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Create a Brush Based Watermark: A Photoshop Elements Tutorial

by Erin Peloquin on June 28, 2011 · 14 comments

After the Watermark tutorial for Photoshop Elements last week, lots of you asked how to create a watermark to apply with a brush.

It’s easy, and I’ll show you how shortly.  Let’s talk about the differences between the two methods first.  The creation process is very similar – it’s the application process that’s different.

Remember that, if you’re posting a photo on the internet, you want to resize it before applying the watermark.  Follow the tutorial here or download MCP’s Finish It for Photoshop Elements to resize, sharpen and adding branding bars or Frames to your photo all at once.

Using the PNG method detailed last week, to put the watermark on an image, you go to the File Menu, select Place, and then Navigate to the location of your PNG.  Using the brush method, however, you select your brush tool, put on the appropriate “tip,” size it and select the color.  I like the PNG method better because it takes me fewer clicks.  But for you brush lovers out there, this is what you do.

Follow the steps in last weeks tutorial about creating the watermark.  Choose black as the color to create it in, because it’s easiest to see.  You can “paint” the watermark onto your photo in whatever color you’d like after it’s made.  Just make sure you use only one color right now.

(Yes, this means if you’re using the this method, you can’t have a multi-colored brush.  Good question!)

Once you’ve created the watermark, you’ll have something that looks like this:

Select the Magic Wand Tool, turn off Contiguous, and set the Tolerance to 0.  Click once inside of a colored area of your watermark to select it.  You want to end up with Dancing Ants around all the text and graphics.  If you need to add unselected areas to your selection, click on the 2nd button from the left of your tool options bar (just under the Menu bar at the top left of your workspace).  This button says “Add to Selection” when you hover over it.

When the dancing ants are where you want them, go to the Edit Menu and select Define Brush from Selection.  Insert a memorable name into this dialog box, and hit ok:

Your brush will first appear in the category of brushes that was active when you created the it.  However, you need to create its own category to save it in an easy-to-find place.  To save your new watermark, select the Brush Tool and click on the brush picker drop down menu:

Click on the double arrows and select Preset Manager.

In the Preset Manager, highlight your new brush and click on Save Set.  Name it something memorable (again) and save it to the default location that pops up.  Click Done on the Preset Manager dialogue.

This last step will make sure your brush is permanently loaded into Elements.  Pull down the brush picker drop down menu again and click on the double arrows.  This time, select Load and choose the brush set you just saved.

That’s it. The watermark has been created.  Are you ready to use it?

After preparing an image for the internet, add a new, blank layer to your image.  Select your brush tool, and select this new brush from the drop down menu.  Select a color (I prefer white).  With this new blank layer highlighted, put your watermark over the area where you want the brush to appear.  Increase the size by using the ] key (above Enter on your keyboard) and decrease the size with the [ key.  Click once to apply the watermark, and then adjust its opacity, if necessary, by reducing the opacity of the layer.

You’ll have a funny looking brush, but it does the job.  It will look something like this:


Ok, now it’s your turn.  Which do you like better, a brush watermark or a PNG?  And why?


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