More on Vignettes

A simple, often-overlooked technique to add sophistication to your graphics.
Chris and Trish Meyer
By Chris and Trish Meyer 02.27.13

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:

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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 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.