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How to Watermark Your Images Using GIMP

Opening the Layers/Channels/Paths/Undo Dialog in GimpOpening the Layers/Channels/Paths/Undo Dialog in Gimp There's been some talk on PR lately of images, and companies and/or people using them without permission, and it's come up that a lot of people (including dfr!) don't know how to watermark their images. The thread that prompted this post was the one started by Rebecca of Tales of a Wannabe Seamstress about pattern companies publishing blog photos on Facebook, but there have been several other threads recently on similar topics.

While someone with much photo-editing skill can probably remove most watermarks, just having it decreases the temptation to simply swipe an image because it's easy, and increases the likelihood that if someone else does use your images, they'll at least credit you.
In general, circulation of your work through comments, links, excerpts, etc., is usually positive, and inclusion on gallery and "social collection" sites like Pinterest or Wists is generally a good thing. Whenever you put something up online, you shouldn't have the expectation that it will be private, and usually visibility is what you want. But having your images simply stolen is never fun.

How to Create New Layers in GimpHow to Create New Layers in Gimp

You should consider carefully before objecting to properly attributed excerpts, even if you weren't asked. Interlinking and commenting on what other people have done is what makes the blogosphere go 'round. If someone has quoted you or shown a reasonable picture or screenshot of something you've done that could be considered fair use, and has linked to you and properly credited it, you should probably be happy rather than angry. The guideline on fair use is that their use shouldn't decrease the value of what you've published. That doesn't mean they can't criticize it, it just means that they can't include so much that your own post would become redundant to their readers. The legal criteria for fair use are outlined by United States Code Title 17, Subsection 107.

Gimp Opacity Slider and Layer Mode SelectionGimp Opacity Slider and Layer Mode Selection

How To Watermark Your Images

So, some quick instructions on watermarking. Most of what you're going to do uses the Layers/Channels/Paths/Undo dialog. It should open along with GIMP, but if it dosn't, you can access it through the "windows" menu in GIMP's top toolbar. (You can view the larger versions of images in this tutorial, and on my blog in general, by clicking on them.)
What you're going to want to do is create a new layer for the watermark.

Note that when you add text, that text is always added in a new layer, and the layer is automatically labeled by what the text says. So if you're watermarking using text only, you shouldn't need to add your new layer manually.

New layers added using the "add new layer" button (Circled in red) are by default called "New layer," "New layer #1," etc. If you right click on the layer in the layers dialog (Not in your image!) the first option is "Layer attributes," which will allow you to change the name of your layer if you wish to do so.

Once you've created a new layer, whether it's text or an image (I've created a GIMP brush for my watermark, so I can easily stamp it anywhere) you can manipulate the layer opacity and mode using the options just above the list of layers. Whatever layer is selected will be the one affected by your selections. Opacity should be fairly self explanatory: 0 is completely transparent (invisible) and 100 is completely opaque.
The layer modes contain things like overlay, darken only, lighten only, and value. They dictate how the layer shows itself. For example, if you make a layer the "darken only" mode, you'll only see the contents of that layer in places where the selected layer is darker than what is under it.

When you select Edit > Paste as > Paste as New Layer, your newly pasted layer will be a floating selection, not yet anchored to a "real" layer. You can fix this by clicking the "create new layer" button. Otherwise, if you paste anything else, that floating section will automatically anchor to the layer beneath it. I believe anchoring is the same as merging down. It's not the same as moving down, which is simply rearranging the order of the layers.


Back to GIMP 101 [sigh]. I

Back to GIMP 101 [sigh]. I know I've added text within a set of images before, and it seemed fairly easy at the time, but apparently I've forgotten whatever I knew.

How do I create the actual watermark (i.e., the text)? I opened the Text tool in the Toolbox, selected a font & size, etc., but where the heck do I actually write my text? & then where do I save it, & where do I find it if I want to use it over & over as a layer?

BTW, I had a video on my blog (I actually thought I was linking to the video when I first put it there, but the video itself showed up) Even though I credited the heck out of it, I was still a little less than comfy with it being on my blog, so I just deleted it, after all of this discussion. I figure if I'm not absolutely sure, I don't need it.

and thanks for doing this Maggie!

Jilly Be

Well, there's good news &

Well, there's good news & there's bad news. I've muddled my way through creating a watermark (don't ask me how I did it - I thought I was doing everything the same as I was before, but all of a sudden it worked!). I even managed to layer it onto my image, but when I try to copy into another image, it lands in the middle and I can't move it.

I know that moving a selection is intro to GIMP 101 - lordy I need a teenager in the house to help me!

So you did..

GIMP Move ToolGIMP Move ToolSo you did figure out that you put in text by just clicking somewhere on the image, and then the text box pops up?

You move layers using the four-way arrow button in the toolbox. The default is to move the one you're pointing at, which can get tricky with text. There's a radio button option underneath that in the toolbox when the move tool is selected, that has the option to move the active layer instead. For example, when I was putting the red circle/ellipse on this screenie, first I circled the top option rather than the one that I was directing you to. To move it with the "pick a layer or guide" option, I had to have my mouse over the red. Using the "move the active layer" option, whichever layer is selected in the layers dialog is the one that will move.

Ahhh thank you; I was getting

Ahhh thank you; I was getting confused between the 2 boxes with 4 arrows right next to each other. I still don't get it though, & I'm wasting too much time on it!

I can go through all the steps & create one watermark....but then I have to reinvent the wheel with the next picture, because I'm having issues saving the layer & re-using it.

How about you just come on over & visit me? ;^D


JillyBe, if you're confused about all of this, what hope is there for me? Maybe Maggie could write "Gimp for Dummies"!

If you need

If you need a complete guide to all things GIMP-y, what you probably want is Grokking the GIMP.

What are you trying..

What are wanting to use for the watermark? "JillyBe 2011"? "JillyBeJoyful 2011"? Just "JillyBe" or "JillyBeJoyful"?

I was using JillyBe 2011.

I was using JillyBe 2011. But now that you've written out those options, I think JillyBeJoyful 2011 would be good, because the first one seemed a little short to me.

The problem my limited brain keeps running into with the help tutes, is that there always seems to be a kindergarten step that's left out. Once I get past kindergarten, the 1st grade instructions are much easier to follow. But then there's another leap into 2nd grade, and the crucial summer school step was eliminated.

Is there any hope for me?


How To Find Your GIMP Brushes FolderHow To Find Your GIMP Brushes Folder How to Access Your Gimp PreferencesHow to Access Your Gimp Preferences Okay, this is how to figure out where your GIMP brushes are stored. Sending the GIMP brush to the e-mail address in your Blogger profile, 'cause to attach a file to a comment I think I'd have to add the comment node module and it would probably be kinda silly to do that for one file. (And I don't think anybody else needs a "JillyBeJoyful 2011" GIMP brush!)
That way you can use it as a brush. (The icon in between the pencil and the eraser in the toolbox. :P )
And remember: Control Z is undo. Almost everywhere.


Maggie, non-computer type persons like myself don't even know how to get to GIMP (not that I have any photos which someone might want to use--LOL.)

GIMP Download Page

GIMP downloads page
You want the one near the top with the little arrow next to it that says "Download GIMP 2.6.11 – Installer for Windows XP SP2 or later" You do know how to install a program, right? One with an automated installer that does everything for you?


Aha--it didn't say in your blog entry that one would need to download it. OK, OK, it would be obvious to everyone else, or to those who remembered a similar discussion you had when trying to help another blogger. Sigh.) I've never used the Windows Automatic Installer, but at least now I know where in the world Gimp is, so should be able to work with it. (Are you face palming right now?)

Well yes..

In writing a tutorial on how to do something in particular using GIMP, I was making the assumption that anybody trying to follow it would know what GIMP is. Tongue
There are lots of general GIMP tutorials on the web.. and I'm sure other watermarking tutorials too.
I was tempted to try to make a more comprehensive tutorial, but there's just too much to cover if I don't know what specifically someone might not understand.

Long-standing Netiquette

When I first started making sites in 2001, it was already long-established netiquette that you never post someone's else's personal pic or graphic on your own site/page without permission. This carried over to blogging in 2003 when I started blogging as well. Commercial sites' images fall under fair use, and most consider linking to the source to be proper.

The distinction here is the personal pics of individuals, who have not signed a model release for said corporation (who should know better). Linking to the posts/pages would have avoided the problem.

Oh I'm not disagreeing

But at the same time, the images that BMV put in their Facebook albums did link to the blogs that they were from, in much the same way as another blogger might have done. It's not like they just swiped the images. There's enough real image theft out there without accusing pattern companies of image theft for sharing images from bloggers who used their patterns and linking to the blog. They may have been approaching the line, but I'm not so sure they stepped over it.

At least one foot over that line

For the simple reason they are a corporation and many of those bloggers posts pics of themselves wearing what they've made ... back to no model release form signed. If they had just posted a text link saying "Look at how this person made this pattern!" then they would be in the clear. Reposting the pics on their page without permission (even with links to sources) is the part that is wrong, especially the ones showing the blogger wearing the garments.

BMV deals with models and model release forms all the time for their pattern envelopes, so they cannot be ignorant of this.

Not to mention ... this has long been considered downright RUDE.

Not sure if it's a whole foot

Is it just the fact that they're a company that makes it wrong, then?
I mean, we're not talking about an ad or a billboard in Times Square. We're talking about a picture posted to a blog and then reposted to Facebook, credited and linked to the original. Something that by default mentioned the company that reposted it to Facebook. It would have been better if they asked, but they did even make a point of drawing attention to it, by leaving comments about having posted it.
I can see why the knee-jerk reaction is to get upset about it, and why it would have been better if they'd asked before posting it. But at the same time, even if it's a netiquette violation, I'm not sure I can say that it's truly wrong. It's the kind of thing you barely think twice about, going in the opposite direction, posting a picture of the front of the envelope along with a blog post about a pattern. Yea, a blog isn't by nature commercial, but then again, neither is a Facebook account, even if it is a company's account. They're not directly selling anything on Facebook, they're putting up news about their patterns.

They're toe-ing the line by not asking first, but they're also leaving comments on the blogs letting them know that they used them, and taking the pictures down if the person objects.
If it wasn't commercial, if it were a free pattern somebody put up on their blog, and somebody else used it to make something neat, and the original blogger put up a picture of what the person made along with credits and a link and left a comment on the blog of the person who put up the picture letting them know that they'd done that, wouldn't that be okay? It seems like the only difference is that one is a company.
And given the size and popularity difference between major pattern companies and small sewbloggers, the re-posting of the picture probably provided more exposure for the blogger than for the company.
If it's wrong, I'm not sure it's wrong for anything more than just being kinda rude. No, they don't own the picture, but it does fall into the fuzzy area of what constitutes fair use. Commercial vs. noncommercial use is only one factor to consider in defining fair use.

Hi, thanks for the tutorial.

Hi, thanks for the tutorial. Is there an easy way to set watermark to a bunch of images with GIMP?

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