Create a Transparent and Embossed Watermark in GIMP

This tutorial will show you how to put an embossed, transparent watermark on your photos using GIMP.  By placing a watermark, you can place a copyright or other information that becomes part of the entire photo.  Many photographers use these to sign their work and to prevent others from using their work without proper permissions.  I like to use them to identify my photos and also include a date.

I adapted a YouTube video by Pat David for these steps.  Many thanks to Mr. David for showing me how to accomplish this task.

For this tutorial, I assume that you have GIMP installed and that you will download the sample image and be able to load it into GIMP.

The sample image was found on, but has been copied to this server for availability purposes.  Download the sample image to your own machine before starting the tutorial.


1.  Create a new layer with a white background.  By default, it will be the same size as your image that is already loaded in GIMP.
2.  Click your foreground color in the toolbox to show the Change Foreground Color dialog window.  Set your “H” value to 50 and click OK.


3.  On the white layer, name it “Text”.  Use the text tool in the toolbox and type what you want your watermark to say.  Here, many may want to use a copyright symbol and their name to identify that the image is protected.  You can make the copyright symbol, at least in MS Windows, by pressing the left ALT key and typing 0169 on the number pad.  You may need to search to learn how to produce the copyright character on your device and operating system.  I will make a watermark that reads “© John Doe 2014”.  I used a 96 point font, I copied in the copyright character and typed the rest.
4.  Notice that your text shows as a floating layer in your layer windows, which is normal.
5.  Hide your white background layer
6.  Duplicate the floating text layer
7.  Select your middle layer, the original floating text layer.  Click Colors, and move the output level all the way to the right to make it white.  If you hide the topmost layer, your will see that the current layer is text in pure white.

8.  Apply a Gaussian Blur to the white text layer by clicking Filters, Blur, Gaussian Blur.
9.  Click the Move tool in your toolbox and gently move the text layer up and to the left a bit.  The letters show with more perspective and look a little thicker than just being flat text.


10.  Duplicate the white text layer again.  Repeat the color output process on the newly duplicated layer and make its ouput pure black.
11.  Move the newly created layer with the Move tool in the OPPOSITE direction that you moved the white layer.  Note that you should see black and white in your image and the letters will appear to have a 3-D appearance.


12.  Right click the topmost layer and choose “New from Visible”
13.  Use your rectangle selection tool and select your image and click Image, Crop to Selection
14.  Open your image that you’d like to apply the watermark.
15.  Copy the layer with your cropped watermark from your GIMP project and paste it over your image in its GIMP window as a new layer (Edit, Paste As, New Layer)
16.  Use the Move tool to postion the watermark.  You may need to click Layer, Scale Layer to size your watermark.
17.  Change the watermark’s layer to Overlay.  In overlay, greys are interpreted as transparent, so that is why your watermark was made in grey colors.
18.  Your watermark will appear semi-transparent on your image.  If you want it to appear a little darker, duplicate its layer.


19.  Use the File, Export As… feature to save your image to include the watermarked overlay.
20.  Procedure complete.


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