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Typically we want to avoid lens vignette (light fall off at the corners of the photo) caused by lens itself or stacking too many filters on the lens, but sometimes it can add some intrigue to a photo. In this tutorial, I will show you how to add the effect using Nikon Capture NX 2. This technique is similar to the other tutorial I posted here: How To Create a Soft Fade Vignette Effect in Nikon Capture NX but with some twists.

The tool that does the trick is the Minus Oval Marquee section tool. After selecting the tool, drag the Edge Softness slider all the way to the right (100).

Hold down the shift key, click at the corner of the image, hold the mouse button and drag to the opposite corner. Holding down the shift key allows the selection to be a perfect circle. You may need to drag all the way out of the image boundary to make the diameter of the circle as large as the long side of the photo. If you have trouble doing so, you may need to zoom out and make the image window smaller. You should get something like the following.


In the Minus mode, the selection is actually the area outside of the circle. It is obvious the selection is not good: it is not centered vertically, so we need to move the selection around. To do so, hold down Alt key, this temporarily turns the tool into the plus mode (You can only move the selection in plus mode!). Now click anywhere within the selection (outside of the circle!) and drag it up to center the selection. The following shows you the region to click.


After the selection is centered on the image, you should have the following:


After making the selection, Capture NX2 creates an empty Edit Step in the Edit List. The next step is go to the Edit List and select Colorize as the adjustment. Pick black (RGB=0,0,0) as the color. You should get something like this:



If the effect is too strong to your taste, you can reduce it by lowering the opacity of the edit step. If you prefer even softer transition, you can go to the Edit List and increase the Feather setting of the Selection as shown in the following.


In another tutorial, How to Create LOMO Effect in Nikon Capture NX, I also showed a different technique to darken the edges of a photo. The method in this tutorial creates a perfectly circular vignette while the other method creates an irregular shaped one. If you want it to look like a real lens vignette, this method is the way go to.

Update: I found a flickr group Vignetting with 4K+ members!

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