Jun 2013

Creating Simple Vignette Effects with the GiMP

The GNU Image Manipulation program (also known as the GiMP) can be used to do all sorts of interesting things from resizing to making an image look like it was taken in 1865. In this text we look at one of my favorite things to do with the gimp: simple vignette effects.

Adding Edge Shading

First here is the original, a picture of a brand new surfboard:

Lost Rocket 1

Not very exciting to look at (but a bunch of fun to ride that is for sure!). The first thing we need to to is add a transparent layer. This layer will be used to create edge shading. On the menu select Layer -> New Layer. A dialog box will come up, make sure under the Layer Fill Type that Transparency is selected, then click OK.

With the new layer added, select the paintbrush icon in the tools applet then click on the Brush under the paintbrush dialog in te Toolbox. Select a larger brush, we are going to fill in a black area around the edges of the transparent layer. It should end up looking something like this:

Lost Rocket 2

Now we apply a blur effect, from the image window select Filters -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. A diaglog will come up, we want to change the radius to a much larger number. In the case of this particular image around 60 is good:

Gimp 1

Then click okay, the result should be something similar to this:

Lost Rocket 3

Colored Layer

With the border shading done it is time to add a colored layer. On the toolbox in the middle there should be a Black square with a White square underneath. Those are the Foreground and Background default colors. Click on the White square and choose a light color that is desaturated. In our example a sunflower yellow is used. Next add another layer but instead of Transparency select Background color. In the bottom of the toolbox click on the small arrow and select Add Tab -> Layers. A tab should come up called Layers, the very first item on the tab is Mode, select Overlay and here is the end result:

Lost Rocket 4

Summary & Next Time

Simple vignette effects are fine but if you are like me the details that can be attended to are ... well seemingly limitless. In the next article about the gimp a look at using multi colored layers, different degrees of blurring radius for different images and applying some other stock effects filters to enhance (or sometimes clarify) a vignette'd image.