Vignetted colors and photos in InDesign

The most visited post on Sketchbook B is a 5-year-old tip for InDesign CS4 on how to create a simple vignette effect within InDesign. I decided to update it with some additional approaches.

Stacked option for solid color blocks

Start with two identical shapes. Make one darker than the other. Select the lighter image and apply a basic feather effect (Object > Effects > Basic Feather... or via the Effects palette). You can experiment with the corner style, size of the feather and noise. Place the lighter colored shape on top of the darker one to get the vignette effect.

 Place the lighter shape on top of the darker shape to get the vignette effect.

Place the lighter shape on top of the darker shape to get the vignette effect.

One important reminder: You can't do this with spot colors. For it to reproduce consistently, you'll need to use process colors.

Stacked option for pictures

Now for a twist. Want to add that Instagram-like vignette effect to a photo without opening Photoshop?

You'll need three boxes: two identical boxes containing your image and one with a black fill. Apply a multiply transparency to the black box. And apply the basic feather to one of the picture boxes. And stack them:

 Three boxes to make a vignetted image. Here, the black box has a 75% multiply transparency.

Three boxes to make a vignetted image. Here, the black box has a 75% multiply transparency.

The full image should be on the bottom. Then the black box. And the feathered image is on top. You can experiment with the transparency and blending mode to get the right effect.

Using inner glow instead

InDesign has an inner glow effect. Simply select your color block or photo and apply the inner glow effect (Object > Effects > Inner Glow... or via the Effects palette).

Set the color to black and the blending mode to multiply. You can play with the color, size and noise settings to customize the effect. The end result is something like this:

So if using the inner glow is so much faster, why not use it exclusively? Stacking gives you a slightly different effect. I prefer the stacking approach for large blocks of color and the inner glow for photos. But in the end, it's personal preference.

Every Wednesday, I post a quick tip for an Adobe app.