Automated Watermark

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Today’s Question: Would you tell me how I can place a watermark on my images as an action [in Photoshop]?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The basic process here involves recording an action that includes (among other steps) the task of adding a text layer with your particular watermark text onto the image, and then playing that action for all other images you want to watermark in the same way (perhaps with batch processing).

More Detail: The first step is to open an image that you can use as a reference for creating your action. After opening such an image, I recommend creating a duplicate copy for purposes of creating your action. You can do so by choosing Image > Duplicate from the menu, and then clicking the OK button in the Duplicate Image dialog.

Next, choose Window > Actions to bring up the Actions panel. If needed you can create a new folder for this action (and others) by clicking the “Create New Set” button (the folder icon) at the bottom of the Actions panel, typing a name, and clicking OK.

To start creating the action, click on the “Create New Action” button (the blank sheet of paper icon) at the bottom of the Actions panel. In the New Action dialog you can enter a name for the action (such as “Watermark”), confirm which Set (folder) you want to include the action in, and assign a keyboard shortcut if you’d like for faster access to playing the action for other images. Then click the Record button to start recording the steps in your action.

You can then perform the tasks you want to include as part of the action. For example, I would probably include a step to flatten the image, so you can more easily align the watermark with the Background image layer. So, you could choose Layer > Flatten Image for example to flatten the current image.

Next, choose the Type tool and click in the image to start typing text, selecting the text if you’d like to change attributes such as the font and size. When you’re finished you can click the Commit button (the checkmark icon) on the Options bar.

To align the text within the image (which in turn will ensure the text is in the same position for horizontal versus vertical images, for example) you’ll want to first select the text and Background layer. Since the text layer will currently be active (since you just created it) you can simply hold the Shift key on the keyboard and click the thumbnail for the Background image layer to select both layers.

Now you can choose the Move tool from the toolbox, and then click the applicable alignment buttons on the Options bar. For example, you might click the “Align Right Edges” button and then the “Align Bottom Edges” button to align the text to the bottom-right corner of the image. I would then suggestion holding the Shift key on the keyboard while pressing the up arrow button followed by the left arrow button (in this example) to move the text layer a short distance away from the absolute corner of the photo.

If you will be using the action for batch processing, you’ll generally want to include a step for saving the resulting image as the final step within your action. This will define the file format and options to be used for saving the image, which can then be used as part of the basis of batch processing. If you won’t be batch processing, you may not want to include a Save command as part of the action, but this depends of course on the specific details of your workflow.

When you’re finished performing the steps you want to include in the action, click the “Stop Recording” button (the square icon) at the bottom of the Actions panel. You can then open another image, select the action from the Actions panel, and click the Play button (the right-pointing triangle icon) to play the action for the current image. Or you could initiate a batch process for the action from Adobe Bridge.

Note that this type of approach involves setting the text for your watermark at a particular point size. As a result, the action will only work well if the images you’re preparing for output with a watermark are of approximately the same overall pixel dimensions.