Thursday, March 13, 2008

Watermarking images revisited

Back in May I posted on how to watermark images. At the time I outsourced the instructions detailing the actual creation of the watermark image to be used. The site I pointed to, while definitely helpful in one level, still left some questions lingering in my mind. I wasn't quite happy with the image I used for the watermark, thus my search for how to improve it.

Upon turning to trusted Google, I came across a site that did a better job at explaining how to do what I wanted. It was still not tailor-made to my exact needs, but with a little modification I was able to get the results I wanted. I recreate those steps below.

In Gimp, open the dialog box for new image creation. Give the appropriate size of the image you want. Ensure that the Fill with: drop down menu has Transparency selected.

In the editing window that comes up, select the Text option under the Tools menu. Click inside the window to bring up a smaller window in which you enter the text you want.

Type out whatever word you want to use. This will be echoed in the editing window. When done, you can change the font, font size and colour using the text dialog box.

You can also move the text around the window to an appropriate location. Save the image as an xcf file. Make sure you do this, otherwise you will be unable to work on the different layers in subsequent steps.

The reason I did not like the original watermark I used was the fact that it was all one colour, thus making it difficult to see in certain images. My motivation to recreate it was to get a two-colour watermark, both colours contrasting such that at least one of them would be visible at all times. The way to do this was by adding an outline to the text and having that a complimentary colour to that of the text itself.

To add an outline, first of all select the text outline. To do this, right click the text layer in the Layers window and then click on Alpha to Selection from the resulting menu. In the image below, the layer with Watermark next to it is the text layer.

This should cause the text in the editing window to have dotted lines around the letters indicating they are selected.

Go back to the Layers window and right click on the Background layer and select New Layer from the resulting menu. Name the new layer Outline. Click on the Outline layer to select it.

Ensure that the foreground colour is set to black in the main Gimp window. In the image below, it is the top left square on the bottom left.

Right click on the text in the editing window, then select Edit - Stroke Selection from the resulting menu. Select the Stroke line option from the dialog box that comes up. Adjust the line width to the value you want, then click on the Stroke button to activate.

Resulting in...

Delete the Background layer from the Layers window by right clicking on it and selecting Delete Layer from the resulting menu. Right click on any of the other two layers and then select Merge Visible Layers from the resulting menu. This should bring up a dialog box. Select the Clipped to image option, then click on Ok.

In the Layers window, change the opacity of the image to a value you want. Opacity specifies how apparent the image will be when you merge it with your pictures. The higher the value, the more visible it will be. You can play around with the value until you get to one that suits your needs.

Giving you...

Save the image as a gif or png (I use png format) and it is ready for use in your photographs. Instructions on how to merge it with your photographs are in my previous post.

And how does this compare to what I had before? Well, judge for yourselves...



However, there will still be the situations that will tax even this watermark image. Like the example below.

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