Video – Vignetting and Edge Darkening

Today I had to share something that happened to me recently when I was working on my photos. I don’t know why it happens but there’s a noticeable difference in the edge-darkening effects that the Lens Correction sliders give vs. the Post-Crop Vignetting sliders. To me, one is clearly better then the other. In the video, I’ll go over each one and I think you’ll see which one wins out in a heartbeat. I’m also interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter to see if you’ve come across the same issue.

Thanks again for sharing your time with me through another great week. If you live up north anywhere then stay out of the snow and if you’re down south then enjoy the nice weather. I know I’m gonna. :)

Click here to download the video

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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43 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed the same thing, and never use post-crop vignettes, even though I almost always use the pre-crop ones. since I often crop to 4×5, this is often a problem.

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  2. Dude! I don’t even have to watch the video to know what you’re talking about. First time I tried using post crop, I thought “that looks…terrible”.

    I live up north. You know where Dave lives? Well, lived, I suppose. That is to me as Florida is to New York. Way up north. It’s kinda impossible to stay out of the snow, as there is snow for six months of the year.

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  3. hey matt,

    i have the same feelings on this topic, i will make a virtual copy crop it and exxpot it to the same folder as originals and then use lens correction. seems a bit of a hassle but it works, you just have to syncronize the folder and add the files before. another tip is to export the copy as a tiff 16bit to save maximum quality before you sync the folder and apply lens correction and then export as jpeg for printing and such.

    as a secomd note, i find lens correction in PS acts the same way as post crop in how it looks. i usually apply it twice with same setting (using ctrl/cmd f to re-apply). then i use the history brush ( with my history point selected right before my first lens correction filtering ) to go over the image and define my vinette further.

    Thanks for all the tips and info,

    Ron

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  4. Matt:

    These two sliders are clearly using different algorithms, and the post-crop could hardly be considered superior. Traditionally, there have been numerous ways to create the effect, and I had assumed that LR was using all the data available to it and essentially decreasing the exposure, rather than doing a multiply or black overlay effect.

    We need Tom Hogarty to comment on this, since it is an extremely important capability for most photgraphers. Can you or Scott get this in front of him?

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  5. Matt:

    I agree 100%. And just to reiterate what BH said, leverage those Adobe connections to get this fixed. Somehow the black in the lens correction is missing from the grey post crop.

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  6. Without watching the video or reading the comments I am going to say that the post-crop vignette stinks!!! Why Adobe created such a terrible function, I’ll never know. If only they had built the same algorithm for post-crop that they did for the lens-correction… my beef list is building… Aperture here I come…

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  7. count me in as another lens correction lover. i didn’t understand from the release of v2 why everyone loved post-crop. it also looked bad to me, although i couldn’t put my finger on it either. thanks matt for pointing it out!

    it would be great if adobe changed this in an upcoming version.

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  8. Wow, I’m glad I watched. I hadn’t caught the difference. I’ve always thought the vignetting was nice, but not all that exciting. You’ve hit upon the difference. We should be lobbying Adobe to make the post-cropping vignette match up with the algorithm used on the lens correction. Thanks!

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  9. Matt,
    I’m still puzzled I have never had any trouble downloading these videos until the last video on the printing and now todays will not download either. All I’m getting is a white page with symbols and letters. Any help would be appreciated!
    Thanks

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  10. Very interesting for sure. I never really noticed, but that’s probably because I use a very thin, dark, pretty much squared off post crop vignette when I use it. It’s almost like a pseudo frame. Aside from the obvious gray, drab look of the post crop, I’d love to be able to “center” the post crop vignette in LR around any point I choose in the frame (a rule of thirds point for example).

    I like the multiply blending mode option in PS because I can follow the shape of the subject more easily and choose where the “center” of the vignette is. However, I tend to use a soft, large brush and a quick mask, then duplicate the selection onto a new layer. Maybe I’ll post a vid on it soon too.

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  11. Matt,

    I’ll second Mark Hoyle’s comment about the downloading problem. Have noticed this for a week or two now – clicking for the download does not work and hangs the browser. (Using Leopard on PowerPC)
    My solution is either to Ctrl click on the hypertext and choose download target, or go to iTunes to view the video there.
    Not a big deal but thought you’d want to be aware of it.
    Thanks for all the K tips – keep them coming

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  12. Matt, thank you.

    Just like everyone above, I knew what the video was about before I watched it. Thanks for drawing attention to this.

    Puh-lease Adobe, fix this. An easy update for all of us paying customers should fix this easily.

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  13. Hi Matt,

    I agree of course. Not sure what happened in Adobe’s thinking here. In their defence they were reacting to something that everyone was calling for, and the addition of the roundness and feather sliders shows that they were thinking it through and trying to give us something more (the old adage springs to mind : ‘don’t give them what they want, give them what they need’).

    But, something went wrong in quality control for the way post-crop vignette is implemented. I agree with what some have been saying here – we need to hear from Adobe directly to understand what happened here. Otherwise we’ll just continue speculating away. ‘Cmon Matt, you know guys, you know strings… pull ‘em!!

    Anyway, I almost always use the camera vignettes, but occasionally I do find a use for the post-crop vignette. Especially if I’m processing a B&W image which calls for a very low-key, high contrast effect. Also, I stumbled across a nice effect you can get with the post-vignette sliders which I blogged about here:

    http://mirmilant.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/lightroom-tip-rounded-photo-border/

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  14. Thanks for your explaination…
    Didnt realize that its different since usually i used both of the setting at the same time…
    for cropped image usually i set the lens correction to -100..
    then start working with the post-crop to get the edge darkening…
    though sometimes it may not work…

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  15. There is a whole tread about this at the Adobe Lightroom Forum (http://tinyurl.com/all4g4)

    Of note Eric Chan—the Adobe Camera RAW engineer genius who pretty much made the camera profiles settings in Lightroom said this about this issue:

    “Post-crop vignette was neither designed nor intended to emulate the lens vignette effect. It was designed to perform the white/black frame vignette that Lee Jay describes, to address a common request that we got from users.

    I understand completely that some users also wish to have a dark-direction post-crop vignette whose behavior is more similar to the existing lens vignette correction (i.e., in that it actually reduces exposure, instead of mixing in black), for different aesthetic reasons. That is fine, but that is a separate request.”

    The question is why doesn’t Adobe allow us a crop tool that acts the same as the lens correction tool? It’s beyond me.

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  16. Matt-

    Great tip!, I was just pondering if you old edge darkening presets were still relevant to Lightroom 2 and whether or not to keep them in my presets database. I know this is a little off topic of vignetting, but have you tried the Adobe DNG Camera Profiles Editor? I downloaded to try it out and its AWESOME in my opinion. Apparently, if you are not happy with the results of the Camera profiles that Adobe released with ACR and Lightroom 2, you can further customize those Nikon/Canon profiles with the Profile editor. Check it out, may be of benefit to do a video for the subscribers of this blog.
    Thanks,
    Jason

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  17. Matt,

    Since the day I installed LR2, I have shunned the Post Crop Vignetting! It’s horrible in comparison to the Lens Correction trick.

    Should I have to crop and I decide to use the edge vignetting, I simply go to Photoshop and take care of it there.

    Cheers,

    Stephen

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  18. Matt,

    I’ve given up on using the post-crop vignetting and just use PS with a layer set to multiply. It’s a step that Scott recommends in his 7-step book and I love the additional control it gives me. Plus, I love the sharpening I can get in PS CS3.

    Eric

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  19. Dear Matt,
    Appreciate the site very much but It would be great if we didn’t have to download the videos but could rather watch them on the site instead. Had trouble downloading this one and downloading has taken a while with others. Then after watching I have to delete to save disk space. Can we just watch them on the site?
    Thanks,
    Richard

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  20. One technique that I’m surprised no one else has mentioned is the adjustment brush.

    I find this to be the perfect marriage between the two. I can apply it whether or not I’ve cropped the image, it actually *burns* the colors in the vignette and doesn’t just slap a drab grey layer above it, and I have complete control over where it shows up, allowing me to direct attention to specific areas.

    The two downsides to this are that a) the brush can be a little slow and choppy if your system is less-than-uber, and b) the brush feathering/softness could be better. But despite that, I still find it a superior means of vignetting in Lightroom.

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  21. Post crop works fine for B&W, but as demonstrated, fails the color test. I never realized just how dramatic the difference was. Mike’s suggestion of using the adjustment brush is a good one if you don’t want to open Photoshop.

    Overall, my impression was that it was so nice to see that Matt gets out of the office every now and again!

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  22. This is the 2nd time that I’ve been unable to download your video – I get stuff on my screed that looks like this and no video – !”#$%&’()*+,-./0123456789:; ?@ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ[]^_`abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz{| ?hstsz1?q?S{u??S[kRL?oak?qwQd?*4jRHZXQdlqhekS_TPVS:?ojw]216`n?OLUaT?OFLp?/25H?i??{?????t{???D?xt??]???????A)?CHj???????*/GJ??????sb.!

    What can I do to get the video – I used to be able to get them easily but not any more. Any help would be most appreciated! Thank you!!

    Post a Reply
  23. LISTEN UP EVERYONE WHO IS HAVING ISSUES WITH DOWNLOADING LIGHTROOM KILLERTIPS VIDEOS…..

    USE I-TUNES… THATS RIGHT, IF YOU USE I-TUNES AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST (ITS FREE) YOU CAN DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIDEOS. IF YOU NEED TO SAVE DISC SPACE, AFTER YOU DOWNLOAD AN EPISODE, YOU CAN BURN IT TO CD AND PLAY IT ANY TIME IN QUICK TIME (THAT COMES WITH I-TUNES FREE ALSO)

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  24. Matt – and all this time I honestly thought it was just me. My experience has been that the post crop tool just wasn’t as “natural”.

    On the flip side – I’ve learned that I can use the post crop tool in some interesting ways (when used sparingly) – such as creating a very hard line to frame the image with inside rounded corners (while keeping it straight on the edges) or to only keep a hard triangle in each corner to give it a sort of “mounted” scrapbook look. I don’t think I currently have an example of either of these on my website – but I’ll try to throw some examples up there in the next few days. -Jones

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  25. Instead of the adjustment brush what about adding 2, 3 or 4 exposure gradients to the edges. They are faster than brushing and easy to adjust. You can also experiment with going parallel to sides or dragging in from corners for some compositions.

    I’d had a funny (uneasy) feeling about the post crop effect for a while now but couldn’t put my finger on it until watching this video. -Thanks Ron

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  26. Hi Matt – thanks for the video. I was so excited to hear that LR2 had post-crop vignetting, but when I tried them, I HATED how it looked! You are so right – blah. I still use your original edge darkening presets – the first presets and downloaded from you and I still love them!

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  27. Matt
    I had a similar problem when I tried to apply a post-crop vignette to a sepia toned image. The vignette was not sepia, it was just blah gray. Then I realized that the original vignette tool changes pixels, whereas the post-crop tool just applies a ‘mask’ to the image. The way I got around it was to crop the image and make whatever changes I wanted to make, including the crop, export it as a tif to the same file in the catalog, synchronize the folder in the library dropdown, then apply the pre-crop vignette and voila!

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  28. As one of the earlier posters stated I don’t even have to watch the video to know that you’re talking about. I HATE the post-crop vignette tool. I always use the lens correction when possible as the result is MUCH more appealing. I have tried very hard to get the same results out of the post-crop tool with little success. There are a few images that I can get to look close but if I try those same settings on another image I get much different results.

    One trick I tried which didn’t work as well as I had hoped was comparing and adjusting the lens correction and post-crop tools on a pure white image… but because they are apparently usnig different algorithms I could get them appearing close but when they were used on a real image the results were comlpetely different.

    GRRR please fix this adobe or give some kind of extra slider that changes the algorithm / effect the post-crop has to allow us to make it more like the lens correction!!!

    Post a Reply
  29. Hi,

    I’ve also noticed the “error” regarding post crop although I havn’t been able to figure out why some photoes turn out well – and then some don’t.

    To Kay:
    Try receiving the files from the RSS feed or reinstall Quicktime.

    Post a Reply
  30. Sorry I’m not sure exactly where to post this question so I’ll just start here if that is okay. Is there a way in Lightroom to imbed the original file name in the metadata when changing the file name – similar to Adobe Bridge? I would like to change the files names of edited files but it would be very helpful at times to be able to reference the original file if needed.

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  31. Hey Matt, Totally agree and hence don’t use post crop much at all. It kills the photo totally.

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  32. If the color, exposure and contrast tools of the graduated filter could be added to the post crop vignette it would work perfectly and with some good creative control.

    As one poster mentioned, I also use the graduated filters ganged up around the border of the image to create a pretty decent vignette effect that doesn’t add the muddy gray to colors. Its not perfect because the effect gets stronger where the gradients overlap but it works pretty charmingly as a bandage until Adobe can come up with something better.

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  33. Hi Matt – great tip as always and thanks for all you do. One thought on this – should you adjust your “Updated Auto Fix” presets from January 13? I believe they use post-crop vignettes. I use those presets but have updated them to remove the post-crop vignette (I found I was usually removing it anyway manually, so finally got around to updating my preset).

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  34. Matt,

    Jack Davis has recently addressed and explained this issue with his new Lightroom video tutorial on Kelby Training….check out the lesson titled “Global Optimizing: Part 3 Post Crop Vignettes. Jack basically explains that Lens Correction was designed as a dodge and burn to assist in creating a consistent exposure across the entire photo. When photographers asked for a way to create a vignette on cropped photos Adobe created the Post Crop feature that basically adds black and/or white paint. I don’t like the post crop feature as well and your suggestion of Photoshop and blending modes is a much better way to achieve this with cropped photos. In his tutorial Jack mentioned that Adobe will be addressing (or he hopes so) this issue in future Lightroom releases. Hope this helps.

    Jeff

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  35. Thanx. What a difference. I’ll immediately stop that post-crop now I’ve seen the difference.
    The only thing you can you post crop for, is when part of the effect may be some desaturation. So for your beach photo, you’re right, but in a foggy city street I can imagine the post crop will work.
    For sure the LR guys will follow your site closely and I would bet that next update we’ll get a solution for this ‘black curtains’.

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  36. thanks matt,
    i’m glad i kept your first set of presets.

    lens correction blows!!!

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  37. duh,
    make that “post crop blows”

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  38. Matt,
    You mentioned how you dup the layer in ps and set blending mode to multiply then brush out. Well… I’m not sure if this is helpful or not, but I take the selection tool, select the subject, select inverse, refine edge, Ctrl J, set to multiply, and then tweek the opacity.

    Hopefully that saves time w/ your brush by trying to make all edges look even.

    Post crop NOR lens correction gives you this amount of control at all given sometimes the subject isn’t smack in the middle.

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  39. hi matt,

    I’m only an amateur photographer. I don’t even know what lens correction is, but stumbled on it when learning to use lightroom and the vignette sliders, and it didn’t take me long to work out what is more asthetically appealing to the eye, and gives a more natural result, def lens correction, though thankyou for pointing this out!

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  40. thanks for the sharing. it’s useful information for beginner like me.

    Post a Reply
  41. i just noticed this one today…

    darn, and i was hoping for a fix / workaround.

    oh well, thanks!

    Post a Reply
  42. Ok here re my thoughts

    If you wanna selective edge darkenin in Lr
    with YOUR darkenin preferences contrast, color etc
    make 2 gradients with same characteristics
    one from top to down
    other from bottop to top
    What u have made is one non degrade filter from 2 opposite degrades…
    … with for example… -2 exposure,+30 contrast, ……

    The second step is brushing in the center with a big Brush SELECTIVELY , in +2 Exposure, -30 contrast,
    What u made is balancing selectively the 2 filters above in the center (or elsewher) developing an edge effect

    You can save it as preset…

    Bye from Greece

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