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If you take pictures and the aperture settings are not ideal, you will see a light shadow in the corners.

Example:

example

This effect is a sign of bad quality, but is also often used as a design element in movies, pictures and so on - how is it called?

I want to use it, but I have no clue how it's called.

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Not always a sign of bad quality. My lens filters often create this effect due to them just being attached to my camera. Sometimes it just happens! –  Johannes Sep 28 '11 at 19:13
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1 Answer

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It is called Vignetting, which, as you described:

[…] is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the periphery compared to the image center.

It can appear as

  • Mechanical (filters used in a shoot, improper lens hood, etc)
  • Optical (lens)
  • Natural (illumination falloff)
  • Pixel (digital sensor's alignment to the scene)
  • Photographic film (the film's properties)

Nowadays it can be easily done in post-processing.

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