05 Adding a vignette
Now I want to finish this picture off with a light vignette around the edges, and for this I’m going to close the Focus Bug panel and open the Vignette panel underneath.
This has sliders for adjusting the vignette Lightness and Midpoint… but first, I’m going to uncheck the ‘Vignette Follows FocusBug’ box. Now, when I create the vignette effect, it’s centred in the frame. This is the best approach if you want a regular, overall vignette effect, but if you want the vignette to be centred around your subject instead, you need to do it slightly differently…
06 Vignette Follows FocusBug
If you check the ‘Vignette Follows FocusBug’ box, the vignette is now centred around the currently selected Focus Bug. If there’s more than one, you can choose the Focus But you want using the list in the FocusBug panel.
I’ve chosen the elliptical Focus Bug I placed over the girl. Now, when I adjust the vignette controls, the lightening effect is centred around her rather than the centre of the picture. I think this works a little better in this instance, though you really have to judge it photo-by-photo.
07 The finished picture
The problem with fake depth of field effects is that you can never get them looking quite like the real thing! Focal Point 2 has a manual Focus Brush to blur areas that shouldn’t be sharp and sharpen areas that shouldn’t be blurred, but it’s easy to get caught up in long and painstaking adjustments that get you ever closer, but without ever quite achieving that ‘perfect’ result.
Instead, I think it’s a good idea to quit when the picture is ‘good enough’, and I think I’ve reached that stage here. There are details here and there that make it obvious to me that this a digital effect rather than an optical one, but the overall impression is still quite satisfactory.
If I’m honest, I think Focal Point 2’s vignette controls could be better, though. This was as subtle as I could make it, but from a distance the vignette effect around the girl is just a little too obvious. It’s not that the outer areas are too light, but that I couldn’t make the central area small enough or the blend subtle enough. Of course, you can always add a more controlled vignette effect in Perfect Effects.