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WATERMARKS - how to make them work for you

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 13, 2010, 9:17 AM


Theft of their art online is indeed artist’s greatest fear. The mere thought of finding someone’s paws all over your precious picture, the idea you painstakingly thought of, perfected, executed and uploaed in order to share in an art communnity, the thought of it being stolen for profit is horrible.
Indeed, there have been many internet sites that stole works of artists on dA and sold them as wallpapers, mobile phone screens and even prints. There have been a few big legal affairs with major corporations stealing artwork at very small resolution (800 px) and then, using their superior equipment, managing to employ it in all their advertising, and that’s just mentioning a few such situations.

Clearly, the need for protecting yor work exists, and no, most of us don’t think that “it would be our honour to be ripped off, it means we are good”.
We know we are good, and we accept appreciation in a form of faves, comments and print requests.

So, how do we protect our work on line?

No system is perfect, and different artists opt for different strategies, or combination of different strategies.

First is to upload your work at low resolution, like 600 px. Obviously, some artists won’t be happy with this, because it won’t do their pictures justice.

The next step is – the dreaded watermark.

DeviantArt has it’s own, and boy, is it ugly and obtrusive! On one hand, it does the job perfectly, there is no way anyone can successfully get rid of it in Photoshop.
But it ruins the look of the picture and it is unforunatelly placed in the centre so often it obscures the subject completely.

In macro, it is really important that we see the subject, otherwise, there is no point in submitting the work in the first place. If your pic is a super-close look at the bug, or a refraction in the drop, and that is completely obscured, forget about it, nobody will be able to enjoy that.

It is also important to mention that when you are submitting the print, you can upload a different source file there, so you can have your deviation show with embedded watermark, and your print will be clean because you will use the file without the watermark for that. This will achieve the same as dA watermark, which shows on display, but not on the final print.

Actually making your own watermark is really easy.

Open photoshop and click on File – New Layer. Make it 1900 px wide, 1382 px high, with “transparent” background (I have really large files, 12 mpx camera, so my watermark is big, but you can always reduce it later, depending on how big your jpeg is).

When you have a transparent layer opened, select black for a foreground colour, click on a little bucket-tool and click over the transparent layer, this will paint it black so that you can more easily see your watermark at this stage.

First, select the button that says T – that’s your text layer. Holding down Fn and Alt keys, using a numberpad on the right hand side of your keyboard, type 0169. As soon as you release the Fn and Alt keys, you will get a copyright symbol.

To write out your name, or anything you want, choose the font you like, and design your watermark.
For the watermark as big as this one, your font size should be around 130 pt, but obviously, that depends on the font you are using.
Also, you can use a symbol you created to make a watermark, in our examples below you will see how well that can work too.

Keep the opacity of your text layer at 100%.

When you are happy, do not merge layers, rather, save the watermark document in separate layers as a PSD document, so that you can easily use it and change the size of the text later.
Save it somewhere you will later easily find it and name it “watermark”.

Now open one of your favourite jpegs you were going to upload to dA (or elsewhere).
Open your Watermark file on a separate layer. Make sure you highlight in blue T (text) layer. Using a little arrow for moving things around (usually the top button on the lefthand side), move the watermark text from watermark window to your jpeg window. Release left click and the watermark layer should be copied and visible on top of your jpeg.
Now adjust the opacity of your watermark. Depending on the colours of your jpeg, and where you want to put the watermark, you’ll need different opacities, but I usually use between 20 and 30%.

If you need to rotate your watermark, having the T layer highlighted, click Edit – Transform – Rotate and change the orientation any way you like. You can also warp it and do all sorts of fun things with it.
Also, you can easily move it around the picture and position it anywhere you want.

Once you are happy, click Layer – Merge layers whick will embed the watermark in your jpeg.
You might want to now click on File – File Information. On the left hand side you have a meny, browse through it, but you might want to go to IPTC Status and enter your information, copyright and usage terms.
When you are done, save it as (name of jpeg) coyrighted.

Now you are ready to upload your jpeg to dA knowing that most likely, nobody will bother to try to rip it off, while at the same time you had the full control of exactly the type of watermark you’ll have, and where on your picture you will place it.

EXAMPLES

stable3 by dini25 christmas time for louis by prismes A Touch by ninazdesign .:Pure:. by ninazdesign
:thumb122156707: Candy by Jules1983 New Life by Gryphonia upside down inside out by photofairy

Add a Comment:
 
:iconcrescent-moon123:
crescent-moon123 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Student General Artist
Can you maybe do a tutorial for a program that Isn't photoshop, like GIMP? I don't have photoshop and I cant afford it ;-;
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2015   General Artist
I'm really sorry but I never used GIMP so I wouldn't know where to start. Photoshop Elements are a lot cheaper and work much the same way, I don't know if that helps? Otherwise, dA now has a much less annoying watermarks, they might be a good compromise. :)
Reply
:iconcrescent-moon123:
crescent-moon123 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you anyway ^^
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2015   General Artist
My pleasure. Sorry I couldn't be more help :)
Reply
:iconshadowmistfall:
ShadowMistfall Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm on iMac ;~;
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013   General Artist
I'm on iMac now too, the process in Photoshop is the same. You just jeed to Google the shortcut for copyright symbol (key combination is going to be different) :)
Reply
:iconmidnighteve7:
midnighteve7 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you! This helped so much! :D
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012   General Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconevilkoopa:
EvilKoopa Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
erm.... My keyboard has no Fn key.... Is there an alternative?
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012   General Artist
Just google the question, your type of computer/keyboard and copyright symbol. If not, just find it somewhere on the net and copy/paste it :)
Reply
:iconevilkoopa:
EvilKoopa Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2012
thanks, i've managed it now :)
Reply
:iconxxmidnightfirexx:
xXMidnightFireXx Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2011  Student Digital Artist
would this work in gimp 2.0 im not used to gimp sincei just got it so i guess i should have more practice first but still
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011   General Artist
I don't know gimp at all but I assume so because it is supposed to have layers as in photoshop :)
Reply
:iconxxmidnightfirexx:
xXMidnightFireXx Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Student Digital Artist
True thanks
Reply
:iconryanwaff:
ryanwaff Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Very great article :) thanks for recommending it to me :) just reading ~Kirakira1 's comment, i would just like to add that for people who have used photoshop, like at school and dont own it, there is - like 'photofairy said- some free software like gimp, which although is a nice program to use, the interface tends to be quite a mind boggler :) but luckily for us people who are used to the photoshop interface layout, there is a program called paint.net which is completely free and has a very similar interface to photoshop, so you wont go in there feeling completely lost and most of the tool names are pretty similar as well, so you will actually be able to get started pretty much instantly after opening the program :) Hope this helped :)
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011   General Artist
that's a great tip, thank you Ryan! :)
Reply
:iconryanwaff:
ryanwaff Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
lol, only a pleasure after how much you have given me :) glad to help :icongladplz:
Reply
:iconkirakira1:
kirakira1 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
what do you do if you don't have photoshop?? D:
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011   General Artist
there are free programs very similar to photoshop, like "gimp", many people on dA use it and it works quite similar, but I never used it.
Photoshop Elements are much, much cheaper (like 60 for new) and students get a huge discount on top of that, so generally there is a way around it.
I am currently using only Photoshop Elements (I changed to Mac so my old PC photoshop is useless and I don't have 500 for a Mac version) and I am happy with it.
So i recommend PS Elements, cheap and will do all this, if not, perhaps ask around about "gimp".
I hope it helps :hug:
Reply
:iconkirakira1:
kirakira1 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
i have photoshop i ust in my photography class at school but i don't think i would be able to do it at school and put it on all my photo's on here :o do you think it would work though?
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011   General Artist
the only watermarking really that you need is on the jpeg you upload for viewing on your deviation page. so while if you are selling prints, you'll upload the largest file you have (so you can have a large print available) and that will be watermark free, you can upload a different, much smaller watermarked file on your deviation page. thos is a hassle becaiuse you need to upload one file to dev page and anotherto print, but that's the only way if you want to have your own watermark.
for example, you want to have your deviations viewed at 800px or 600px, then those small files are the ones you'll need to watermark.
so you could take a bunch of resized, smaller files to school and watermark them in photoshop there, because at small resolution they'll be small files and you can fit a lot on one of those small keychain usb memory sticks. i'd do it that way :nod:
Reply
:iconkirakira1:
kirakira1 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you :D
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2011   General Artist
you're welcome :)
Reply
:iconmantyke:
Mantyke Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2010
Great article ^^ Helps a lot.
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2010   General Artist
you're welcome :hug:
Reply
:iconcartoonist-in-theory:
Cartoonist-in-Theory Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you thank you thank you! I didn't know if this was easy or not! Thank you! :dummy:
Reply
:iconjjpeste:
JJPESTE Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Very useful my friend! :D I'll try! :D Thank you
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010   General Artist
you're welcome Cri :hug: :heart:
Reply
:iconannaphotix:
Annaphotix Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
You don't say what colour you use for the text?

Also, in this one [link] do you know how to get that completely transparent in that way? I rather like that.
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010   General Artist
the text colour can be any colour, i use pure white on these flower watermarks, but it can be anything you like and anything that agrees with the picture the best.

the one you linked to is simply dark text (black, brown or some combination with maroon, i'm not sure because i haven't seen full opacity), again, set to a certain opacity, looks at 30 or 35%.

if you want a dark text watermark, simply make the underlying layer white, instead of black, so that when you are designing it, you can better see it.
you drag and drop just the text (or watermark), not the underlying layer, so it really doesn't matter which colour combinations you are using.

just make sure you keep layers separate and save as PSD document, that way you can always change colours later :)
Reply
:iconannaphotix:
Annaphotix Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks; I do mine a different way, as I use PSP. If I can work out how I did mine, I'll do a little tutorial to add to this one if you'd like - for people who use PSP?
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010   General Artist
sure, that would be great! :)
Reply
:iconannaphotix:
Annaphotix Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Don't hold your breath girl! I'll do it when I can ;)
Reply
:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010   General Artist
whenever you are ready, my dear :)
Reply
:iconannaphotix:
Annaphotix Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
:D
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