To watermark or not to watermark: many a photographer has grappled with this question. Watermarked images look decidedly ugly, but in this age of plagiarism, is also a rock solid way to prevent unauthorized use. Fortunately, creating a watermark itself is pretty easy, as we will learn in this tutorial below.

There are multiple ways of creating watermarks in Photoshop. Below, we will take a look at two popular methods, followed by the proper way to add watermarks to a batch of images. For more in-depth tips and tricks on using Photoshop, take this Photoshop video quickstart guide.

Creating a Watermark Brush in Photoshop

1. Create a New Document

Open Photoshop and create a new document. Make it whatever size you like. I personally prefer something at least 600 x 600 pixels in size. Make sure that you select ‘Transparent’ in ‘Background Contents’.


2. Create Your Watermark Text

This is pretty straightforward. Use the Type tool to create your watermark text. Make it as large as you want your final watermark to be.


3. Turn Your Text into a Brush

There are many different ways of creating a watermark. One of these is to turn your text into a brush. To do this, first crop the image to the size of your text:


Now we need to turn this image into a brush.

Go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset. In the dialog box that pops up, give a unique name to your watermark brush and hit ok.


Your image is now a brush that you can use with the brush tool to ‘paint’ your watermark.

4. Add the Watermark to the Image

Now open the image that needs to be watermarked. For this example, we’ll use this image:


Select the ‘Brush’ tool ( brushtool) and from the brush presets menu, scroll down and select the preset you just created.


You’ll now see your brush cursor change to your watermark image.

Before you can create the watermark, you’ll have to change the brush color. It’s best to use either black or white, though I personally prefer white.


All you have to do now is click the mouse once where you want the watermark to be, like this:


But wait…that doesn’t look very nice, does it?

That’s because we haven’t changed the brush opacity. Lowering the opacity to around 25% in the brush attributes menu bar will give us that nice watermark effect.


Tap the mouse over the image. The effect is far more pleasing now.


Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a watermark!

Want to create more complicated Photoshop image effects? Check out this tutorial to create a vampire in Photoshop!

But what if you want one of those ‘patterned watermarks’ you see floating around on the internet. The process is easy enough, as we’ll see below:

Creating a Watermark Pattern in Photoshop

Follow steps #1 and #2 given above. But instead of cropping your text, do the following:

1. Rotate the Text by 45 Degrees

Hit CTRL + T and drag the corners of the text until it’s tilted by about 45 degrees. You can also enter -45.00 under ‘angle’ in the transform toolbox at the top:


This is what your text should look like now:


This isn’t a necessity, but it makes our watermark look nice. You can also change the text color to white if you want.

Want to improve your productivity? Check out this course on customizing Photoshop to fit your workflow.

2. Crop the Text and Define it as a Pattern

As before, crop the text. Don’t crop it too close – leave a bit of margin otherwise our watermark will look too squished together.

Once done, go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Give the pattern a name and hit OK.


3. Add Watermark to Image

Now open the image that needs to be watermarked.

Create a new Pattern layer from the new layer menu at the bottom of the Layers panel.


In the ‘Pattern Fill’ dialog box that pops up, select the pattern you just created. You can shrink it down to a desired size by dragging the ‘Scale %’ slider.


Your watermark is now visible over the image, but it doesn’t look quite right.

To make it look better, select ‘Overlay’ under ‘Blend Mode’ and drag the opacity down to ~50-60% in the Layers panel.


The resulting image looks far better:


Your watermark pattern is now completed! To add the same to any other image, just add a pattern layer on top of it.

But what if we had dozens of images to add watermarks to?

That’s pretty easy as well, thanks to Photoshop’s ‘Batch’ tool and macros.

Automating Watermark Creation in Photoshop

As a final step, we will create a macro to automate the entire watermark creation process.

1. Go to Window -> Actions

2. In the window that pops up, click on the folder icon to create a new folder that will hold all our watermark actions.


3. Give the folder any name you want.


4. Now click the ‘New Action’ button located right next to the folder icon.


5. Give the action any name you want.


Once you hit ‘Record’, the macro will start recording. You should see a red button in the actions window.

6. Create a watermark using either the brush or the pattern method as described above. Once done, hit the ‘Stop’ button in the actions window.


The actions window should now show a list of actions you performed to create the watermark, as can be seen in the screenshot above.

7. Go to File -> Automate -> Batch to add the watermark to a whole folder of images.


Now that you know everything about creating watermarks in Photoshop, it’s time to learn a few more tricks. Take this course on Photoshop fundamentals to get up to speed with Photoshop tricks and concepts.

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