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Add A Copyright Watermark Pattern To A Photo With Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson. In this Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to learn how to easily add a copyright watermark pattern to a photo. If you’re one of the many digital photographers or designers who are using the web these days either to show a client the work you’ve done for them or to show off your portfolio, one of the major concerns is that someone out there is going to steal your work. And while there’s no guarantee that anything you do will stop them, there are things we can do to make life more difficult for them. One of those things is to add a copyright watermark to your images, and in this Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to see how easy it is to do.

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We’ll use this photo as our example:

The original image

Let’s say this was a photo I took for a client and I want to show it to them as a proof. Before I go showing it to them or anyone else, I’m going to first take a couple of minutes and add my copyright information as a watermark across the image.

Step 1: Open A New Blank Document With A Transparent Background

Go up to the File menu at the top of the screen and select New… to bring up the New Document dialog box. I’m going to enter 6 inches for the width, 4 inches for the height, and 300 pixels/inch for the resolution. For Background Contents, make sure you set it to Transparent by clicking on the down-pointing arrow and selecting it from the list:

The New Document dialog box
Photoshop’s New Document dialog box.

Click OK, and the new blank document appears:

The new blank document
The new blank document with a transparent background.

Step 2: Type Your Copyright Information

Grab your Type tool from the Tools palette or by pressing T on your keyboard. Then press D on your keyboard to set black as your foreground color if it isn’t already, and enter your copyright information.

To access the copyright symbol “©”, press Option-G on a Mac, or hold down the Alt key on Windows and enter 0169 on the numeric keypad. I’ll enter “© 2007 Patterson Photography”:

Adding copyright information
Typing my copyright information.

Step 3: Rotate The Text With Free Transform

The copyright watermark tends to look better with the text rotated a bit, so once you’ve entered your text, press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to bring up the Free Transform handles around your text, then place your mouse cursor just outside one of the corner handles and drag left or right with your mouse to rotate the text. Hold down the Shift key as you drag to rotate in nice, even increments:

Rotate the text with the Free Transform command
Rotate the text with Photoshop’s Free Transform command.

Press Enter (Win) or Return (Mac) to apply the rotation when you’re done.

Step 4: Trim The Document Around The Text

Go up to the Image menu next and select Trim. This brings up the Trim dialog box. We want to trim away all the extra space around the text, and since all the extra space is made up of transparent pixels, select the first option at the top of the Trim dialog box, Transparent Pixels:

Photoshop's Trim dialog box
Photoshop’s “Trim” dialog box.

Click OK, and Photoshop trims away all the extra space around the text:

Photoshop removes the extra space around the text
The extra space around the text is now gone.

Step 5: Define The Text As A Pattern

Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and select Define Pattern. We’re going to create a pattern out of our copyright information. The Pattern Name dialog box appears:

Photoshop's Pattern Name dialog box
Photoshop’s “Pattern Name” dialog box.

Name your new pattern “copyright” and then click OK.

Step 6: Close The Copyright Document

We’ve done everything we need to do with our copyright document, so go ahead and close out of it at this point, leaving just your original image open on the screen.

Step 7: Add A New Layer In The Original Image Document

Back in our original image document, we currently have one layer, the Background layer, which contains our image. We don’t want to add our copyright information directly to the Background layer, so either click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N (Win) / Shift+Command+Option+N (Mac) to create a new layer above the Background layer, which Photoshop names “Layer 1″:

Create a new layer above the Background layer
Click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette or use the keyboard shortcut to add a new layer above the Background layer.

Step 8: Fill The New Layer With The Copyright Pattern

With our new layer selected in the Layers palette, go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and select Fill, which brings up the Fill dialog box. For “Contents”, click on the down-pointing arrow and select Pattern from the list:

Choose Pattern as the Fill contents
Choose “Pattern” as the Fill contents.

Then, with Pattern selected, click on the little thumbnail image beside the words Custom Pattern and then choose your copyright pattern from the list that appears. It will be the last pattern at the bottom:

Select the copyright pattern from the list
Choose your copyright pattern from the list of custom patterns.

Click OK, and your new layer is filled with a repeating pattern of your copyright information:

The image is filled with the copyright pattern
The copyright pattern is now repeating across the image.

Step 9: Change The Blend Mode To “Overlay” and Lower The Opacity

The only problem now is that the text is too prominent. It’s blocking much of the image from view. To fix that, with the new layer selected, go up to the layer blend mode options in the top left of the Layers palette, click on the down-pointing arrow beside the word “Normal” and select Overlay from the list. Then move over to the Opacity option beside it and reduce the opacity as needed. I’m going to lower mine to 50%:

Change the blend mode to Overlay and lower the opacity
Change the blend mode to “Overlay” and lower the blend mode as needed.

And here’s my final result:

The final result with the copyright watermark
The final result with the copyright watermark.

And there we have it!

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