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There's always been a mixed opinion among photographers about watermarking their photographs. Some feel it distracts from the image while others see it as a reliable way of tackling image theft. Whatever side you are on, it doesn't hurt to know how to watermark your images – it's another cool Photoshop skill to learn.
I've been through a lot of experimentation when it comes to methods of watermarking my photos. This is the easiest and most flexible way I've found to brand my images quickly. With this technique you'll be able to use the brush tool like a personalized rubber stamp that works with 1 click.
1. Create a New File
Press Command + N to create a new image. Make sure your file is 2500 pixels by 2500 pixels with 300 ppi as the resolution. Select white as the background color.
2. Add Logo and/or Text
Copy and paste your logo into a new layer. If you don’t have a logo just use the text tool to type your name or whatever else you want your watermark to say.
Important: Make sure your text and logo are black. When you create your brush everything that is white will be 100% transparent and everything that is black will be 100% opaque.
What if you have a color logo? You can turn it into a grayscale image by creating a black and white adjustment layer. Make sure your logo layer is selected and click the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, then click Black and White. You can fiddle around with the color sliders or select different presets to get different effects.
Keep in mind that the gray will show up as semi-transparent when you use your new brush. Darker greys will be more opaque and lighter grays will be more transparent.
3. Turn Your Image Into a Brush
Here’s where the magic happens! Simply go up to your Edit menu and click on Define Brush Preset. Name your brush, save it, and you’ll be ready to start watermarking your photos.
Your new brush will appear at the bottom of your brush palette. Now all you have to do is open an image and click once with your brush to apply your watermark.
Tips and Tricks on Using Your New Brush
The best part about using a brush preset to stamp your images is the rapid control you have over the size and color of your logo. I like to make sure that my logo is both readable and that it doesn't cover up an important part of my image, so my colors and sizes vary from image to image. Here’s how to do it fast:
1. Use the left and right bracket keys ( [ and ] ) to quickly adjust the size of your brush. The left bracket makes it smaller and the right bracket makes it bigger.
2. If you want to keep it really simple you can use black and white. Hitting D sets your foreground and background colors to black and white respectively. Now you just need to press X to switch between the two colors.
3. Maybe you don’t want your logo to stand out so much. Press I to select the Eyedropper tool and click anywhere on your image to choose a custom color for your brush. This will make your watermark look like a part of the art!
Lower the opacity of your brush to reveal more of your image below.
4. If you want to experiment more create a new layer for your logo and change the blending modes to get different results. Results will vary widely depending on the color of your logo and the colors of your image beneath it.
5. Last but definitely not least, make sure you don’t stamp your only copy of an image! I make a copy of the images I’m watermarking in a totally separate folder so that I don’t save over my originals.
A Snapshot of My Workflow
Here’s how I use my brush preset to watermark a batch of photos super fast.
First, I copy and paste all of the images I want to stamp in a new folder.
Next, I open all of the images in Photoshop. I’ll usually open them 20 at a time if I have a lot so as not to slow down the program. You’ll have to experiment to see the best number for you.
Then it becomes an assembly line of photo watermarking. With my brush tool selected all I have to do is adjust size and color with my shortcuts, click to stamp the image, then save (Command + S) and close (Command + W). I can repeat this for each image in 10 seconds or less!
Well I hope I solved some of your watermarking woes today. I’d love to hear what you think of this tutorial or answer any questions you might have in the comments below.