In GIMP 2.10 and newer, you can now use a built-in Vignette filter to easily and effectively create vignettes. Vignettes are a great way to frame your photos using black, white, or any color of your choice. They can be used as a basic frame to help the edges of your images fade out, or as a way to draw the viewer’s eye to a certain part of your image. Regardless of why you are using a vignette, GIMP has a really great GEGL filter for creating this effect. Here’s how to use it.
To access this new GEGL filter, go to Filters>Light and Shadow>Vignette.
This will bring up the “Vignette” dialogue box, which has a variety of options that allow you to customize the look of your vignette. The default settings create a black, circular vignette using the aspect ratio of your image, which will produce a vignette that essentially overlaps the corner of your image.
To change the color of the vignette, click on the box labeled “Color” (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above) and choose from the Color dialogue. Or, you can simply use the color picker tool next to this box to choose a color from your image.
I’ll choose a light blue color, then click “OK.” Because this filter is a GEGL filter, you will see a live preview of your new setting directly on the image (the vignette is now light blue).
If I want to adjust the size of the vignette, I can drag the “Radius” slider (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above) to the left or right to increase or decrease the amount of space inside of the vignette. The higher the radius, the more the corners of the vignette will get pushed outward, and thus the less you will see of the vignette (as you can see in the photo).
The lower the radius, the more you can see of the vignette because the space inside the vignette shrinks (as demonstrated above).
The “Softness” slider (red arrow) adjusts the amount of fade your vignette has. The larger this number, the longer it will take your vignette to fade out, and so it will have a larger “soft” area. If you decrease this number, the vignette will fade out faster and thus will have a harder edge.
Similarly, the “Gamma” slider (red arrow) adjusts the “falloff linearity” – which essentially also controls how hard/soft the fade is around the edges of your vignette. The lower the number, the harder the edge your vignette will have. It decreases the overall area of the fade.
The “Proportion” slider adjusts the aspect ratio of your vignette. When this slider is set to “1.0,” it has the exact same aspect ratio as your image. If you set the Proportion to “0,” the vignette will be a perfect circle. So, in essence, any setting below 1.0 will be closer to a circle.
The “Squeeze” slider more intensely effects the aspect ratio of the vignette – and also allows you to squeeze the vignette horizontally or vertically. For example, increasing the squeeze will make the vignette very horizontally narrow (as demonstrated in the photo above).
Decreasing the squeeze (making the number negative) will make the vignette very vertically narrow (as demonstrated in the photo above).
The “Center X” and “Center Y” allow you to set the coordinates of the center of the vignette. By default, the vignette will automatically be centered on the image (with both X and Y sliders set to .5). If you adjust the “Center X’ value, the center of your vignette will shift left (lower than .5) or right (higher than .5) as demonstrated above.
If you adjust the “Center Y” value, the center of your vignette will shift up (lower than .5) or down (higher than .5) as demonstrated above.
The “Rotation” slider allows you to rotate the vignette around the center axis. By default, it is set to 0 and thus has no rotation. The rotation slider has a value of 0 to 360 – equal to the number of degrees rotation in a circle. If you have your vignette set to be a perfect circle (Proportion is set to 0), you will not notice any change when using the rotation feature.
However, if your proportion is any value greater than 0 (your vignette is not a perfect circle), you can see the effects of increasing the Rotation value.
At the top of the Vignette dialogue box, you will see that you can also change the shape of your vignette to a square or a diamond.
Click OK to apply your vignette, and the vignette will be applied to whatever active layer was selected when you opened the Vignette filter. If you want to make further edits to the vignette (i.e. adding blur, decreasing opacity, etc.), I recommend undoing the vignette (ctrl+z), then creating a new transparent layer (name it “Vignette”).
Then, if you want to use the same settings you just used before undoing the vignette, just go to Filters>Repeat “Vignette” (as shown in the photo above). This will apply the same vignette settings to the new layer.
You can now make further adjustments to the vignette layer, independent of the main image, if you would like (I decreased the opacity of the Vignette layer and added a Gaussian Blur)! I created a pretty abstract vignette for this tutorial for demonstration purposes – but you can create whatever type of vignette you would like for your images.
That’s it for this tutorial! If you enjoyed it, check out my other GIMP video tutorials and how-to articles on my Tutorials page or on my GIMP YouTube channel!