How to use a vignette in Silver Efex Pro

January 11th, 2012 by John Batdorff

Here’s a quick video on how I’ll use a vignette in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro to direct the viewer’s attention in the frame.

How to use a vignette in Silver Efex Pro Video Transcript

Hi, everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I thought we’d process this image of the Great Migration that was shot in the Serengeti earlier this year. What I like about this image is I have the wildebeest here just staring at me dead center of the frame. And so I think we can apply a small vignette to really draw more attention to this image. It appears a little flat in color, but if you look at the histogram and take a look at this dip here, that represents the contrast. And so I think once we convert this out, we’ll have a decent image to work with.

Let’s open this up in Silver Efex Pro, and this is the default conversion. It’s still kind of flat, but we’re going to make a couple quick maneuvers here to bring it to life. Let’s work the structure on the global adjustment. I’m going to increase this and then moving it to the right that’s increasing it. I think I’m going to wind up right around 60, and that works nicely. Now I’m going to increase the highlights a little bit and then the shadows. I think that’s making this image pop pretty well. One thing I want to point out whenever you’re using the structure sliders, if you have a lot of noise in your image, it’s going to bring that to life as well. So, either you work the noise early on and get rid of it early on using Define or Light Rims Noise Reduction, or you deal with that on the back side. I typically deal with it on the back side, but it really depends on the image. This one, if there is a lot of noise, I’ll probably deal with it, like I said, on the back side.

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this image right here. What I’m going to do next is come on down and use the color sliders. I want to get this beard to pop a little bit more, the highlights if you will. So I’m going to use the yellow and increase it. You’ll notice it’s slight. If we go all the way down, they’re darker, and the image as a whole is a little darker and go all the way up There we go.

The next scene I want to do I think I’m going to… Before I do the vignette, I’m going to burn in this right up here. You’ll notice, and you can see kind of shadow right here, these are the wildebeests running in the background. We could put a control point here, but I think what I’m going to do is just use a burn edge tool to burn this in. Let’s grab the top edge, increase the strength so we can see what we’re doing and the size. See how that’s coming to life here? I’m going to use a transition a little bit, maybe, a little bit more strength until we get it about right so the shapes are coming out. We can pretty much make out what this is.

What I like about this, too, is it’s really doing some nice things with the light here. So when we apply this vignette, I think it’s really going to throw a nice focus right here in the center. Now let’s work with the vignette, and you can drop down. I’ll use a lens fall off one oftentimes. In this case, I think I’m going to go two. Let’s take a look at the difference here. Yes, I think two. I may even increase that a little bit. I like it right there. I think that works. So what we did with this image is we added structure to make it pop a little bit more. We burned the top in a little bit so we can see the wildebeest running in the background. We used the yellow slider to brighten up the beard a bit and the image as a whole because there was a little bit of yellow in here, pretty simple maneuvers, and I think this image does a nice job now of drawing our attention right here to the center.

I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email. I’m John@BatdorffPhotography. Take care.

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One Response to “How to use a vignette in Silver Efex Pro”

  1. JB says:

    It would be interesting if you would toggle the preview on and off a few times during the tutorial. That would let us get a better look at the edits. I know that I can scroll back and forth through the video, but that’s not as effective.

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