by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (5)


December 14, 2010

When burning down edges in a traditional darkroom, the corners were often affected more than the sides (due to overlap). To achieve this effect in Photoshop, create a  new layer and set it’s blend mode to Multiply on the Layers panel. Then, select the Gradient tool and select the “foreground to transparent” gradient from the gradient picker (in the Options bar). Select a light to medium gray as your foreground color (or select black and lower the opacity of the Gradient tool) and set the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply. Position the gradient tool at the outside edge of the image and click-drag the gradient into the image as far as the burned edge is desired. Repeat for each edge.


The first illustration is of the original image. The second and third illustrations both show the darkening (burning) of the edges (both use a separate layer with their blend mode set to Multiply in the Layers panel and 50% gray as the foreground color). However, in the center illustration the blend mode for the Gradient tool is also set to Multiply - notice how the corners are darker than the sides. In the third illustration the blend mode of the Gradient tool was set to Normal - as a result, the corners and sides are all the same value. Obviously the edges are exaggerated here for demonstration purposes - to reduce the effect, you would simply decrease the opacity of the layer on the Layers palette.


  • By Hanske - 2:44 AM on December 15, 2010  

    Great! I want to learn more about it.


  • By Michele - 10:28 AM on December 15, 2010  

    Julieanne: Is there any way in which this can be made into an action to apply to any sized image?


  • By Julieanne Kost - 11:37 AM on December 15, 2010  

    Yes, this can be recoded as an action to use on any size image. The key is to set your Rulers and Units set to Percentage when you record the action. That way, when you run the action, the gradient will always be created at that same percentage (instead of a fixed value like one inch).

  • By William Bay - 2:40 PM on December 15, 2010  

    The percentage thing makes a LOT of sense to do that as an action. That always tripped me up for automating that process.
    I prefer this much more than Lightroom’s vignetting also, so I find myself in Photoshop for quite often for little touches like these.


  • By Michele - 6:26 AM on December 16, 2010  

    Brilliant – thanks for your help!