As can be seen, all my photos in my online portfolio have my “Mike Ray Design” logo watermarked on them. I’m sure there are easier ways to create a watermark, however, I found using a Photoshop Action to be one of the easiest, once it is setup. In my first *ACTUAL* tutorial, I’ll try to explain how to create a basic watermark action for your photos using Photoshop (Don’t worry – you can customize it to what you like
*PS – please note that it did take me a few tries on some of the steps to get it just the way I wanted – you probably wont get all your actions to work perfectly every time.
1. Open one of your images.
2. Open your “Actions” panel – it can be found under “Window -> Actions”.
3. Hit “Create New Action” button - bottom left of the panel. Rename your action to “watermark” and place in the set “Default Actions.” Click OK. You are now recording everything you do!
4. The first thing we do with the image is set our parameters – resolution, height, and width. I generally have two actions – one for portrait (vertical) images, and one for landscape (horizontal) – for this tutorial we are just going to landscape.
Next, to set the resolution to something standard – your actions WILL remember this! In this case, because my point-and-shoot camera (Pentax Optio W80 – great for HD video, actually!) takes photos takes photos at 72 pixels/inch, but when I work with them in Photoshop I always bump them up to 300 (and ESPECIALLY for printing! I know you technically can’t ADD pixels to a photo, I find it is a good habit to get into anyways).
Next, your width. I generally set all landscape images to a MAX width of either 800px or 1000px for web-browsing – PLEASE don’t make them larger if you are embedding them to a webpage! It really sucks to have to scroll sideways to see a whole photograph! *Please note that if you increase the resolution, you increase your width and height (but NOT the quality), so be sure to remember to then change the width *
Once my image parameters are set I zoom in to it (hold “Ctrl” and hit “+” to zoom in, or “Ctrl” and “-” to zoom out).
5. Make a new layer in your “Layers” panel (“Window -> Layers”).
6. Select a new foreground colour. I always choose white, as watermarking with a colour seems to look funny. *Please note that you have to choose a DIFFERENT foreground colour than what is already set – if you choose the same colour, it will not register that colour. If need be, choose a random colour first, hit “OK”, then go back and choose the colour that was already there – at least this way it will register the colour you want.
7. Choose the shape tool (or tools), and start to draw your logo, or whatever shapes you want on the NEW layer. *The actions panel will remember everything you do with SHAPES – it will NOT remember erasing or drawing with the pen, pencil, or brush, so unfortunately there are some limitations.
8. Once your shape logo is complete, choose the text tool, and type out the text you want. The actions WILL remember the text you type, the font, and position. Once you have it typed, if you need to move it or resize it, go ahead – it will remember it.
9. Next we want to merge the text and shape layer together. Click the text layer (in my case, the layer that says “MikeRayDesign.ca“) hold “Shift”, and click on “Layer 1″ (the shape layer), so that both layers are highlighted blue. Then right-click “Layer 1″ and choose “Merge Layers” from the pop-up menu.
10a. There will now be 2 layers – the background layer (your photo), and another layer that has both the shapes you drew, AND your text (it will be named the name of your previous text layer – in my case, “MikeRayDesign.ca”). Make sure that layer is selected (highlighted blue), and click in the opacity box RIGHT ABOVE the layers panel. If you click the arrow beside the part that says “100%”, you will get a little scroll bar, as you can see in the screenshot) below.
I generally make my watermark layers at 50% opacity. I find that I get the watermark I wanted, and don’t impede or take away from the photograph.
10b. At this point I may choose to move the watermark layer if I wish (the layer titled “MikeRayDesign.ca” in my example), and wherever I move it, it will be recorded by the actions.
11. We are now done creating our watermark, so in the actions panel hit the little “Stop Recording” button in the bottom left of the panel. To test out the success of your watermark, open a NEW photo (choose one that is also landscape), click on the MAIN action (the one at the top of the tree, called “watermark”), and hit the “Play Selection” button at the bottom-middle of the actions panel.
With any luck, it should show up on the new photo EXACTLY as you recorded it! If not, you can hit “Ctrl”, “Alt”, and “z” to go back steps, and see where something messed up. To fix a mistake, you can re-record the specific action (such as, “Set Foreground Color”), place it below the one that was causing the mistake, and it should fix it (you may need to actually COMPLETELY DELETE the action causing the mistake, but don’t delete it too soon – you can’t get it back!)
TIPS and TRICKS for this process:
- if you try to use this watermark on images with different height/width ratios, it may not work properly. Every action we recorded is SPECIFIC to the dimensions and resolution of the photo (ie. one of the rectangles I drew for my logo is EXACTLY 5.6cm from the top of the rectangle to the top of the photo, 6.18cm from the bottom of the rectangle to the top of the photo, 0.3cm from the left of the rectangle to the left of the photo, and 0.37cm from the right of the rectangle to the left of the photo). Everything will work PERFECTLY if you are using the watermark for the same camera!
- do all your photo editing/photo processing PRIOR to adding the watermark
- it may take a couple tries to get the watermark right – keep going! There are plenty of good videos on YouTube for recording actions
- make a different watermark for vertical photos – it’s just easier!
- speed things up a little more by recording yourself SAVING the photo, and then drag-and-drop that action to the end of whole tree of “watermark” actions
- to watermark a whole folder of photos, first record yourself actually OPENING and CLOSING a photo, then drag-and-drop those actions to the beginning and end of the whole “watermark” action. You can then go to “File -> Automate -> Batch” and choose the entire folder you want to watermark, and the folder you want to save them into. *Remember that you will actually need a SAVE action in your “watermark” action – without it, nothing will save!
- if you choose the “Save for Web & Devices” options as your way of saving your image once it is watermarked, the action remembers the folder you chose to save it into, and will ALWAYS save it there, EVEN if you choose a different folder when batch-processing your photos. For this reason, any action that I have a “Save for Web & Devices” save action involved, I save it to a folder on my desktop specifically for this (I call mine “Images for Web”)