This method for watermarking your photos will allow you to create a 'Photoshop Action' that will place your watermark in the same place and at the same size automatically on all of your images. Aware that photographers produce images at different sizes, we will create our 'Watermark Action' to fit the smallest size of a 6x4in portrait image to ensure that our watermark will fit on all of our larger images.
1 Firstly, we need to create a vector or path outline of the watermark to be used. This could be your company logo as used on your letterheads and business cards or even simpler, your company name in your favorite font.
2 In Photoshop, create a new document, Width: 3 inches x Height: 3 inches, Resolution: 300 pixels per inch (ppi) and the Colour Mode: Greyscale, Contents: White and click 'OK'.
Note: This 'Canvas' has been created square to allow anyone with a round logo to make it as large as possible.
3 The next stage suggests two methods for creating a 'Custom Shape'. 3i, for anyone with a logo in a vector file format (Adobe Illustrator file or similar) and 3ii, for Photoshop users wanting to create their own watermark using the text tools.
Users with vector logos
Open your vector logo in its native application. Using the 'Selection' tool, select the logo and if not already converted to an outline - do so (Depending on your vector application the command 'Convert to Outline' will vary). Choose from 'File' menu, 'Copy'. With the logo copied to the clipboard, move back into Adobe Photoshop.
Paste the outlined logo into the newly created 3 x 3 canvas. If prompted, choose 'Path' from the 'Paste' options. Now, from the 'Edit' menu select 'Free Transform' and using one of the transform corners resize the logo to be as large as possible within the canvas (holding down the 'Shift' key to scale the logo proportionally). In the 'Options' bar, click the tick to accept the transformation.
To add the shape the library, choose 'Define Custom Shape' from the "Edit' menu and name the item 'watermark'. Click 'OK'.
Users creating their own watermark
Before continuing reset the default colours in the 'Toolbox' by pressing the 'D' on the keyboard. You should now have a black fill in the foreground swatch.
Select the 'Text' tool (T) from the 'Toolbox'. Now, select a font from the 'Options' bar and a font size - we have chosen to use 'Impact' and 40pt, and text alignment 'Center Text'. Click the 'Text' tool into roughly the centre of the canvas and type your watermark (Upper or Lowercase to suit you). In the 'Options' bar, click the tick to accept the text.
Note, if you are familiar with the 'Text' tools you can try using a 'Return' to stack text over two or more lines and adjust the 'Leading' and 'Letter Spacing' to create a more adventurous watermark.
From the 'Edit' menu select 'Free Transform' and using one of the transform corners resize the logo to be as large as possible within the canvas (holding down the 'Shift' key to scale the logo proportionally). In the 'Options' bar, click the tick to accept the transformation.
Go to the 'Layer' menu, highlight 'Type' and select 'Create Work Path'. This action converts the text to an outline vector path. To add the shape the library, choose 'Define Custom Shape' from the "Edit' menu and name the item 'watermark'. Click 'OK'.
4 With our 'Custom Shape' defined we can now begin to create our watermark.
Open an image with a typical resolution you consider to be suitable for printing (ideally between 200 - 300 ppi) and crop it to a Height of 6 inches and a width of 4 inches - this will be our test image.
5 In the 'Preferences', check that the 'Units and Rulers' are set to 'Inches'. 'Units' set to 'Pixels' or 'Percent' create a watermark that changes size based on the files resolution and will prove unreliable.
|6 Select from the 'Toolbox' the 'Custom Shape Tool' (U), found under the 'Rectangle Tool'. In the 'Options' bar, click on the drop-down menu for 'Shape' and select your shape named 'watermark'.
|7 In the image, place the 'Custom Shape Tool' close to the rulers with a small margin of approximately 5mm from the top and left of the document. Holding the 'Shift' key, drag the 'Custom Shape' until it almost fits the width of the photo.
8 From the 'Layer' menu, choose 'New' and select 'Layer'. Name the layer 'watermark' and click 'OK'.
9 Choose from the 'Edit' menu 'Fill', and select the fill 'Contents' to be white. Click 'OK'.
10 From the 'Layer' menu, choose 'Add Vector Mask' and select 'Current Path'. You should now have a white logo in the style of your watermark.
11 Again, from the 'Layer' menu, choose 'Layer Style' and select 'Blending Options'.
Many of the attributes added in the 'Layer Styles' dialogue box are resolution dependent. We are creating this watermark for images that have a resolution between 200 - 300 ppi. If you would like to watermark screen resolution images (72 ppi), I would suggest that you create a watermark specifically for that task after.
Set the 'Layer Style' as follows:
Blending Options: Default
Blend Mode: Soft Light
Fill Opacity: 0%
Tick and select 'Drop Shadow'
Blend Mode: Multiply
Distance: 6 (this can vary to suit your taste)
Size: 12 (I always double the 'Distance' to establish the 'Size'.)
Tick and select 'Bevel and Emboss'
Bevel and Emboss (Default Settings)
Style: Inner Bevel
Gloss Contour: Linear
Highlight Mode: Screen 75%
Shadow Mode: Multiply 75%
Tick and select 'Contour'. Leave at the default which should be:
Now, click 'OK' to accept all styles.
12 Finally, we adjust the opacity of the 'watermark' layer in the 'Layers' palette to a point where it is visible but not offensive. (I personally use 60%, but this will differ to suit your own tastes)
13 Optional: From the 'Layers' palette wing menu, you can select 'Flatten Image' leaving the image as a single layer. If flattening your layers, ensure that you save the image using 'Save as' from the 'File' menu and create a new file containing the watermark.
14 We have just created our first 'Watermark'.
Should you want to create a Photoshop 'Action' that can be used to batch process multiple images applying the watermark technique, repeat the steps 4 -12 recording each step using the 'Actions' palette.
About the Author
With more than 12 years' experience working with photographers and their images, Terry Steeley is recognised as a world-class Photoshop specialist, having for the past four years represented Adobe as an authoritative speaker at worldwide trade shows and seminars.
His passion for photography and enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge has led him to develop his highly-acclaimed courses catering for photographers of all abilities - from the novice and enthusiast to the amateur or semi-professional.
Terry's relaxed style ensures that people can easily understand and absorb his knowledge. Covering all aspects of capturing and editing digital images, his teaching blends traditional film techniques with today's modern digital equivalents providing essential viewing for all interested in exploring digital photography.
Chris Kitchener - Adobe Systems added:
"One of the most natural and gifted presenters of Adobe Photoshop… the audience never fails to be engaged."