Creating Vignettes using the
Marquee and Custom Shape Tool

Creating a Vignette
Square images can be boring if we use too many of them in our displays or on our web pages. For variety we can create a Vignette of the image. See the examples below.
Visit the Photo Samples page for images and more tips.





  1. Correct the photo if needed.
  2. Duplicate the Background Layer by dragging the Layer onto the New Layer Button.
  3. Choose the Oval or Square Marquee Tool.
  4. Draw an Oval or Square around the person.
  5. Set feather to 15 to 25. This is your choice. The higher the number the more feathering.
  6. Copy your selection.
  7. Create a new layer using the New Layer Button.
  8. Paste your image.
  9. Hide the other Layers by clicking on the small eyes on the left of the layer 

Note: You can deselect an area by pressing Control D in Windows or Command D on a Mac.
Note: You can create a similar effect by choosing a soft brush and using the Eraser Tool.

Oval, round and square vignettes are nice, but sometimes you might want to make a vignette in the shape of a star, a heart, a triangle or any of the other hundred or so shapes in Photoshop Elements. It takes a few steips, but it is not difficult.
  • Open an image you want to use for your vignette.
  • Duplicate the Background Layer by dragging the layer onto the New Layer Button.
  • Select the Custom Shape Tool from the Shape Tool on the Tool Bar.
  • Select a Custom Shape from the list.
  • Draw a shape to cover the area where you want to create the vignette.
  • Note: You might have to move the shape to get it to cover the area you want. (Also, you can use draw from center to make the task easier.)
  • Using the Opacity Slider Bar you can make your shape semitransparent.
  • Select your shape by using the Magic Wand to select the shape by clicking on the inside of the shape.
  • Optional: If you want to have a fuzzy edge to your vignette choose Feather from the Select Menu. In my example I set the feather to 10.
  • Select the Background Copy Layer by clicking on it.
  • Choose Copy from the Edit Menu.
  • Choose Paste from the Edit Menu.
  • Hide the other layers by clicking on the eye found to the left of each layer except for your vignette layer.

If you don't have Photoshop Elements, the next best thing is Picassa. Picassa is a great free program from Google.

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These materials were created by Jim Wenzloff. You are welcome to reproduce them for educational purposes providing you include my name and the web address of the page. If you have any questions please contact