Add a Graphic Watermark in GIMP

Watermarked Photo
© S. Chastain

So, you've created masterpieces in GIMP—or, at least, images for which you want to retain credit. Overlaying your own logo or another graphic on your images is a simple way of discouraging people from stealing and misusing them. Although watermarking doesn't guarantee that your images won't be stolen, the time required to remove a semitransparent watermark will discourage most would-be image thieves.

Applications are available that are specifically designed to add graphic watermarks to digital images, but Gimp makes the task very easy without any extra apps. Adding a text-based watermark to an image in Gimp is easy, too, but using a graphic helps you establish an easily recognizable brand for yourself or your company that's consistent with other marketing materials such as your letterhead and business cards.

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Add a Graphic to Your Image

Go to File > Open as Layersthen navigate to the graphic you want to use to create a watermark. This places the graphic in the image on a new layer. You can use the Move tool to position the graphic as desired. 

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Reduce the Opacity of the Graphic

Now, you'll make the graphic semitransparent so the image can still be viewed quite clearly. Go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers if the Layers palette isn't visible already. Click on the layer your graphic is on to ensure that it is selected, then click the Opacity slider to the left. You will see white and black versions of the same graphic in the image.

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Change the Color of the Graphic

Depending on the photo you're watermarking, you might need to change the color of your graphic. For example, if you have a black graphic that you want to apply as a watermark on a dark image, you can change the graphic to white to make it more obvious.

To do this, select the graphic layer in the Layers palette, then click the Lock checkbox. This ensures that transparent pixels remain transparent if you edit the layer. Select a new foreground color by clicking on the Foreground Color box in the Tools palette to open the Change Foreground Color dialog. Select a color and click OK. Finally, go to Edit > Fill With FG Color, and you'll see the color of your graphic change.