Of Watermarks, Brand Logos, & How to Generate one using Photoshop CS5 Brush Tool

8/24/2013 03:05:00 PM

Yes I do see images like one above on everyday basis, and even though this one is mine and have my name stamped on it which is basking in the evening glory of the sun. Lets face it. Its totally killing the image.

The debate about whether or not to use a watermark, is never-ending. Honestly I like seeing those creative watermarks and brand logos on other photographers images ( creative only I said and again only on other's images), and not much that big C of copyright or tape running at the bottom of the image declaring who the proud owner is, that immediately make me evaluate and critic the image, and that big question, Is it really that great? The watermarked image?

There is only 3 reasons you would watermark your images -

1 - To prevent your images from online theft.
2 - To get the credit when your images are shared, specially if one or many go viral. who knows?
3 - To Advertise. To promote your work.

And here are 3 reasons why you wouldn't put a logo or big © on your ( Both you professionals & amateurs) images.

1.1 - You have defeated the paranoia called, "OMG people are stealing my images left and right." This is when they are monetizing or using em as contest entry etc or lets say they aren't individuals but organizations like magazine and newspapers who care less before picking up the image from internet and publishing them. 

1.2 -  You're okay with people sharing your images w/ out giving your enough credit. Trust me, unless its another photographer who's sharing your work because s/he really appreciates it, no individuals, including your friends, make a little effort to write a simple line saying, the image belongs to so and so person. 

i.e. You accept the fact you live in world that has internet, and you accept the pros and cons that comes with putting your work out on the internet.

2 - You think your work can easily be identified as yours.

3 - What you lose from Sharing and theft, is not where you're getting all your business from.

My Blog and Flickr predominantly for images, are two places where I have been uploading my work. Picasa only had trips or personal albums. Facebook page / profile  and now Twitter plus Instagram are just to get the traffic. some one has to see what you create right? everything else has just come and gone.

I generally upload all my shots to flickr, and embed certain shots in the blog. I upload only those shots on blog ( which ultimately go in a picasa album, as I use blogger platform) which I dont think are worth uploading on flickr. That being said, there are mediocre pictures also there on flickr and experimental as well. So in a nutshell its one place where you can actually see my journey from when I first held the camera till now and future too ( I seriouly hope flickr gets to live)

So I had been there. Downloading fancy fonts and pasting them on my images, drawing a line at the bottom and also using borders. I got rid of the habit way quickly though, and thats because when I had to submit my images to Getty or anywhere else, I was constantly searching for original files in my hard drive, and flickr images need the watermark removal. argh. I have accepted this already I am not the most organized person in the world, nor do I have time to rework on the image just for the heck of it. I'd do that if I think I can process it better with time.

Well So It all comes to personal choice what you want to get out of it. If You ask the "Now Me" this is what I do.

1 - Flickr remains NOT watermarked. this is even when i know tumblr is big threat, many images go into levels of sharing and you can almost not reach the original links. Tried and tested yes.

2 - I cant stick to one design and one design alone. so I don't use any watermark in the gallery at all. While printing the image, the name and date goes in the back of the each print.

3 - No sign at all if the print is ordered directly from the online gallery. I don't get print shipped to me and then sign and send to client, I rather have em send directly from the lab,  as it takes too much of shipping hassles. I might change that when when a physical gallery will represent my work.

4 -  I might or might not watermark the images when I am  sharing them on Facebook / twitter etc. I always resize them to somewhere in the range of small-to-medium though. after that I just don't care.

Those above were my views on watermarks, Coming to second section of this post, you might need a watermark or a logo handy. both can be same or different depending on your taste.

Yesterday when I was setting up my new online gallery, and uploading more pictures, ( see the second screenshot), I wanted to quickly create one to replace the text on the left with out hurdling in to vast ocean of fonts. Not to say, I did struggle to choose simple fonts too. But thankfully the process of creating the logo/watermark image was simple and smooth as air. Here is how you can do that too.

1- Open a good size of new image, say 1000X1000px with 200 Resolution, just make sure the background content is set to transparent.

2- Now either you can write simple text, like I have, in two layers, or you can go wild, create your artwork. as I mentioned above, I wanted a simple image name stamp I created two layers each for first and second name. so that I can control the gap etc between the two words.

3- If you noticed the text is in black, (above screenshot) and so is the foreground color in the tool panel on the left. keep it as such because you can use any color later on. I will show you how.

4 - Once you're done with them image and your entire image is in select. here is what you need to do. Click the brush tool ( Highlighted in the above screenshot ) Now go to Edit Menu and select i.e. left-click "Define Brush Preset". Give any name to the preset and save it.

5 - So If you want to used the image like I did in the website, for that you can simply save the image in tiff or jpeg or png, and upload it. that has nothing to do with the brush tool.

6 - Open any image where you want to put the logo or mark.

7 - Now, this is exactly the same as using any brush round, soft and hard. Click brush from the toolbar, Open the Bush Preset Picker ( screenshot below) , scroll till bottom and select the last brush preset. ( This is what you just created. and it will make your cursor look like the new watermark/logo/stamp that you created. ( see the hollow name stamp in above screenshot)

8- You can change the size to anything on that scale, change the opacity, color anything, Just like the way you use any brush. click it on the image and it will be stamped. I used the large size stamp with low opacity in the top image, and then I used a simple small black color watermark. 

9 - Remember its a stamped watermark and not text. so you cant edit it like editing text. you can remove it just like you remove any brush stroke. 

10- Above image also shows you 10 transitions in colors. I have kept the opacity low, in black. hence the color is greyed. Now I click it once, it appears like the right top stamp. for the second one just below I clicked the same stamp twice. that made it darker. You can click it any number of times and it'll just get more visible more prominent. thats all. 

This is so far the easiest way I found, to keep a watermark at bay and use it anytime I like. It can also be used as large hollow w/ 1% opacity and stamp the entire picture. just like anyone use ©. Just a handy technique to stamp your social shots or quick photoshop trick to use the artwork on certain set if you batch process.

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