… for Visual Effects
Tip #394: Why Use Vignettes
Vignettes conjure emotions of the “old times,” romance, and warmth.
A vignette, in film, darkens the edges of the frame to focus the attention of the eye on the brighter portion of the image at the center.
In the old days, photographs created these automatically because the lens was not particularly good at passing the same amount of light across the entire exposure. The center was always brighter than the edges.
Since those early days, lenses have improved tremendously, which is why we associate vignettes with older images, romance, or something historical.
This screen shot illustrates a vignette – see the darkening from the center out to the edges of the image? It also illustrates a typical use – to subtly highlight the subject at the center, while lending a feeling of warmth and romance to the image.
To be most effective, a vignette should be subtle; it’s a darkening of the edges, not a spotlight on the center.