Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop

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Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop

One of the great features inside of Lightroom 3 is the feature which allows us to add watermarks to our photographs-- whether in slide show, print web, or while exporting our images. You know a lot of times we use watermarks in order to protect our photographs. Other times though, it might be kind of interesting to create a watermark which reinforces our brand. In this case, we can create something either simple or elaborate. Here what I would want to do in this first step is just explore how we could create something which might reinforce our overall brand. Well, I have this file titled logo.tif.

It's a layered file. Let's go ahead and open this up inside of Photoshop and start to think about designing this, or working in Photoshop, and then saving it out, so that we can use it as a custom watermark in a way that it supports or reinforces our brand. All right. Well, to open this up, we can go to Photo > Edit In, and then choose Photoshop, or you can press Command+E on a Mac--Ctrl+E on Windows. Here we want to edit the original file. We'll simply click Edit. In Photoshop, I will press F to go to Full Screen View mode.

Then I want to focus in on my layers, so I'll double-click the Adjustments tab, so we can take a look at what I've included in this layered document. Now to add layers to a document, it's really easy. Type, for example, you can simply use the Type tool, or you can drag a photograph from one image into another. I have these various layers. What I want to do is just start to stack these up to create a little bit of an interesting layout. All right. Well, let's start down here at the bottom. With this text field, I'm going to change the blending mode to Soft Light. Here I'll choose Soft Light.

It makes it a bit more faint or bit too faint, so I'll duplicate it. You can do that by pressing Command+J or Ctrl+J. Now I have a bit more of that text. Yet, it's still it's kind of blending into the background. I'll lower the opacity, because I want to create kind of this vintage tag type of a look here. Now here you can see I brought in another photograph into this file, just a photograph of a road in a desert. I'll click on that layer and again, try that blending mode out of Soft Light. Soft Light does such a good job when you're trying to blend things together to try to create textures or something of interest.

Next, we have the more text. Again, same thing. I'm going to try blending modes. I'll try Overlay. Also try Soft Light. In this case, I'll go to Soft Light. I kind of like that little picture of a bear down there. Once again, we'll try a blending mode on for this one just to blend it back. It looks like opacity got brought down. I'm going to bring that up a little bit. Then position this somewhere in there. Then I have this little made in california tagline. Again, I'm just using blending modes. If all of this blending is new to you, there are plenty of courses on creative effects with blending or creativity with Photoshop.

The point here isn't necessarily to teach Photoshop, but just to begin to get you to think about how you could work in this way to create something that you really couldn't have created in Lightroom, or you couldn't have created in any other way. In this case hopefully, you are kind of seeing that what we are doing here is just using the Soft Light blending. Sometimes, we just duplicate a layer. You can drag it to the New Layer icon. It gives a bit more of that, because whenever you have double of it, it's just kind of bulks out the intensity of that item. All right. Well, so far, so good. I am liking what we have here, except that I need to do a few more things.

I want even more, perhaps, of this, because it feels a little bit too faint. One way to do that is to click in your top layer, and actually merge everything you've done to the very top. There is a shortcut to merge to top. It's a long shortcut, but it's a worthwhile shortcut to know. If you're on a Mac, it's Shift+Option+ Command+E. If you're on Windows, that's Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. So what this did is it just took everything that we had underneath here and flattened it up to the top.

Again, sometimes that can be helpful when you're working with blending, because it just allows you to kind of say okay, everything I've done is now on one layer. I'll name this layer "merged." Do you have to merge the top? No. I'm just kind of going through a typical Photoshop workflow perhaps. Well, here on this layer, I want to get rid of the white in the background. Lots of ways to do that. One technique that you could use would be to go to a Selection tool. You can use Quick Select or the magic wand. Here you'd want to turn Contiguous off, lower your tolerance a little bit, and click on the white.

If you don't get enough of it, increase your tolerance, and then click on another area of the white. See if you can really start to add this up by holding on the Shift key as well. That can give you more of a selection. Now you'll never know if this is good until you click on your Add Layer Mask icon. Now here when I add my layer mask, I realize, bummer--I did the exact opposite of what I want. But if you know anything about masking, you know that doesn't matter, because all you need to do is invert the mask. Do that by way of shortcut: Press Command+I or Ctrl+I. Or in the Masks panel, click Invert.

The whole point here is that I want something with transparency in the background, so that my watermark can sit on top of the image, not with a white background, but so that I can see the image in this little hole here and also around the corners of this. Now if your edges aren't perfect, what you want to do is go to Mask Edge. In the Mask Edge, you can turn on a little bit of Smart Radius here. You can also perhaps add a bit of contrast there. You can even feather the edge out a touch or smooth it just a little bit there. Again, you can just try to make the edge a little bit stronger.

Now again, I don't want to get too far into masking, but for here we'll say okay, that looks good. The next thing I want to do before I finish this I should say is look at maybe modifying the contrast of this file. So we'll click on the Adjustment Layer icon. Here, I'll choose Curves. I'm going to just go ahead and darken this up, and also brighten, just a little traditional S-curve. Just adds a little bit darker tones there. I could also go into some other channels, maybe the red channel. Add just a little bit of red there. Actually no, I think that's fine, just as it is.

I think that looks pretty good. All right. Well, so far, so good. We have these adjustments that we've made. We've done all this work inside of Photoshop. Again, the point here is just to get you to begin to think creatively about how you can do things like this. Well, what we need to do now is save this file out in a format that will work with Lightroom, so that we can select this as a graphical identity plate. So whatever you've created, what you want to do next then is go to the File pulldown menu. You want to choose Save for Web & Devices.

In the Save for Web & Devices, what we're looking for is the PNG-24 format. What that will do is it'll allow us to have transparency. You can see that in the background now. Then go ahead and click Save. We want to save this to a location where we can access it. I'll save it in the same location there. Just click Save. Then now we're done with that side of our workflow. Well, what we need to do next is take a look at how we can use this creative custom watermark inside of Lightroom. We'll explore how we can do that in the next movie.

Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop
Video duration: 7m 0s 6h 45m Advanced


Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Chris Orwig as part of the Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques

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