Creating a Signature in Photoshop

Creating a Signature in Photoshop

Creating a signature in photoshop suitable for use across many images is quite straightforward in Photoshop, this is how it’s done.


New Photoshop Document

New Document Photoshop

Choose a layout that is large and approximates to the shape of your signature. So if you are called Archibald Merryweather Smyth , then choose a template such as the one in the image above. If on the other hand you are called John Smith you may prefer a squarer shape.

Whichever shape you choose, give yourself plenty of space, you’ll put the signature in the middle of the dartboard and crop it to size later.

It’s important you choose “transparent” for the background contents value because you will export the signature as a transparent png so that the writing will “float” above any background colour or texture.

The Pencil Tool

Use the pencil tool to write your signature into the artboard. Choose 100% hardness for the brush and adjust pixel size to suit your screen and the size of the artboard. Chaos Black for the foreground colour.

I use a Wacom table for this and handwriting takes a bit of getting used to. My handwriting has never been the best, and since computers, I very rarely write anything so it took several attempts to produce this spidery scrawl!

The important thing is to get the entire signature inside the boundaries of the artboard.


Crop the image to the edge of the script. You will be able to create space around it when you place it on your image, later.

Create a White Layer

Rename your layer “Black”

Right click on the layer and choose “Duplicate” Call the new layer “White”

Choose Image -> Adjustments -> Replace Color

Make sure the source is black (at the top of the dialogue)

Adjust “Lightness” to 100%

Press Ok.

You now have a white signature and a black signature. Use the eyeball icon next to the layer to turn the white layer off.

You will see the Black layer.

Turn the white layer back on to see the white layer again.

You can do this for as many colours as you like.

Save this file for future use in psd (photoshop) format.

Export Signature of Choice

Open your psd file in photoshop

Using the eyeball icon turn off all the layers except the colour you want to save as a signature

Choose File -> Export -> Export As

Select PNG and tick the Transparency box

Adjust the width to something between 500 and 1000 pixels

Press Export

you now have a signature on a transparent background that you can import into PhotoLab or Lightroom.

Import the Signature to PhotoLab 7

In PhotoLab, go to the fx palette and turn on Instant Watermarking

Click on Image

Find the png file you exported from Photoshop in the previous step.

Adjust Scale, Bottom Margin and Right Margin to taste.

If you don’t want the signature in the bottom right, choose another location from the nine in the matrix above the scale slider.

Choose blending mode Normal and adjust opacity to suit the picture.

Importing the Signature to Lightroom

In Lightroom, the principle is the same, but the process is slightly different.

When you export the image, scroll down the export dialogue and turn Watermarking on

In the Watermark editor tick Graphic at top right

From Watermark Effects choose the position (anchor) and adjust opacity, size and inset margins to taste.


Watermark in Lightroom

To create a watermark, the process is very similar in both PhotoLab and Lightroom. The difference is mainly that in PhotoLab you can preview the watermark as part of the image in the main viewing area. In Lightroom you can see it in the Watermark editor as above.

Watermark in PhotoLab

Instead of Graphic, choose Text

Choose font and size to taste

Place in the centre of the image and adjust Opacity to fade it into the picture.

Use Cases for Watermarks and Signatures

As a commercial photographer, I have found watermarks useful in preventing my images from being used without authorisation on social media. I would provide a client with watermarked version for approval and provide the finished, un-watermarked version once signed off.

Signatures are slightly controversial, Some people like them, others don’t. I think they are useful on social media where an image can be shared by anyone, in that it associates your identity with the photograph wherever it is found.

Signatures and Watermarks can be removed, but like burglar alarms it is a deterrent rather than a solution. If someone is determined to steal your picture, they will, regardless of watermark. Console yourself with the thought that if they are determined enough to steal the image, it must be worth more than you may have thought!

Creating a Signature in Photoshop – Conclusion

Creating watermarks and signatures is a straightforward process. The most difficult part is the Photoshop process. The benefit of creating a single photoshop file with multiple coloured signatures is that it saves time and offers identical signatures in a flexible format.

The import process in PhotoLab is in my opinion slightly better because you can see the watermark in large scale and switch it on or off depending what you’re exporting for.

Check out the DxO PhotoLab Video series here.

If you prefer text and pictures to video then some of these articles are based on the video series

DxO vs Adobe Repair and Clone Tools

DxO – Control Lines and Grad Filters

DxO Wide Gamut Color Space

Mastering Contrast and the Tone Curve

Download the Software

You can download a trial version of DxO PhotoLab 7 here

Buy PhotoLab 7 here

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