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A Peek at Lightroom 3: Watermarking

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In Part 4 of the four-part series on Lightroom Public Beta 3, Dan Moughamian shows you how to use the new Watermarking features in Lightroom which, while only partially complete, allow you to embed graphical watermarks created in Photoshop or create text-based watermarks directly in Lightroom.

This is the fourth and final article in our Lightroom 3 Beta series. Previously, we covered the new Effects tools that allow you to create natural-looking vignettes as well as edgy or rustic film grain looks. For the final article, I cover the new Watermarking features in Lightroom which, while only partially complete, allow you to embed graphical watermarks created in Photoshop or create text-based watermarks directly in Lightroom.


Lightroom 3 Beta has introduced a new Watermarking dialog that offers numerous text controls including font settings, alignment, and others, as well as the ability to embed existing watermark graphics into your images. The new Watermark dialog in Lightroom 3 can be accessed from any of the following options:

  • The Develop Module (click Export and scroll down to the Watermarking section of that dialog)
  • The Print Module (under Page settings, select the Watermarking box and then from the menu choose Edit Watermarks)
  • The Web Module (under Output Settings, follow the same steps as with the Print Module)

You can see these access points in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Accessing the new Watermark controls in Lightroom 3 Beta is a simple matter of selecting the option from the Export dialog, Print Module or Web Module.

Once open, you can choose to create a text-based watermark directly in the dialog or import an image-based watermark. When creating a text watermark, you simply type in the information below the image preview, and then use the controls at the top-right to control the font type, color, as well as the horizontal and vertical alignment of the text block. For the time being, these work much like the layer alignment tools in Photoshop CS4.

The size of the text can be controlled by the handles on the text preview; just click and drag a text handle as you would in Photoshop and it will change on the fly, as seen in Figure 2. This can take a bit of getting used to as there’s no font size menu currently, but it still works reasonably well for a beta. Other text controls include the ability to rotate the text block 90 degrees at a time, and the ability to modify its opacity, which is perhaps most important. That said, it would be useful to have the ability to rotate any text block or graphic within the image preview area by 90-degree increments, so that you can orient the text to a corresponding image edge.

Figure 2 The new Watermarking function allows photographers to create copyright notices directly in Lightroom, as well as size and position them correctly.

Many photographers may prefer to embed a graphical watermark or company logo instead of using text in the Watermark editor. To this end, Lightroom 3 Beta allows you to import graphics from other programs, although it appears for now that you cannot import PSD, TIF, or GIF files. The good news is, Adobe is working hard on refining and perfecting the Watermarking workflow for Lightroom users, so hopefully the final version will provide file support for a wide array of image types including those with transparency.

To import a graphic, just click the New Image Watermark button, and select the file from your hard drive; Lightroom then adds it to your image preview. From there you can position, rotate, and change its opacity. Figure 3 shows a graphical watermark once finished in the editor.

As you experiment, I recommend that you do the following:

  • Work on copies of your files as suggested in the first article.
  • Test out the watermarked products in Photoshop, Preview, Reader, or other applications you or your clients normally use to view photographs. This is a good way to know if the beta version of Watermarking can suit your purposes, while ensuring your original files are not harmed by use of Beta software. The odds against that are pretty high, but better safe than sorry!

Figure 3 Lightroom’s new Watermarking functionality allows you to quickly preview your applied watermark settings before outputting the file.

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