Watermarks Take A Big Leap Forward

By Gene McCullagh
April 7, 2010

Since the beginning of Lightroom we've wanted a watermarking capability that was more powerful and more flexible than the anemic watermark of Lightroom 1.x or Lightroom 2.x. We had some creative possibilities with the identity plate feature but even that was limited and quirky.

With the release of Lightroom 3 Beta 1 we saw the beginning of a new watermarking feature. A welcome change but still not much better. Now, Lightroom 3 Beta 2 bring the watermark a long way! There is still some way to go but this new feature is great.

Watermarking is now available in the Slideshow, Web, and Print modules. The easiest way to get there is from the Lightroom menu on Mac (Edit menu in Windows).

The Watermark Editor dialog has really filled out since Beta 1. There are four main areas. The header area (1) has the drop-down menu to save, update, or choose watermarks. The left and right arrows allow you to scroll through selected images to see watermark applied to different images. Finally, the selection for text or graphic watermark.

The preview window (2) shows you your image with the watermark applied. Below that is the text entry box where you type the text for text based watermarks. Notice that you can have multiple line watermarks!

Lastly the control area (4) includes the sliders and controls to adjust your watermark.

You can apply a watermark by typing text in the text entry box. Use the Text Options to set the font, style, alignment and color. The3x3 anchor box at the bottom is where you set the relative origin of the watermark.

To help offset the watermark from the image Lightroom provides a Shadow option with the usual sliders. Combined with the Opacity slider and you can create some great watermark effects.

There are now three different automatic scaling option for watermarks:

  • Proportional
  • Fit
  • Fill
The proportional option with it's slider let's you adjust the size of the watermark relative to the image. The next image will apply the watermark proportionally.

Fit will enlarge the watermark (in this case a graphic) to the outer edge of the image (or insets set with the inset sliders) without letting any of the watermark be lost or cutoff.

It will adjust to the orientation of the image to which it's applied.

On the other hand, Fill will expand the watermark until it fills the entire image.

Lightroom will allow parts of the watermark to be cut off in order to accomplish this. This option also adjusts depending on the orientation.

You can use the rotate arrows next to the 3x3 Anchor grid to rotate your watermark in 90 degree increments clockwise or counter-clockwise.

To save watermarks or apply previously saved watermarks, use the drop-down menu at the top.

The new watermark feature is certainly a big leap forward. But it's not there yet. I'd like to see variable rotation angles, multiple watermark application capability, context aware coloring, and free transform capabilities. But, hey, I'll take this for now!

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