Monday, January 28, 2013

Tutorial - The Curved Text Watermark

Hi everyone!

Today I have something a little different for you! I became very aware recently (thanks to you guys!) that many of my photos are being used on Instagram and other photo sharing sites without any credit given to me and with my watermark cropped out. This saddens me greatly that anyone would purposefully crop out a watermark. So I set about making my photos less vulnerable.

You may remember that I used to add my watermark along the edge of my pinky, but since discovering how easy that is to crop out, I opted to make the change to the curved-around-the cuticle watermark.

Since doing that, I've received several emails asking how to create this type of watermark, and since it's extraordinarily hard to explain without visual aid, I decided to create a step-by-step tutorial to show you all how to do it! First there's a full picture tutorial and then I've also included a video that shows me going through all of the steps.


Note: I use the GIMP program, which is a free downloadable image manipulation program. I recently got Photoshop, but I'm so used to GIMP now that I haven't even tried using Photoshop for this.

Note 2: It's in your best interest to enlarge the photos to better see all the small details.

Note 3: This post is incredibly picture-heavy, so be prepared.

Note 4: Yes I have a leopard print desktop wallpaper. Are you even a little surprised?

Keep reading for the tutorial!


Step 1: Open GIMP. It has 3 main windows - the toolbox on the left side, the image window in the middle and the layers window on the right.


Step 2: Open the image you want to add your watermark to.



Step 3: Add a new layer to your image. To do this, go to the "Layer" menu and click on "New Layer". You'll then get a prompt with a few different options. The first is the name of the layer. You can change that if you want, but it's not at all necessary. Next is the size of the layer. The layer will automatically be the same size as your original image, so no need to change that either. The one thing you do need to make sure of is that you set the "Layer Fill Type" to "Transparency".



Step 4: Since we're going to be working with the paths tool, you'll want add the paths tab to your toolbox. To do this, click on the small arrow on the right side of the toolbox. Go to "Add Tab" and then select "Paths". Now you'll see that you have a blank paths tab that we'll work with later.



Step 5: Choose your paths tool from the toolbox. It's highlighted in blue in the above and below photos in case you're not sure which one it is. With this tool, you're going to create the curved path along which your text will appear. Click your starting point first and then your end point. Then take the line that those two points created and drag it to create a curve around your cuticle. You can use the anchors of the path to move and alter it until you're satisfied with the shape and position.



Step 6: Now you want to create the text that will become the watermark. Click on the the text tool in your toolbox and before doing anything, make sure that you're no longer in the paths tab of the toolbox. Next, go ahead and change the size, font style and colour to suit your tastes. Finally, click on any part of the image to create a text box. Important: it doesn't matter where you add the text at this step.


Step 7: Close your text box. Now in the very bottom of your toolbox, there's a button that says "Text Along Path". It's highlighted in blue in the below photo. Click that to place the text you just added to the curved path you created earlier. At first, the text will show up as a strange hollow purple colour, but don't worry, we'll fix that. You'll also notice that your original text still remains at this point. But again, we'll fix that later.



Step 8: In order to fill in the text with colour, you'll first want to create another layer just as you did before in Step 3. Go to the "Layer" menu, click "New Layer" and again ensure that the "Layer Fill Type" is set to "Transparency".



Step 9: Now we want to fill in that text so that it's the desired colour and no longer hollow. To do this, select the paint brush tool from the toolbox. Choose the biggest brush you can. You can see below that in the second photo, I changed both the size and scale of the brush to make sure it was fairly large.



Step 10: Now, you want to right click on the text itself (the curved text, not the original that's still hanging around), choose "Select" and then "From Path". This will ensure that you only colour the text and nothing else on the image. When you do this, you'll see that the text is selected and looks sort of flashy around the edges.



Step 11: Colour the text in with the brush. Since it's the only element selected, nothing else will be altered but the text.


Step 12: Now it's coloured in, but it still looks pretty much the same. Not for long! Head over to your toolbox and click on the paths tab that we added earlier. There should now be two paths visible, one called "Unnamed" and another with the same name as your text (for me it's "Nails by Kayla Shevonne"). You want to right click on the latter one and delete it.



Step 13: Once you've deleted that path, you'll notice that your text is still flashy. That's easy enough to fix. Simply go to the "Select" menu in the image window and scroll down to "None".



Step 14: Now you can see your text! It's really starting to come together now. So next you want to get rid of that original text that's in the way. Head over to the Layers window on the right hand side and find that text layer. It will be named the same thing as the text (again, for me it's "Nails by Kayla Shevonne"). Right click on that layer and delete it.




Step 15: Now all you're left with is your watermark. If it's to your liking, you can reduce the opacity of it in the Layers window by simply moving the arrow on the "Opacity" bar to another percentage (as you can see, it's at 100% opacity right now). I usually change mine to somewhere between 60% and 75%, just depending on the photo. For this one in particular, I changed the opacity to 75%.


Step 16: And there you go! Your curved text watermark! Just remember to save your new photo!


I know that this seems like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes an automatic process that doesn't take very long at all.

As promised, I've also included an accompanying video.
VERY IMPORTANT: watch the video in HD because otherwise the text might look a little blurry on your screen.

If you watch the video, you'll see that the above statement about this really not taking that long is very true indeed! The video is a live screen recording and you can actually see the time on my laptop. You'll see that the video starts at 7:33pm and ends at 7:34, after I've completed all of the steps above. So once you get the hang of it, it's super quick and easy!


I've also included a Troubleshooting Guide in case you run into any problems. I could only think of a couple of problems that you might have, but if you have any other issues as you're going about this, leave me a comment below and I'll add them and their solutions to this troubleshooting list.

Troubleshooting Guide:

Problem: You got a big line shooting across your photo once you hit the "Text Along Path" button. It looks something like this:


How to fix it: No worries, it just means that your text is too long to fit along the path you created. Simply undo the steps you've already done and make your text size a little smaller so that the text fits along the path. Alternatively, if you like the font size you chose, just make your path longer. Once you understand what size path and text work the best for your personal watermark, you'll rarely ever have this problem again.

Problem: Your text is really wide and not snug along the path you created. It looks something like this:


How to fix it: This just means that when you created your text box, you created it too large. In GIMP, there's actually no need to create a text box. Instead, once you've selected the text tool, you can just click anywhere on the picture and start typing. The size of your text determines the size of the box and it automatically adjusts itself. So don't actually create a square text box to type in and your problem will be solved.
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I hope this tutorial has been helpful! Honestly, if this tutorial helps to stop even just one photo from going uncredited, it was more than worth the time that went into it. :)

69 comments:

  1. That is an awful lot of work! Thank you for showing this.

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  2. Thanks for showing this. After searching for weeks I finally found an app that can do this for on the fly editing (not sure if its available for Android...sorry). It's called "TypeDrawing." You are supposed to "draw with text" over a photo and then take the photo away for a neat typographical image....but it works great for watermarking in non-straight lines. It's a little trickey to get it at the right curve, but with some practice and a stylus for a smart phone and it's not too bad.

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  3. Wow I cannot express how useful this is!! I didnt know how to do that in GIMP!! so much help here, much appreciated Kayla! I'll be sure to to this since im afraid my pictures will be cropped since I put my water mark at the bottom! Many thanks again :)

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  4. I downloaded GIMP once and had no sweet clue how to use it so I deleted it and downloaded a "visual watermark" program... unfortunately that program could only watermark in straight lines. Thanks so much for showing how to do this!! I'll be trying this for my photos from now on!

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    1. I used to have one of those watermark programs as well! Oddly, it would always alter the colours in my photos when saving the new watermarked photo, so I just gave up on it. GIMP takes some getting used to, but now that I'm acquainted with it, I love it!

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  5. Amazing post, I have GIMP to, but I never tried the curved watermark.

    Kiss

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  6. Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I have been frustrated with my watermark because I find it too big yet easy to remove. This will be of enormous help.

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  7. I actually think it is a ton easier to do this in Photoshop if you know how to use it! But thanks for the tutorial.

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    1. That might be true, but I think that since GIMP is a free program, it's slightly more accessible than Photoshop, which not everyone has. I will have to finally open up Photoshop and give this is a try using Photoshop, though!

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  8. Thanks for this! I've been wondering how people do this!

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  9. Thanks for this tutorial. I downloaded Gimp once but didn't really know how to use it, so I might try it again. I ended up buying Photoshop Elements and that's what I use right now. I like Elements for most things, but I was disappointed to find out that it doesn't do curved watermarks. You can type along a path, but because Elements doesn't have a vector tool, the path is never 100% smooth, and the text ends up wonky (if that makes sense).

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  10. Thank for the tutorial! I do however have a bit of an issue. I have been trying to do this for at least half an hour, and maybe there's a step I'm missing, but no matter what font, or size I choose, my letters are off the path setting. Rather than hugging the cuticle or nail where I put the path, they're a few centimeters away from the line, and overlapping onto the other nails. Any idea why that's happening?

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    1. Hmm. No I'm not sure. Would you mind sending me a screenshot of the problem? I might be able to figure it out if I have a visual. My email is kaylashevonnebeauty@gmail.com

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    2. Think I got it figured out :) Thank you though!!! :) :)

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    3. Ok, I lied, lol. Guess I didn't get it figured out. Email on the way.

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    4. Mine does the same thing, if you figure it out please let me know :)

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    5. Ok, I think I figured it out. If you make the text box really big (lots of space around the text) when you apply the text to the path it will add the extra space. If you make the text box fit tight around the text, you don't get that problem and it should hug the cuticle better. (At least that's what worked for me).

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    6. Interesting! And I think that may actually be the source of the problem! Thanks rewdoesnails!

      However, as an FYI to you both, you don't actually have to create the text box like you would in other image manipulation programs. Once you select the text tool, you can just click anywhere in the picture and start typing. The size of your text determines the size of the box and it automatically adjusts itself. So don't actually create a text box and then you don't have to worry about the size of it!

      Hope that helps!

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    7. Sure enough, I just emulated this problem myself in GIMP. I've added it and the solution to the troubleshooting guide above. :)

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    8. This tutorial is great by the way, I actually understood it haha, you made it easy to understand :) Thanks!

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  11. thank you so so much! I finally understood how this works! I've had trouble with picture theft already a couple of times, and now I can finally do something against it without having to put a huge watermark all over my pictures! Thank you!

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  12. Thanks so much! I've wanted to start up my blog for so long now but I couldn't bring myself to post pictures without a watermark and I haven't had the time to figure it out!

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  13. WOW! This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!
    xoxo
    •Nancy-Lee

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  14. looks complicated lolz I have so many photos, I can't be bothered anymore =/ Plus I don't think mine are steal-worthy so mehh.. anyway, I believe it's easier with Photoshop

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  15. I have been wondering how u guys make a curve watermark.
    Thanks for this tutorial ❤

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  16. Apparently there is a bug in GIMP 2.8.2 that doesn't have the "text along path" button. I've been trying for an hour now to figure out how to do it :( Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Scratch that, found an old download... crisis averted! :)

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    2. Which version did you end up downloading? I've been having the same problem with 2.8 and 2.8.4.

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  17. I really like the curved watermark opposed to the one along your pinkie. It looks so professional!

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  18. I cannot figure out how to do this, I'm so frustrated...I'm sure its just the version of GIMP I have or something. I am SO stuck on step 7- where you click 'text along path'. My GIMP does not have that button! Maybe i'm doing something wrong???
    Do you know what's wrong with it?
    thanks so much

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  19. Thanks so much for this blog post. I needed this tutorial so much.

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  20. you are truly awesome - thank you so much for sharing!! <3

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  21. Kayla, I am stuck at step 11. After I select it will not let me color in with the paintbrush. In addition, my text along path doesn't look rainbowy-- it's more of a reddish color with white filling. I'm not sure if that affects it.

    My text along the path is also much smaller and is not legible at a normal size.

    Any ideas on how to fix those issues? Thanks so much!

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  22. Thanks so much for this tutorial - commands are slightly different on the windows version but I figured them out! :)

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  23. Great tutorial but man this is so much work i just want to cry im not that invested in keeping someone from stealing my photos.

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  24. great tutorial - I do have one question though - since the watermark is added as a layer I think there are tools out there that can remove the layer and provide the image without the watermark - to someone who is trying to reuse your image without giving you credit. Just thought I'd share that - I may be wrong but that is my current understanding of watermarks added as separate layers.
    Nice tutorial and I'm sure it has helped a lot of people - just like your lovely nail art tutorials :)

    <a href="http://ourexternalworld.blogspot.in>My blog: Our External World: Indian Makeup And Beauty Blog</a>

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    1. Years ago I used to use photoshop and you were able to merge all the layers to make one. Looking at these photos under the layer tag there a merge down option. I assume that's what that does. Merges all the layers.

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    2. thanks, I finally tried this out and yes it does seem like a lot of work but it works! Will use this more often now to get a hang of it. Still not sure of how to save it as a jpeg though.

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    3. ok just found that out - use the File->Export instead of save if you want to use jpeg

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    4. Kas is right, GIMP allows you to merge layers, so that's an option for anyone who wants to do so. I'll probably work that into my own watermarking routine just to keep things even safer. Thanks for the tip!

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  25. Loved the tutorial!
    I downloaded gimp and followed the steps correctly and it worked!
    It took me to get to do the first time, because I'm not familiar with the program.
    But I managed and I am very happy!
    I put the link of your site here below:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ingridfp/8526659488/in/photostream
    Thanks for the help!
    kisses

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  26. Thank you for this. Someone just informed me that stuff of mine was being used on a website and they has flat out edited my watermark off my finger :(

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  27. GIMP won't let me save this as a jpeg file... when I look at "my pictures" to see it in my file it's a blank square with the GIMP logo... it will open, but only in GIMP format.

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    Replies
    1. you should use File->Export to save as jpeg - just found this out :)

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    2. Yes GIMP may save your file as a ".xcf" file, which is a GIMP file that allows you to open your image and its layers in GIMP. You can export the file, as Shila has pointed out, or when you click "Save As", just change the file type to .jpg. You'll then get a prompt saying that you have to export the file in order for it to be a jpg image. Click yes and you should be good to go.

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  28. I can't even tell you how much this has helped me! I was using GIMP and watermarking in one of the four corners. It looked terrible and the watermark would have been easy to crop out. Now my pictures actually look better and they're safer! I mentioned your tutorial in my latest post (scheduled to publish at midnight) and added a link to this page. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad it helped. :)

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  29. Anyone else having issues around step 7? I click "add along path", and no matter what kind of curved path I have made in the past, it goes along a way less narrow path that I did not create :( I cant figure out what Im doing wrong.

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    Replies
    1. I fixed it! okay, now Im stuck on the next step, where the paint thing refuses to colour in the red text

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  30. I'm totally suck on step 7. There isn't any Text Along Path button on the bottom. I'm so confused. Could anyone help me?

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  31. after a lot of headache i gave up lol. I do curved tect too but its my own generated way .... u really explained nicely but i don't know the software i downloaded is not having same interface as shown here so yup .... still i loved your blog, i am following u everywhere so that i dont miss anything ! :)

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  32. I got referred to this tutorial through a group on Facebook and I would like to say Thank You!!! It was a headache, but I did get my first watermark put on! :) Im sure it will get easier as I do it more. Great tutorial!!

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  33. I really needed this! I was told to use GIMP to edit my photo and watermarks, but I wasn't 100% sure as yet! But Thank God I Googled and I found you! You are a LIFE SAVER and I am very Thankful again!

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  34. Photoshop
    is the most important tool from any respectable designer’s toolbox and without
    it, your chances to create a stunning design is very limited. Photoshop Free.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you so much for this! I'd seen tutorials before on this, but never with Gimp (which is what I have & am comfortable with). I can't wait to sit down and try this out. :D

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  36. If you want to add some curved watermark directly on your phone you can try this: http://stylefrizz.com/201401/create-curved-text-watermark-instagram-pictures/

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  37. Lapes Beautiful CreatureMarch 5, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    exactly what I needed. God bless

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  38. Ten Tiny PaintingsAugust 13, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Thanks! So useful!

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  39. This helped so much! Thank you tons for sharing your knowledge :)

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  40. GIMP program is my favorite too.http://www.onlinephotoshopfree.net

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  41. My goodnes you really have a nice tutorial, i love all yout tutorial on photoshop as i cannot afford any photoshop i am using alternative to Photoshop Online Free if you can make any tuts on toolpic that will be great and wi wil be very thankful to you thanks

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  42. Hi...


    I would like to let you know that i am impressed from your this amazing tutorial. I am expecting more stuff from you in the future. I am using photoshop free in order to edit my photos.

    ReplyDelete
  43. This has helped me out SOOO much! Thank you for such a great tutorial!


    Sam xx | insamazement.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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