Turn your signature into your own personal watermark brush for your photos
Watermarks are a hotly debated topic. There are lots of good, and some silly, arguments both for and against them. But it’s funny how nobody ever seemed to accuse Van Gogh or Picasso of “ruining” their artwork by adding their signature to the corner of the canvas.
So, with that in mind, here’s Colin Smith at Photoshop Cafe to show us how to turn our actual signature into a watermark. Obviously, this is in Photoshop, and Colin quickly turns his signature into a brush with which he can stamp any image he chooses. A quick and easy process to make it, and an even simpler one to use it.
The first step is to just grab a pencil, Colin uses a rather soft 4B pencil, and write your name on a nice quality sheet of paper. Textured paper works well, as this can be directly translated into Photoshop. You’ll want to draw it big, to make the texture as detailed as possible.
Next, photograph your signature from directly overhead – don’t do it at an angle or it’ll look wrong. In the video, Colin simply uses his phone, and then emails the image to himself. But you could use a DSLR if you wanted to get fancy with it. You could also scan it in, if you happen to have one.
Load up the photograph of your signature into Photoshop and tweak the levels to blow the paper out to white and give a good texture in the pencil lines.
With the background turned to white, it’s simply a case of using your selection tools to draw an outline around the signature. Be careful not to include anything that isn’t white and isn’t your signature (like the dark corners of the image). Then from Photoshop’s “Edit” menu, choose Define Brush Preset, and when the dialogue box pops up, hit ok.
Finally, just fire up the image onto which you wish to place your signature, choose the brush tool and select the custom brush you just created. Set an appropriate foreground colour that stands out from your image, and click where you want it to appear.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.