TUTORIAL: How to Create a Transparent Watermark

Any artist that posts images of their work online should add a watermark to the image. Watermarks discourage pirating of your work by others. I can't begin to tell you how many Etsy sellers have their work displayed in their shops, which, by zooming in, can easily be printed, by any novice with a printer.

This is not to say that adding a watermark to your images will eliminate all pirating. What it will do, is make it more difficult for others to steal your images.

So....I will show you how I have created the watermark I use on all of my images. It's appearance is a bit raised and rather transparent. You can adjust the opacity depending on the image you apply it to. Here we go..........

1. Create a new document with a "Transparent" background.

2. Next we will add the text you want to use, to this transparent layer. Double click on the foreground color choice and simply type in the hexadecimal number 808080 into the box you see circled above. This will give you a mid-level gray color.

3. After typing in your desired text (Ex. Your Shop Name), click on the highlighted text layer to save this text.

4. Now you will add a "Layer Effect" to this text, to give it a "raised" effect. At the bottom of the layers palette you will see an italicized "F" in a dark circle. Click this and choose "Bevel & Emboss" from the dropdown menu.

5. Once you have chosen the "Layer Effect" you will get a new screen, with a whole host of options. What you see above, are the default options for this effect. If your screen appears differently, just plug in the same selections you see above. Once your selections have been made, just click "OK".

6. Next, you will need to change the "Layer Style". In your layers palette (with the text layer chosen, or highlighted), simply click on the small, downward pointing arrow next to the word "normal" at the top of the layers palette. From there, move down and choose "Hard Light" as your "Layer Style".

7. Now you can play with the opacity...(see image above). Depending on the image you will apply this watermark to, you may want to increase or decrease the opacity.

8. Open the image you wish to apply the watermark to. While keeping both the "Watermark Text" and the chosen image both open, simply drag the text layer of the "Watermark" image onto the newly opened image. This will add a new layer to your chosen image. From there, you may want to play with the opacity for just the right look.

9. You will now want to save your image, with the watermark applied, for posting online or into your Etsy shop.

Don't forget to save the original file (where you created the watermark) for use on other images. It is probably best to save it as a .psd so that you will be able to drag that text layer onto other images.

When saving an image with the watermark for posting, you will need to save it as a .jpg for posting over the net.

That's it!

Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Also I would appreciate any comments here if you find this tutorial useful.



Gaston Studio said…
What a great idea and it kind of looks easy the way you explained it. Thanks!
TMCPhoto said…
Thanks for this, I've been trying to figure out how to create a transparent watermark by trial and error. Your instructions are very easy to understand and very well illustrated.
Great tutorial. I love your Morning Meditation print. Nice to meet you.

Warm wishes...
Kii said…
Thanks for sharing all the great tutorials. Thanks!!

I am slowly learning about photoshop. It really do wonders to my pictures :D
eyeshoot said…
Thanks, that's very useful!
I can not tell you how long I've been trying to figure this out! YOU HAVE SAVED THE DAY!!! I have had so many people steal my pictures and claim them as their own, even to the point of selling my art in logos and templates! I've always hated the look of normal writing across my pictures and this is a GREAT solution! Thank you, thank you for sharing. You are a Godsend!

Lova ya!
mary catherine said…
oh my goodness the HOURS i have wasted wandering aimlessly through photoshop trying to figure this out!!!! i am forever grateful to you for this tutorial--very generous of you. thank you thank you thank you!!! i feel a little bit smarter now (and richer since i was about pay digimarc to do it for me!!) oh. you are just the best.
PurrPrints said…
Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this tutorial--I've been debating whether to do a watermark or not, and the main reason I hadn't was because I didn't want to have to figure out how to...lol..so tyvm!
Julie said…
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Anonymous said…
Thank so much....I really needed help with this one and I think you have answered my questions. Bless you
Anonymous said…
What program are you using? It doesn't look like Gimp.
Anonymous said…
Thanks so much