How to Add a Graphic Watermark in GIMP

Protect your photos with a semi-transparent watermark

Watermarked Photo

 S. Chastain

Adding graphic watermarks to digital images doesn't guarantee that they won't be stolen, but the time required to remove a semitransparent watermark will discourage most would-be image thieves. It's possible to make a watermark in GIMP without the need for any extra plugins or extensions.

Instructions in this article apply to GIMP version 2.10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to Add a Graphic Watermark to an Image in GIMP

To overlay a semi-transparent watermark on an image in GIMP:

  1. Open the image in GIMP and go to File > Open as Layers.

    Open the image in GIMP and go to File > Open as Layers.
  2. Choose the graphic you want to use as a watermark, then select Open.

    Choose the graphic you want to use as a watermark, then select Open.
  3. Select Convert if prompted to convert the image to RBG.

    Select Convert if prompted to convert the image to RBG.
  4. Use the Move tool to position the graphic as desired.

    Use the Move tool to position the graphic as desired.
  5. Go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers to open the Layers palette (if it isn't already visible).

    Go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers to open the Layers palette (if it isn't already visible).
  6. Select the layer with your watermark graphic, then click the Opacity slider above to move it to the left and make the image semi-transparent.

    Select the layer with your watermark graphic, then click the Opacity slider above to move it to the left and make the image semi-transparent.
  7. 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.

    Select a new foreground color by clicking on the Foreground Color box in the Tools palette to open the Change Foreground Color dialog, then select a color and click OK.

    Steps 7 and 8 are optional.

    Select a new foreground color by clicking on the Foreground Color box in the Tools palette to open the Change Foreground Color dialog, then select a color and click OK.
  8. Go to Edit > Fill With FG Color to change the color of your graphic.

    Go to Edit > Fill With FG Color to change the color of your graphic.
  9. Select the graphic layer in the Layers palette, then select the paintbrush icon next to Lock. Finally, click in the empty space directly under the paintbrush to ensure that transparent pixels remain transparent if you edit the layer.

    Select the graphic layer in the Layers palette, then select the paintbrush icon next to Lock. Finally, click in the empty space directly under the paintbrush to ensure that transparent pixels remain transparent if you edit the layer.

It's easier to add text-based watermarks to images using GIMP, but using a graphic that's consistent with other marketing materials can help you establish a recognizable brand.