I use Photoshop Elements 8 to edit my photos for uploading onto the Web. This is a terrific program - easy to use and not very expensive - especially if you order an earlier version of it! I have had every version since PE2. I can honestly say that if you've never used PE before, any version from 3 on ought to allow you to do what you need to do. If you obtain an earlier version, you can try it out and then decide to upgrade - just make sure the earlier version is compatible with your operating system.
Trinity Software Distribution currently has version 6 for PC on sale for $10.50, and this will do everything you need. I seriously urge you to take advantage of this deal! (Version 6 was actually the latest version I had before 8 because I moved over to a Mac, and they jumped 7 entirely for Macs - just went straight to 8.)
You can also get a free 30-day trial of it here.
It's the #1 photo editing software in the world, and it is awesome!!!
Okay onto creating that signature watermark.
Create a new file.
Type Signature Watermark in the Name field.
Choose Custom from the Preset drop-down list.
Make your Width 3", your Height 1", and your resolution 300 dpi.
Select RGB Color from the Color Mode field.
Select Transparent from the Background Contents field.
Choose from two options. You can either (1) write your signature with a stylus on your Bamboo or Wacom tablet; or (2) type your name in the desired font. The easiest way is to just type in the text.
Create a new layer. From your toolbar, select Layer > New > Layer and name it signature. When you proceed to the next step, you want to make sure the signature layer is selected in the layers palette on your right.
Type in the text. Select the text tool (an icon of a capital "T") from your toolbox over on the left. Select the size (let's go with 30) and font (let's go with Cody) from the toolbar at the top. Proceed to type your signature. If you want to use you actual handwritten signature, you would not choose the Text tool, but would, rather, "write" in your new layer (see immediately below).
Alternative to typing in your signature. If you have a Bamboo or Wacom tablet, you can write your actual signature and not have to use a font. (However, you won't have as much versatility - or ease - with changing its color later.)
OPTIONAL: Add depth to your typewritten or handwritten signature. If you want to give your signature a little depth - make it a little 3-D - go to the effects palette (located on the right, above your layers palette) and choose Bevels from the dropdown list. I use the third and fourth (sometimes both) selections in the top row.
Save your file. Save your file as a PDF. DO NOT FLATTEN YOUR LAYERS. The reason I tell you to save the file is because you can either repeat all of the above for every picture you want to watermark, or you can do it once, save it, and then drag it onto each new picture you want to watermark and manipulate it as needed. By maintaining your layers, you can switch the font/color/size/opacity as needed. (Obviously a card with a black background will need a watermark signature that is a lighter color or it wouldn't show up. for example). NOTE: it's not always as easy to change the color of an actual signature. This is one reason it's better to make a brush out of your actual signature
.BONUS!!! You can also save your Signature Watermark for the web and use it so “sign” your blog posts. (I flattened my layers, removed the bevel effect, and then used the Save for Web choice and gave it a new name: Blog Signature.)How to use it.
- Open the picture you want to watermark and also open your Watermark Signature file we just created. Make sure the Selection tool is chosen from your tool box (it's the arrow icon located in the top left corner of your toolbox - which is located on the left side of your PE workspace).
- Drag the signature layer from your Watermark Signature file onto your picture. At this point, you can resize it, make it a different color or font, and/or change the opacity level to go with the picture.
- Flatten your image. (Top toolbar: Layer > Flatten Image)
- Save image for the web if you plan to post it online. (Top toolbar: File > Save for Web...)
How to remove
the bevel effect. On your signature layer, there will be a
little FX icon. Right click on the FX icon and choose Clear Layer Style.
And there you have it! Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you! Feel free to ask me any questions you may have; I'll do my best to answer it properly.
(See? How cool is that?)