Watermarking in Lightroom 3

Tue, Sep 21, 2010

Best Practices, Lightroom, Workflow

We have covered watermarking techniques in the past utilizing Timothy Armes excellent LR2/Mogrify plugin. While the Mogrify plug-in is still the most powerful method of watermarking, Lightroom 3 now has a strong, native watermarking feature.

Lightroom 3 gives you two watermarking options, text or graphical watermarks, or using the Lightroom Identity Plate as a graphical watermark. Both methods allow a great deal of control over watermark presentation and may be all you may ever need, however Mogrify allows more versatility in watermarking your images, and the cost of added steps and complexity. Lightroom 3 makes watermarking easy, so lets jump in.

Starting in the Print Module, scroll down the right tool bar until you reach the Page panel. This panel contains the tools we will utilize to create watermarks.

You can see both the Identity Plate and Watermarking options are present. Identity Plate will superimpose the graphics from your Lightroom Identity Plate as a watermark for your image, whereas Watermarking allows the use of text or other images. Let’s start with the Identity Plate option.

Normally, the Identity Plate tool will simply use the current Identity Plate active in Lightroom. As indicated by the call out above, clicking this small arrow will open a dialog to change your Identity Plate for watermarking purposes if you have multiple Identity Plates made.

Your Identity Plate of choice will show in the preview window and will appear on your image at this time.

You can position the Identity Plate on the preview by simply grabbing and moving it about. Primary concerns at this point are orientation, size, transparency and color. You can flip the orientation of the Identity Plate by clicking on the percentage at the top right of the Identity Plate tool.

Clicking this will allow you to rotate the Identity Plate 90, 180 and 270 degrees; allowing you to flip the watermark as desired. There is no further rotation allowed. Beneath the Identity Plate preview window, notice the Override Color checkbox. If there is color in your Identity Plate and you want a uniformly colored watermark, click this to get a basic white conversion. Opacity and Scale sliders allow you to adjust the level of transparency of the watermark and its size.

There are two further options, Render behind image which will cause the watermark to be layered behind your image obscuring it. Render on every image will simply render the watermark onto every image exported just as it is on the first.

Identity Plate watermarking a a good quick option for watermarking with reasonable results.

Next up is the Watermarking tool. Unlike the Identity Plate tool, Watermarking asks you to select an existing watermark preset or to configure a new one.

In the above dropbox, None denotes no watermark, Light Plain is a custom watermark preset I use, and Edit Watermarks… opens the Watermark Editor dialog.

As indicated on the above image, you can choose to use a Text or Graphical watermark. The selection you choose will alter the options available in the Editor. Go ahead and choose Graphic, it will quickly open a filesystem window to allow you to choose your graphic.

Simply select your image and it will apply it to the preview.

Now on the tool panel on the right, scroll down to Watermark Effects, to configure the appearance of the watermark.

The Opacity slider adjusts the transparency level of the image. (0) is invisible, (100) is opaque. Adjust until you reach the level of transparency you desire. Next is the Size tool.You can select Proportional, Fit or Fill. Fit and Fill are as they sound, either fitting the watermark inside the image frame or stretching the watermark to fill the entire frame. Generally Proportional is a much better tool to use, as you can adjust the size of your watermark to the perfect size for your needs.

The Inset sliders will move your watermark around the image as desired, from its point of origin. This allows you precise placement of the watermark. Anchor states where the point of origin of the watermark will be. The radio button delineate the 3 regions of the photo, clicking on any given button will anchor the water mark in that region of the photo it is applied to. Rotate simply rotates your watermark in 90 degree increments.

Utilizing these tools, you can rapidly create a Watermark to be applied to many images with no further work required. The setting and image you use to configure this watermark will be saved into a watermark preset that is accessible from the Watermarking drop box. When you click on Save you will be prompted for a name, once you name it, your watermark is saved.

Now lets back up a minute, as we can also create textual watermarks in the Watermark Editor. Scroll back up the tool panel` and select the Text radio button at the top of the window.

The box in the lower left side of the dialog is the Text Box, where you type in the text you desire to be rendered on your image. In the Text Options of the tool panel you can then select your Font, Style, Alignment and Color of your text. If you enable the Shadow check box, you can also create shadow effects for your text. Creating a text water mark is easy, because after you configure its appearance, you then scroll to the bottom of the tool panel and adjust the placement and size of the watermark just as you would a graphical watermark. Click Save and your new text watermark will be ready to be used.

The downside of watermarking in Lightroom is that you cannot create a text and graphic combo, you would have to render the text in Photoshop to do so. Mogrify allows this added flexibility, however most of us create one or two watermarks we stick to, so the need to render a graphic with text first is not so much of a pain. The upside is that once you create a watermark, it is right in that drop box and you do not have to configure it again, it is ready to rock when you are.

So you have a few options for watermarking right from Lightroom, and both are massive improvements over prior versions of Lightroom. Once again, Adobe makes improvements that allow use to speed our workflows and focus more on taking great photos.

Michael W. Gray – LifeInDigitalFilm

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