Creating a Watermark Bar in Photoshop

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There are SO many things about photoshop that I am  trying to learn. I don’t know everything!  I enlisted the help of Rebecca at Zion’s Studio Photography to teach me a step by step of how to make a translucent bar across an image like the example below, so it would be harder to erase a logo (as I referred to in THIS post). She typed out the directions and I tested it out with my screen shots and added additional notes with my red type. I hope this helps! 

Take it away, Rebecca!

Just like any artist, photographers need to protect their work. Especially as technology becomes more and more advanced. It’s too easy for others, wanting to pass your work off as theirs, to save your image to their own computer or grab a screen shot of it.  One way that I protect my images is to put a white translucent bar across it. The bar provides more coverage and is more work to take out which will deter those trying to steal your work ! I don’t claim to know everything there is about Photoshop, but here is a step-by-step tutorial on how I have created a watermark bar. It’s very simple and very flexible as well.

1. With your image open, select the Shape tool from your palette bar, it looks like a rectangle. Make sure that the tool is set on the rectangle option and that your foreground color is set to white.

2. Drag it across the full length of your image to the desired width (this can always be changed later). You will see a new Shape Layer in your Layers Menu. Turn the Opacity of that layer down to your preference. Mine is usually at 45%. 


{If you don’t know how to make a logo/watermark, check out this tutorial on The House of Smiths from photographer Emilie at Photo by Emilie, it is great!}

3. Bring your logo/watermark into your image and adjust the size so it can fit into the white bar.  Rebecca suggests a Vector Smart Object but I’m not sure what that means!  I have my logo already saved as a BRUSH in my tool bar and stamped it right onto my bar. To adjust the size of the bar or your watermark, simply go into the Edit Menu, while on the appropriate layer and choose Transform > Scale. You will then see the toggle to click and drag to the size you’d like.  Another option is I just hit the square parenthesis tool [ for a smaller brush and ] for a larger brush size.

{I had to switch to a giraffe pic because I accidentally saved this watermark on the elephant for.–oops.}

This is just a pause to take note of our layers, below.

4. In your Layers Menu, at the bottom, click on the folder (5th icon from the left) to create a new group. Drag (click on one, then control click the other so they are both highlighted in blue–or you can drag one at a time) your Watermark and Shape layers into this new group and rename it from Layer 1 to Watermark by double clicking on the name (I didn’t rename mine yet from the screen shot below).

Having these grouped together will allow you to be able to use it in other images. The downside to this, until Photoshop changes some things, is to have two images open; the one with the watermark on it and the new one that you want to put the watermark on.   So you are dragging the “group folder” from the layers of one image to the 2nd image.  Make sense? All you need to do to is select the Watermark folder from your first image in your layers menu and drag and drop it onto the new image. Below, the giraffe image is where I created the watermark.  I then pulled up my new image and dragged the watermark group folder to my new image (the polar bear).

It landed like this:

Just hit Control + T to drag it over to where you would like it.

You can also record your own action and save it.  Do you know how to do that? In your action palette on the bottom, hit BEGIN recording, do all of the steps above, then STOP recording.  Name it, and use it whenever you need! {However actions are not in Elements, only above ps7, I think}

The watermark bar will be added to the new image and you will see the group in the layer menu of your new file. The beauty of not having these layers in the group merged is that you can manipulate the placement of the logo to either be on the right, middle, left side, or somewhere in between. Sometimes in my images my subject is on the right side, so I love having the option of moving just my logo so it’s not interfering. You also have the option of rotating the bar. Here are a couple of examples!

Protect yourself. Protect your images. Protect your time and talent!

Thanks so much, Rebecca for teaching us! Clear as mud, everyone?  Any specific questions, ask in the comments and Rebecca or I will help you out!

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