How to darken (or lighten) only the edges of an image

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This is quite easy, use the Dark Light effect and set the "Light Spread" angle to 0. Then you can adjust the color and size of the smoothly dark border to whatever you like.


Here is an example:





Note that the light spread angle has been set to 0. You can off course lighten the borders simply by changing the border color from black to white.


though in this case the Web Fade effect may be more flexible.