’s attention on the area we wanted, and not have them unduly distracted by non-essential action happening in the background.

A few years ago, we created an entire video course dedicated to different ways of creating vignettes. Among the techniques demonstrated were:

  • masking
  • gradients
  • painting
  • effects
  • 3D lighting

We also demonstrated a few alternative approaches, including using blending modes and combining multiple images.

The first movie below is an overview explanation of the course, while the second movie demonstrates the masking technique inside After Effects:

 
 
If you’re not already a Lynda.com subscriber, you can click here to start a free 7-day all-access trial; note that they will ask for your credit card up front in the event you like what you see and decide to continue with a regular subscription.
 

blending effected version of a shotIf you’re the type who prefers to read rather than watch videos, we created a pair of written tutorials for Artbeats.com on the subject:

Both articles focus on using Adobe After Effects, but also touch on using Apple Motion.

Going even further, fellow PVC writer Rich Young created a nice round up of vignette techniques in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro.

 
 
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Comments

onehundredtrees: | March, 08, 2013

Thanks for posting this!

Vignetting is one of my favorite effects and I use it regularly.  Really underappreciated, isn’t it?  Hardly a photo or video clip that can’t benefit from at least a little subtle directing of the eye towards a point of interest.

I’m making my way through your fantastic AE Apprentice course over at lynda.com. 

Thanks so much.  It’s incredible!

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