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Sunday, March 23, 2008

How to add a watermark to image files using Adobe Photoshop


Layers are like the transparent sheets cartoon makers use to animate their cartoons. Bugs Bunny’s limbs are each drawn on a different transparent sheet and can therefore be moved independently. However to the viewer it is all the same picture. Layers are an easy way of manipulating and merging different elements to make up one picture.

To make a watermark you need one layer (the ‘Background’ layer) of the main image, and on top of that you need another layer (‘Layer 1’) to write the text on. By adjusting the transparency of the text layer you can achieve a subtle watermark effect.

NB Do the following before checking the photo in on Dreamweaver. If already checked in, check it out first.

1. Open an image file in Adobe Photoshop by going to ‘File’ and choosing ‘Open’.
2. If the Layers palette is not showing, go to ‘Windows’ in the top menu bar (between ‘View’ and ‘Help’) and choose ‘Show Layers’ (top item of the sixth division down in the ‘Windows’ drop-down menu)
3. Click on the little page icon just to the left of the trash can icon at the bottom right of the Layers palette. This creates a new layer.
4. On the Layers palette click on the ‘eye’ icon to the left of the thumbnail of the image you first opened. Only the upper (blank) thumbnail should have an eye icon to the left of it. This means you are now viewing the blank layer. Experiment by turning the ‘eye’ icons on and off. You’ll see how they allow you to view one or both of the two layers you now have.
You can do the next steps with either both ‘eyes’ on (in which case you’ll see the text being typed on top of the actual image) or the ‘eye’ for the background off (in which case you just be typing onto whiteness). I prefer having both ‘eyes’ on, as being able to see the image helps you decide where best to place the text
The most important thing when doing this is to make sure that the TEXT LAYER is selected in the Layers palette: in other words, that right of the blank thumbnail is all navy blue.
5. Go to the Toolbox and click on the capital letter T icon (i.e. the Text Tool)
(If you can’t see the Toolbox, go to the ‘Windows’ drop-down menu mentioned in step 2 and choose ‘Show Toolbox’. It’s at the top of the second division down.)
When you click on the Text Tool’s ‘T’ icon, the Option bar for the Text Tool will appear at the top of the Photoshop window, just under the line of menu items. Use this to select the various properties of the text you’ll type.
I recommend Arial font, 12pt, bold, with the anti-aliasing (‘a way of fooling the eye into seeing straight lines and smooth curves where there are none’) on (you can experiment with which option you think looks nicest. Don’t go for Strong though).
6. Now go to the blank Layer 1 file (i.e. the actual main picture that you want to add the watermark to) and click on a spot where you think the text should begin. You can adjust the starting position anytime by simply moving the cursor away from the vertical blinking line that represents where you first clicked. The cursor will now automatically turn into the ‘Move’ tool (the same one that you can see at the very top right of the Toolbox, seven boxes up from the Text Tool’s ‘T’ icon). You can now click-hold and move the starting point for your text around at will. You can do this anytime, even after you’ve started or finished typing.
7. Type the text of the watermark onto the main image, e.g. ‘Devon Visitor thanks Exeter Tourist Office for the use of this image.’
8. To make fine adjustments to how you want it to look, go up to the Option bar for the Text Tool mentioned in the second part of step 5 (i.e. the bar beginning with a ‘T’ at the top of the screen) and click on the ‘Palette’ button at the very right hand end. The Text Palette will appear. Select all the text you’ve typed by pressing Control-A (or just dragging the clicked&held cursor over it) and you can then select all sorts of things such as:
· amount of space between each line of text. The setting for the space between lines is called the ‘leading setting’: the second box down on the right-hand side with the two tiny stacked capital ‘A’s . I recommend a leading setting of 11pt.
· the amount of space between characters
· the width of the whole sentence (the big fat ‘T’ with a percentage beside it)
· the color of the text. Generally go for white or black, depending on the background. (You’ll need the original image showing to be able to work with white text, i.e. you have to have the ‘eye’ icon clicked on in the Layers pallette for both layers – see step 4.)
9. The reason why subtleties of color aren’t so important is because you can achieve that characteristic unobtrusive watermark effect by adjusting the transparency of the text layer. To do this:
(i) In the Layers palette, double click to the right of the text layer thumbnail.
The Layer Styles palette will appear.
(ii) First make sure the ‘Preview’ box is checked at the right of the palette.
(iii) The first slider you come to from the top is the transparency slider. Move it to the left and watch the text fade. (Once the percentage value is highlighted, you can just use the roller on your mouse instead of dragging your mouse left and right.)
(iv) To the left of the palette is ‘Layer Effects’. I quite like the third one down, ‘Outer Glow’. It gives the text the look of being superimposed and somewhat removed from the content of the photo (kind of ‘transcendental’), thus not ‘messing’ with it as much. However the effectiveness of this effect may depend on the texture of the particular image you’re dealing with. When finished click OK to close the Layer Styles pallette.
(v) Finally, go to the Toolbox and select the very top right Move tool. (It might be necessary to do this, it might not. I can’t quite work out why what I mentioned at the end of step 6 doesn’t necessarily work at this stage.) Move the text around until you get it in
(a) as unobtrusive a position as possible
(b) a position where, of any of the words, the word ‘Devon Visitor’ is clearly legible.
(vi) When done click OK. Save the file (Control+S, or ‘Save’ from the ‘File’ menu.) A dialog box will appear.
Do not save it as the default .PSD format, but use the dropdown menu to select .JPEG.
Choosing to save it as a .JPEG file will cause the default name of the file to include the word ‘copy’. But since it’s not necessary to preserve the original unwatermarked file:
(a) select and delete just the word ‘copy’ (taking care not to erase the period before ‘jpg’),
(b) click ‘Save’
(c) click ‘Replace’ when it asks if you want to replace the original file
(d) click OK in the ‘JPEG Option’ dialog box that appears. In other words, don’t change anything. Just go with the defaults.

Congratulations! You’re done.

(NOW for the best bit … to watermark another file without having to go once more through the above rigmarole:
(i) Keep the file you just worked on open in your Photoshop workspace.
(ii) Open the next file by going to ‘File’ and then ‘Open’.
(iii) Now go back to the file you’ve just finished doing.
In the Layers Palette make sure that the text layer is selected.
(iv) Drag the thumbnail for the text onto the new file you have just opened.
Voila, mes cheries! You now have an instantly watermarked file!
You can manipulate it as much or as little as you like, exactly as you did with the previous file.)

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