Creating a good photographic image requires skill and effort, while stealing one from a Web page takes just a click and drag. That’s why photographers who care about preventing the unauthorized use of their images will superimpose their name or logo over all or part of the image. This opaque or translucent watermark indicates ownership and discourages illegal use.
If you have lots of images, adding a watermark to each one is a time-consuming task. Script Software’s iWatermark 3.0.3 automates the process, with a price and interface suitable for beginners, and features that are flexible enough for professionals.
iWatermark is easy to use: just drag a file or folder onto its Input window, indicate a folder for its output, then format some text or import a picture to use as the watermark. The original files are left untouched and watermarked copies are placed into the output folder. iWatermark cleverly lets you choose one of your iPhoto albums to use for its Input, and it can output directly to your iDisk. You can even use .Mac’s built-in Web page creator to display your photos on the Internet.
If you use text in your watermark, iWatermark gives you control over the font, size, and color. You can type in your own text, or automatically extract text from any field in an image’s IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) metadata. You can also create a watermark using a graphic such as a logo, with or without text. In addition, the software lets you control the position, rotation, size, and transparency of any watermark, and choose from eight special effects, including emboss, engrave, and inverse. These effects are handy not only for their aesthetic value, but also for solving the problem of light watermarks disappearing on light photos, and dark watermarks blending into dark photos. As an easy starting point, iWatermark includes eight presets for common watermark styles, but you can alter them or save your own.
Besides adding watermarks, iWatermark can create thumbnail images and scale images to any size and resolution. It even includes handy presets for many common monitor sizes as well as for cell phones, Palm PDAs, and other mobile devices.
If your Input folder contains many and varied images, you can use the program’s filters to process a specific subset of your photos. For example, you can watermark those taken by a particular camera, in a specific format, over a certain size, or whose file names contain a specific word or phrase.
If you don’t want an image’s metadata to travel along with your new, watermarked images, the program’s Advanced options let you strip those out. If you frequently use iWatermark, another option lets you leave it running in the background so it can automatically process files as you drop them into the Input folder. You can also add your own IPTC metadata, for use by photo agencies.
iWatermark doesn’t include a manual, and that can be unnerving. However, it does provide comprehensive instructions under its Help menu.
Macworld’s buying advice
If you need to add watermarks to a lot of images, iWatermark provides a big bang for your buck. It not only succeeds admirably at its core task, but it adds several other valuable timesaving features to the package.
[ Jay Nelson has been the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly for 13 years. ]The main interface window lets you set up the text or image you want to use as your watermark.Choose among iWatermark’s presets or create your own combination of effects.