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Building and Watermarking Art Gallery Thumbnails
Article Title - Building Art Gallery Thumbnails also known as watermarking
Building Gallery Thumbnails was written to describe
processes used in creating thumbnail images at Gallery Renee. The watermarking step is
often overlooked but very important to your images and your website.
A large and growing problem with displaying images on the web is that people
want to use images both for decorating their websites, MySpace pages, desktops,
and to (gasp) print them out for themselves without paying the artist for the
image. Renee Lichtman shares her technique with
those of you who want to put your original images on the web and protect them
from unwelcome usages with a simple text layer or watermarking the image.
I often see people post this question to group mail lists where I am a member.
It is a big concern and a valid problem for those of us who want to post
pictures of our art, photos or prints for promotion or sales but don't want the
images abused. How do I protect my images from piracy?
Some people ask to know how to disable the right click; thinking that this will
stop copying. This method is easily defeated just look in your temporary
internet folder and there it is. It is also very annoying for your
visitors. Because of the annoyance factor in the end it may hurt your chances of making a sale or earning a
referral to an interested buyer. Why? because people may want to print a small
copy of your image for legitimate reasons such as carrying into the next room to
see if they like the colors there, or showing the image to their decorator or
family members for approval.
With this in mind I have decided to make my thumbnail images as user friendly as
possible without making them too easy to steal. I have three image sizes available for use on my web pages and an
addition size used for printing a card called an Artist Sample Print Card.
There is a full article describing these cards at the
Artist Sample Print
I work in Photoshop CS2 but these instruction are easily adapted to any other
fully functioning image editing program if the program allows you to see and
easily change image size, resolution, and file extension.
Although nothing is an absolute guarantee for protecting your images I find this
method works well, is user friendly and if an image is used by someone on a website
other than my own becomes a free advertisement for me. I simply use a text layer
over the image and make sure the resolution of the image is only 72 ppi (pixels
per inch). This
makes it difficult to use the image without my name, website and
copyright displayed on it.
At 72 ppi a thumbnail can be displayed at it's full size but it can't be
enlarge either for display or for printing. This is because when you zoom in on or
enlarge the image on your screen an image that is correctly sized it will pixilate. This means the
individual pixels will spread out to fill the space called for and the image
will begin to look like a collection of colored blocks instead of your image.
This image sizing will by itself limit your image's usefulness to other people
who may want to print it. But its the text layer watermarking which will make
the image less desirable for people to incorporate into their web pages. That is
unless they are willing to use it with your watermark which works as an
advertisement for you.
You need your thumbnails to be as close a representation of your art as
possible. For this reason your image's editing should already be completed and, if
it is a print file, the test printing phases should be done as well prior to
creating your thumbnails.
After you finish editing your image you will duplicate your completed master file, giving
it a name to indicate that this copy is one of your thumbnails for that image.
Photoshop has a tool for duplicating an image file but if that is not available
to you, you can use Save As and a second copy will be created. If using
Photoshop's duplicate tool remember to take off the word "copy" which Photoshop
automatically adds to a duplicated file name. If you used Save As remember to
give the new file the same name as the image adding a number or letter to
represent the thumbnail size and an appropriate file extension. For now you need
the file extension to be .psd for Photoshop or a file format extensions that allows all the features of
your image editing program to work.
Close your master file. The new duplicate file
remains open. You could duplicate it once for each thumbnail you will need but the faster way is to create your text
layer, your watermark layer, first and then create additional duplicates with
your watermark already on them.
I found that the best way for me to resize my images for thumbnails was to pick
a set of uniform sizes. By that I mean that every printable #1 thumbnail is 1.75
inches on the *smaller side* of the image, every #3 is 3 inches on the smaller
side and every #5 is 5.5 inches on the smaller side and the #9 is 3.75" but it's
resolution is 300 dpi.
This is an example of my workflow for creating watermarked thumbnails. This
workflow also helps organize your thumbnail images from the beginning so that
you can work faster and more efficiently when putting them into your web pages.
1. Open your completed image file.
2. Duplicate and name the new file as;
3. Close the original file. Your first duplicate remains open.
4. Use the type tool to create a layer with your name, website and copyright
claim (your watermark)on it. Note using the type tool in Photoshop creates a
.psd file and that is how you will save this particular thumbnail size. To see
this effect for yourself open a jpg file. Duplicate the file. Type some text on
it. Using the type tool created a type layer. Use Save As instead of Save you
will see the file is marked .psd not .jpg.
5. Check that your text is still legible when the image is shrunk down.
6. Resize the image to 3.75 inches on the smaller side.
7. Enter a resolution of 300 dpi for printing sample cards or flyers.
8. Click ok or press enter.
9. Create a folder exclusively for this thumbnail size.
10. In Photoshop save this printable thumbnail as .psd.
11. Duplicate your sample print thumbnail.
12. Close the 300 dpi printable thumbnail.
13. Resize the next thumbnail.
14. Save each thumbnail to it's folder as a .jpg.
15. Repeat the process until you have completed each thumbnail size you need
for the one image. Follow the same procedures for all of your images to get
thumbnails that are consistently sized, easy to find, easy to use, and website
To use the Photoshop Image Resize Tool
Be consistent with your watermarking and naming scheme when you build your thumbnails . This will save you time and trouble in the long run
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