Aperture vs Lightroom: Watermarks with Lightroom
Here’s Part 2 of the Aperture vs Lightroom review of watermarks. I won’t tell you again about how I think watermarks are a hideous blight upon photography, but you can read the first part of the post on Watermarks with Aperture if you’re truly curious.
Applying Watermarks with Lightroom
Lightroom is similar to Aperture in that you apply your watermark upon export. Fortunately for Lightroom users, that’s where most of the similarities end as Adobe packed more features to support watermarks in Lightroom than Apple gave to Aperture.
Your first choice in the Watermark Editor is to decide whether you want to create a Text Watermark or use a Graphic Watermark that you created in another application. The Text Watermark is a very handy utility that Aperture lacks. If you’re one of the people using Lightroom who doesn’t own Photoshop or some other tool capable of creating a graphical image. then Adobe has you covered. Text Watermarks may not be as pretty (or as hideous) as some graphic watermarks that I’ve seen, but they’re functional and easy to create.
Adding a Graphic Watermark is rather simple if you have a PNG or JPEG file to use. Simply choose Graphic from the Watermark Style radio buttons and then upload your image in the Image Options segment of the panel below. Just click the triangle to reveal the Upload field. For this example, I used a 1600×600 PNG file with the word DRAFT.
Why did I make it so big? Because graphics scale down in size rather nicely, but may get distorted if you try to upscale them.
Creating a Text Watermark in Lightroom
This is pretty easy. First, type the text you want to include in your watermark in the text box provided under your photo. The default shows a copyright symbol and your name. You can see a preview in the photo, which changes as you make adjustments in the panels to the right of the photo.
Select the Text radio button from the Watermark Style and click the triangle next to Text Options to reveal the screen shown above. The options are rather familiar to anyone who used a text editor or word processor on a computer before. Select a Font, a Style (e.g., Regular, Bold, Italic) and choose your alignment (Left, Center, Right). The default color is White, but you have access to all the colors on your Mac just by clicking the color box.
The next segment lets you adjust the shadow of your text. Rather than try to describe their effects, I’ll leave these settings to your own exploration. Just don’t be disappointed if you don’t see a shadow on a photo with a black background.
You’re not done yet. Both Text and Graphic watermarks can use the Watermark Effects section.
Using Watermark Effects
The Watermark Effects segment affects either type of watermark, so be sure to review these fields before you Save your watermark.
Opacity does what you think — it changes the opacity of your watermark, allowing a “see-through” effect of the photo behind the watermark.
The Size section is pretty useful. The image above shows the Fit option, which scales your watermark to fit within the boundaries of your image. Fill puts your graphic watermark on the image at actual size, which may not fit on the photo you’re exporting, as shown in the example below.
My preference is to use the Proportional option and adjust the watermark size with the slider, which ranges from 1 to 150. Here’s an example with the Proportional slider set to 10.
That enormous 1600×600 watermark scales down nicely. It’s not even visible at the very low end of the scale, but will rise up in size to the same as the Fill size option.
Skipping below the Inset sliders, the Anchor buttons let you determine roughly where to place your watermark, giving you nine options compared to five placement options in Aperture. Although you can’t angle your watermark in Lightroom or Aperture, at least Lightroom allows you to rotate your watermark, in case you want to have a vertical display.
What about those Inset sliders that we skipped? Think of those as fine-tuning sliders for the Anchor points. You can adjust the location of your watermark horizontally or vertically. In the example below, I reduced the horizontal inset slightly to slide the vertical watermark over a bit, since I didn’t like the exact placement of the Anchor.
Once you’ve positioned your watermark as you like, hit Save to create the preset. Now you won’t have to go through all of this effort next time. You can just select your saved Watermark preset when you export images.
Aperture vs Lightroom: Summary
Lightroom has a great watermark tool. Neither Aperture or Lightroom have the capability to design a graphical watermark, but Lightroom overcomes that by providing text support so everyone can have a functional watermark. Toss in better scaling and placement options, Lightroom’s watermark tool clearly beats Aperture’s offering.