Watermarking in Aperture

When I first began using Aperture to upload images to places like Flickr, I wasn’t aware that I could readily add a watermark to my images. It was something I didn’t even consider at first, but various external circumstances prompted me to change my mind.

Anyway, like I said, it’s not immediately obvious how you actually go about adding a watermark through Aperture. This may have changed in Aperture 3, but I am still working with Aperture 2. Everything that follows is for version 2, but should still hold good for version 3, I suppose. The nice thing is the watermark is added as part of the export process, so isn’t added to the original images in your library, and you can decide whether to add the watermark or not at export time.

First up, create your watermark. Any decent pixel-editing application will let you do this, provided you can save the resulting image out with a transparent background (alpha channel). I used Photoshop to create my watermark, simply a copyright symbol and my name in white letters, reasonably large (96px high, if I recall), with a subtle drop shadow to hold it against lighter backgrounds. The image was saved as a .psd.

Next, step into Aperture.

From the Aperture menu, choose Presets and Image Export.

Presets

Choose the output style you want to add a watermark to, and click the plus button to make a copy of it.

Plus

I rename it to add “WM”, so it’s clear it has the watermark embedding feature enabled.

Change

Now, click the check box next to Show Watermark to enable the panel. Click the Choose Image… button to locate your watermark image. The other settings are personal preference.

Choose

Once you’re happy, click the OK button to dismiss the dialog. You can now experiment by exporting a file to gauge the size of the watermark in the final image. You might need to return to the Presets > Image Export dialog a couple of times until you’re happy.

Export

Now, when exporting as files or as uploads to web sites, you can choose the “WM” version to add the embedded watermark. Aperture 3 has built-in Flickr uploading, but I still use the Flickr Uploader plugin.

Upload

Just for completeness, I always upload to Flickr using the “JPEG – Fit within 1024 x 1024 WM” option, and if I can be bothered to send something to Facebook, I have the 640px setting.

This post was prompted by a new Aperture user who commented on Twitter they liked my watermark. I hope folk find it useful, even though I am aware there are plenty of other people out there who’ve explained how this almost hidden feature works.

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