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Creating a Signature Watermark with Adobe Photoshop CC

I wrote a Tutorial for this over a year ago and I’ve been humbled by the response. It’s time to update the article with the new and improved tools Adobe Photoshop CC has to offer. You can find the older version of the tutorial here.

1. Practice

Grab a few sharpie of different sizes and practice your signature over and over with different sizes and widths. I found that the thinner sharpies were better in regards to more detail in the ink. Remember, it’s not a bad idea to use a “stylized” signature and not the exact same one you use to sign contracts or your checks.


2. Scan Your Signature

Scan your paper at a very high resolutions such as 600dpi and save it as a JPEG or TIFF file. Don’t have a scanner? You can try taking a photo of the signature. Remember, a lot of all in one printers have a basic scanner built-in.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 1.52.30 PM

3. Open the File.

Open your file in Photoshop. Use a Levels adjustment to make your signature as clear as possible. The goal is crisp blacks and clean whites.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 2.04.23 PM

4. Set the Crop

Crop your scan down to you best signature that you want to use. You can use the Crop tool as well to straighten and level out your signature.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.13.53 PM

5. Select the Signature

Use the Magic Wand tool (W) and select your signature. If your name has a break in it, hold down the shift key to highlight all the words. Also try choosing Select > Refine Edge to clean up the selection and preview how it will look.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.20.05 PM

6. Select Everything Else

Invert the selection by choosing Select > Inverse.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.18.29 PM

7. Copy Your Signature

Choose Edit > Copy to copy your signature to the clip board.

8. Start a New File

Create a new document and make the background transparent.

2014-02-05_1925 copy

9. Move Your Signature

Choose Edit > Paste to add your signature onto the new document you created. You can crop down the document size to fix you signature as needed. I also had extra text under my signature that explains more about what I do.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.33.29 PM

10. Create the PNG File

Save your image as a PNG file by choosing File > Export > Save For Web (Legacy) or File > Save For Web. Be sure to choose a PNG file and make sure the the Transparency box is checked. This will allow you to have the transparent background. Experiment with PNG-8 and PNG-24 to see which one gives you a better look (it will depend upon your signature style).

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.40.42 PM

11. Use it Often

Now you can drop your new signature PNG onto your images and files you want to share. It can be added in Photoshop or used as a watermark in Lightroom as well.

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