Creating a Watermark

No, I’m not stupid. I know there are lots of tutorials out there explaining how to watermark pictures. However, as of today, there doesn’t seem to be one that is both a) up to date, and b) written for people who honestly don’t care much about photography and who don’t understand/care to take the the time to learn about all the weird jargon and lingo associated with photography. I don’t know what kind of camera we have…just that it is in a tan and green camera case. So for all of you, here’s a nice, quick explanation of how to create a watermark the very easy way…one that can be used over and over again on blogs where the main point is something other than your own (maybe not so) amazingly wonderful photography.

Why watermark? I never really cared, until I recently came across MY PHOTO, of food I designed and created, posted on a very large, very public, very Pisses-Me-Off-Now food site. No credit, no nothing, and they’re using it on Pinterest, too. (It’s Foodie.com, in case you’re interested in likewise un-following them). The photo isn’t great (I’m no photographer, but that pumpkin fondue was killer amazing), and I don’t care that they used it, but no credit for what’s in the photo itself is what bothers me. I used to think a watermark was mainly for great photos – but I now know that it’s important to protect what’s featured in those photos, regardless of the photographic quality.

So here it is — Watermarking for Sewists (because hey, we’re not Dummies)

1. Download this free program. It’s called Gimp, and it’s the faster, easier, free version of adobe photoshop. No need to learn a whole new vocabulary…though the program does a lot of cool stuff, it’s streamlined enough so that you can create a quick, easy logo without a lot of excess hassle.

2. Create your logo by doing the following:

EASIEST, FASTEST WAY

a. Open Gimp.

b. Go to File>Create>Logos.  Choose your style from the dozens listed, fill in your text in the uppermost dialog box, then hit Create.

c. If you chose a style that allows for a transparent background but you ended up with a white one instead, go to Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel. OR, go to Layer>Transparency>Color to Alpha.

d. Save your creation AS A .PNG file.  A .jpg will come out pure white because flattened .jpg’s can’t handle transparencies.

MORE CUSTOMIZED WAY

a. Open Gimp.

b. Go to File>New. Add your text, add a logo, whatever you choose. You may import just about any file into Gimp, too. I won’t go into detail here because the tutorials on the Gimp site are great, but you can easily change the color of a logo you already have, say from black to white, with a couple clicks.

c. Save your creation AS A .PNG file.  A .jpg will come out pure white because flattened .jpg’s can’t handle transparencies.

 

NOW…

3. Go to PicMonkey.  This is the free online photo editing site that works beautifully with Gimp.

4. Open the photo you wish to mark.  Edit it if needed (change color, contrast, add frames, whatever…)

5. Click the butterfly icon on the left, then click the “Your Own” box at the top. A dialog box will open, where you may choose the file you just saved in Gimp.

6. A new box will open and your artwork/logo will appear on top of your photo. You may play with the blend modes, but you may also just go to the Fade bar and set it at 40% to begin…your logo is now semi-transparent. Play with your fade until it’s just right, and you’re finished!

Here’s a quick sample, with a watermark close-up:

emmapractice4

watermark closeup

Sure, there are slicker, fancier ways to do this, but each minute I spend perfecting my photos is another minute spent away from the shop…and when I’m not there to supervise, I swear the fabric piles multiply on their own. So I’ll leave the obsessive photo-perfecting to my photo-blogging friends, and I’ll get back to sewing for their kids…

 

 

 

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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Use What You’ve Got

Pins. I hate pins. Mainly because they inevitably end up on the floor, in my foot, or in my dog’s mouth. There are occasions when straight pins are necessary: attaching skirts to figure skating dresses or ballroom gowns, getting an inset bra placement just right, keeping ridiculously slippery and delicate fabric in exactly the right place despite the best efforts of your feed dog, etc. But generally, pins are overrated.

I started using pattern weights when I made my first wedding gown ages and ages ago, because the fabric was so curmudgeonly that it showed every tiny little pin hole. Besides — at this point I don’t have the time to sit and pin paper patterns to fabric. All of my stock ready-to-wear patterns are made out of vinyl anyway, so pins are out of the question.

But pattern weights are expensive. And ugly. So I looked around my shop to see what I had that could be repurposed. And what does every skating coach and skating parent have in spades? Old wheels. I realized I have an embarrassing collection of them, so I figured I had two options: throw them away or re-imagine them. Since the good sets cost more than $100 each, throwing them away seemed like such a waste.

So instead, I turned a set of eight old wheels into a quirky, cute, and extremely useful set of pattern weights. Since I wanted them as heavy as possible, I filled the inside cavity with fishing weights (after removing the bearings, because keeping extra sets of bearings is an entirely different type of anal retentiveness), wrapped each one in a small piece of spandex, and secured it with two rubber bands. They look nice enough to leave out on the cutting table, and they don’t roll around (no pun intended) or move like regular pattern weights do thanks to their larger surface area.

"Free" pattern weights

“Free” pattern weights

If you don’t happen to have old roller skating wheels sitting around, you’re bound to have something from a past mania that you couldn’t bear to ditch. Also, the dollar store carries sets of very small food storage containers that would work well filled with sand and with the lids glued down. Firefly Fabrics sells these pattern weights in a variety of colors if you’re more inclined to purchase them than make them. The fabric can be removed in case they need to be cleaned (how you would get pattern weights dirty is sort of a mystery to me, but I remember sewing with four kids under seven, so really, I’m sure there’s a way), and since they’re gathered with rubber bands, they can be reconstructed simply and quickly.

Buy them at the bottom of the page!