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How to create a vignette in Adobe Premiere Elements

A vignette is a elliptical effect for making your video look more professional. It creates a black border around the footage. The difference is subtle but makes the difference between an amateuristic look and a professional one.


In a short tutorial I will explain how to create a vignette in Adobe Premiere Elements. I’ve used Premiere Elements 8.0, but it wil probably also work for earlier versions such as 7.0 and 6.0. The footage I’ve shot was made with a Sony HDR-HCE9 which shoots High Definition Widescreen material.


The first step is to create an image in Adobe Photoshop (or any other image editing software) which functions as the vignette overlay. This is how I’ve done it but I guess it depends on the camera and software you use.

  1. Create a blank file. I’ve choose a resolution of 72 dpi (because I was gonna use the video on the web) and used the dimensions 1920×1080 pixels. Choose a white background or create a white background layer once you’ve created the file.
  2. Place a black eclipse on the background with a very smooth edge. I’ve used a feather of 150px. There are different methods of getting the same result. I placed a black layer on top of a white background, used the Elliptical Marquee tool to make a selection which doesn’t fit the workspace exactly. Then I inverted the selection (ctrl+shift+i) so the selection is no longer the eclipse but everything surrounding the eclips. Then press delete to create white feathered edges.
    Preview of the use of the Eclips selection tool for creating a vignette in Adobe Premiere Elements

    Preview of when the inverted selection of the Eclips tool is deleted
  3. Save the file as a png-24 file and check the transparency box so the background (white part) will be transparent.


The next step is to place the PNG file over the footage you’ve made by applying an effect.

  1. Go to Edit > Effects and select the effect ‘Image Matte Key’ which is filed under the Keying effects.Creating a vignette by applying the Image Matte Key effect in Adobe Premiere Elements
  2. Drag and drop the ‘Image Matte Key’ effect on the shot. The effect will appear in the effects overview. Nothing will happen in the preview pane.
  3. Select the effect by clicking it once and press the button ‘Edit Effects’. Maybe you have to click to arrow to show the Image Matte Key options. Make sure the reverse box is checked and the Composite Using is ‘Matte Luma’.Make sure the right settings are applied and search for the button with the small arrow to choose the PNG file
  4. Next to the ‘clock’ image you’ll find a list-with-arrow button. Click it to open a popup and submit your PNG file you’ve created.
  5. When everything is right, the magic has happened. In the preview pane you will see the vignette applied to the footage.


I haven’t figured out a way to apply the effect to all the scenes, but I’m sure the will be an easy solution. I’ve done it as followed:

  1. Deselect all effects but the Image Matte Key effect
  2. Right click the video footage where the effect is already applied on and click ‘copy’
  3. Select all the footage by holding shift and clicking the footage
  4. Right click on the video footage where you want to copy the effect and click ‘paste attributes’. The effect has now been copied.

The end result will look like this (before and after the vignette is applied).

Shows the footage before and after the vignette effect is applied


Play with the measurements of the eclipse in the PNG file to determine the amount and heaviness of the vignette. Some like it dramatic and add a lot of vignette. In this tutorial I’ve used it very subtle just to make the video look more professional.

I’ve attached the PNG file I used on my video. You can download it here!


Feel free to leave comments, like it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter or place a link to my website. Every contribution is appreciated and will motivate me to write more tutorials! Thanks for reading.

1 Comment

  1. SushiGuy · February 15, 2013 Reply

    Good tutorial. I am working in Vegas Movie Studio, not Premiere Elements but the same concept applies. Thanks for the downloadable PNG file.

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