Add Text to Pictures in Batch dynamically from Excel and CSV files

I guess that’s familiar to you: You have finished a shooting, edited your pictures with Lightroom and before publishing the samples in the internet, you are going to resize and rename the photos and watermark them. You hopefully use bulkWaterMark therefore, because putting your photos into the app to add text to pictures in batch is a no-brainer without any effort. This is probably the most typical use case of bulkWaterMark.

Like a serial letter of watermarks in pictures

But bulkWaterMark can do a lot more for you than just inserting the same static text in every picture again and again. Of course, you probably have already seen our tutorials on the blog about inserting dynamic text in photos. Until now we have just given you hints for using image metadata in watermarks. Today I would like to show you how to get completely external data depending on the photo you are going to watermark into your protected pictures. But what do I mean with external data? I’m thinking of an Excel Workbook as data source, similar to the serial letter feature of Microsoft Word that takes names and addresses from an Excel spreadsheet.

You all know the serial letter feature of Word. Dynamic We are just doing the same in bulkWaterMark – instead of inserting the dynamic data into a letter, we are putting the data directly into a photo you are going to watermark.

Excel!? I want to add dynamic text into pictures!

But Excel is a spreadsheet program!? Why should I use a Microsoft Office app for putting data into watermarks?

It simple: By using bulkWaterMark Data Expressions, you can read from Excel Workbooks, search for a particular row and return any cell data of that found row that can be used as text for your watermark. Because most people like and understand Excel, we thought that it is a nice idea to use Excel as primary data source for so-called text data watermarks. As an alternative, you can also use CSV files if you want a more open source data format.

Examples of use

Many of our customers are already using this features. The most typical use case for is explained in our sample below, but I would like to give so some really creative examples of use, that we would not have thought of when developing the features.

Cardealers are using Data Expressions for creating photos for used car exchange websites. Pictures of offered cars are getting watermarked not only with the car dealer’s logo, but also with specific car data like its price or mileage.

Another customer has implemented a watermark template that generates a personal deck of Happy Family cards out of a bunch of images. This was achieved by using the image border layer of bulkWaterMark. The bottom of the border contains the occupation types that are fetched from an Excel spreadsheet.

Add text to pictures from Excel cells

Assume that we have thousands of pictures and a likewise long list of data that includes annotations for each photo. In our tutorial sample I have a list of filenames that contains the name of  the photographer and the copyright holder of each photo. This is how it looks like:

Image Copyright
Our “database” of copyright holders

The first column contains the name of each file we want to watermark, called “Filename”. We need this column to identify which image belongs to each row of data. The next column are the data columns and contain the name of the photographer (“Photographer”) and the name of the copyright owner (“Copyright”).

Our database and structure is defined – time to launch bulkWaterMark and create a new watermark template in the Profile Editor. First we are adding a new text layer and switch to the Expression Editor:

Insert Text Watermark and open the Expression Editor
Insert Text Watermark and open the Expression Editor

Now it’s getting interesting: We have to choose our data source now, which is the previously introduced Excel worksheet. Therefore, click onto the gear icon next to the Data Expression Context to configure the data source.

Setting a data source for our watermark
Setting a data source for our watermark

After defining a file (you can either use an Excel or CSV file), bulkWaterMark loads a raw preview of the data and displays the available sheets (Excel only) and columns within the data file. Our sample Excel file consists of a single sheet called “ImageCopyrights” that includes the previously shown data the we want to stamp onto our pictures. Afterwards I’m confirming my data source settings and we are nearly finished with our tutorial.

The only thing missing is the Expression that defines how the text of the watermark is getting composed. Therefore we are typing the following Expression into the Editor:

Our dynamic Data Expression for getting the Excel data into the watermark
Our dynamic Data Expression for getting the Excel data into the watermark

As keen bulkWaterMark tutorial (and online help!) reader you likely know what this text above means. But for the sake of completeness I would like to explain what those brackets and cryptic names are for:

The text until “Photo by ” is not an Expression is will be written into the watermark directly. The interesting part starts when the first bracket “{” sets in and the magic begins: The function “GetColumnValue” of the “Data” context gets called. This function requires to parameters:

The first parameter (green) expects the name of the column that contains the image filename. This column gets searched for the the filename and is column A called “Filename” in our Excel file.

The second parameter (blue) is the value, that we are searching within column “Filename”. We are putting another, nested Expression result as parameter: {OriginalImage.FileName} returns the filename of the current image we are going to watermark.

Parameter #3 (orange) defines the column we want to actually use in our text watermark. The data for the text watermark should be taken from column C “Photographer”.

This is how it looks like in bulkWaterMark:

Add text to pictures from Excel
Composing the data with the Data Expression

And this is how a watermarked photo looks like:

Add text to pictures from Excel sample
Done! Mission “add dynamic data into pictures” accomplished

In our new Expression Editor you can also set test parameters for testing dynamic expressions easily by switching to the tab “Test Parameter” and adding a few image files. You can now select any of the added test images by a single click and depending on the selection, bulkWaterMark sets the property {OriginalImage.FileName} to the chosen image filename.

Testing the Data Expression with a test image
Testing the Data Expression with a test image

Conclusion

The new Expression Editor and Data Expression feature improve the handling of dynamic text watermarks a lot. Data Expressions might look complicated on the first sight, but after a few tries you will quickly batch watermark thousands of photos with external and individual data in no time. I think the effort already pays off when you want to watermark a few dozens of images with dynamic data.

If you need help with integrating your Excel or CSV data in your watermark profile do not hesitate to contact our support or just post above this article. Our presented example is included in our samples library that comes with a fresh bulkWaterMark installation.

Cheers,

Phil

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Tutorial: Instant Photo Frame in Batch

bulkWaterMark turns 1 today and we have just released a new version of bulkWaterMark with huge features! The first one I would like to introduce with this blog post is a powerful addition to the border images feature: Placeholders!

New: Frame Layer + Placeholders

Our August 2016 release introduced the Frame Layer to border photos fast with bulkWaterMark. The new Placeholders are an essential upgrade for the Frame Layer.

So what are Placeholders good for? Layers in bulkWaterMark can provide Placeholders that can be used to host Child Layers. Let’s say you want to add an image description and design a picture frame that looks like a Polaroid instant photo with handwritten text on it:

My pro drawing skills depicting a Frame Layer with a Placeholder
My pro drawing skills depicting a Frame Layer with a Placeholder

How to border images in Polaroid style

First you need to insert a new Frame Layer into your watermark template. I’m using the gradient brush tool to create a texture that makes the frame look like a sepia colored instant photo.

Adding a Frame Layer to the Watermark Template
Adding a Frame Layer to the Watermark Template

Now I’m increasing the thickness of the bottom border. I set it to 150 pixels to make it look like a typical instant photo. After resizing the bottom border, bulkWaterMark indicates that this part of Frame Layer can be used as a Placeholder for hosting another Layer:

Increasing the bottom border of the Frame Layer to activate the Placeholder
Increasing the bottom border of the Frame Layer to activate the Placeholder

The Placeholder is now ready to be filled with text. Click the “Add Text Layer” button and afterwards hit the light grey Placeholder area to insert the Text Layer into the Placeholder.

"<yoastmark

This new Text Layer is now dependent on its parent Layer in terms of position, size and visibility. If you disable the visibility of the Frame Layer, the Text Layer is also hidden. If a batch image resizes your Frame Layer, the description Text Layer gets resized and repositioned to. If you delete the Frame Layer, you delete the Text Layer. And so on…

Enabling Auto Size and centering the text
Enabling Auto Size and centering the text

I’m making a few adjustments to fit any text nicely into the Placeholder by setting the Font Size to Auto Size. Additionally, I’m aligning the content to the center of the Text Layer. Now you can use any input picture for watermarking and the Frame Layer positions the border around the image including the description Text Layer perfectly. Finally, I’m adding a soft drop shadow effect to the Frame Layer and rotating the whole watermark for a few degrees.

Choose image files for framing

After saving the Profile, I’m in the Batch View to select a bunch of image files that should get decorated with a border.

Previewing the Frame Layer in the Batch Image List
Previewing the Frame Layer in the Batch Image List

Because I’m using the drop shadow effect, bulkWaterMark will generate a semi-transparent output picture. I would recommend to set an output image format like PNG, GIF or WebP to keep the semi-transparency for output files. (A feature that solves this problem is on the way!)

After clicking the Drop button, you can lean back and bulkWaterMark borders the selected images.

Instant Photo Frame Watermark applied to some photos
Instant Photo Frame Watermark applied to some photos

The Placeholder feature is available from bulkWaterMark Pro and can be tried out in our 30 days trial version.

In the next tutorial I will demonstrate how to replace our static “DESCRIPTION” text with dynamic data from a Microsoft Excel Workbook.

Thank you for your attention!

Cheers,

Phil

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Tutorial: Border Images in Batch with bulkWaterMark

Since our August 2016 Release, you can officially border images with bulkWaterMark – of course in batch. To use this new feature, you need to add a new Frame Layer to your watermark template. This type of layer draws a frame around your photos – additionally to your watermark.

Adding Frame Layer

To add a Frame Layer, just click the Add Frame Layer button. Immediately afterwards, bulkWaterMark adds the layer to the canvas. Unlike other layer types, you cannot move or resize a Frame Layer. And: You can only add a single Frame Layer per Profile.

Adding a Frame Layer to the watermark template
Adding a Frame Layer to the watermark template

Border Color

This is a bulkWaterMark standard task: You can set the color of Frame Layer via the Color Picker. Use gradients to make the border more vibrant.

Mixing gradient colors for the image border
Mixing gradient colors for the image border

Border Thickness

You can change the border’s thickness for each side individually by using the fields.

Defining the thickness of the border
Defining the thickness of the border

 

Effects and Layers

All layers in bulkWaterMark can be enhanced with Effects to let them appear more creative and diversified – likewise the Frame Layer.
By clicking the button Effects, the Effects popup gets opened and you can add effects like Bevel or Drop Shadow to your border.

Adding an image border with drop shadow
Adding an image border with drop shadow

Keep Ratio on Resizing

bulkWaterMark draws the border around the containing photo within the output image size you are defining. Depending on the frame size and the effect settings, it is possible that the original input image needs to be resized to fit into the frame to avoid deformation. Enable the feature Keep Size Ratio to ensure that the image gets resized proportionally and the frame thickness gets adjusted automatically.

This is a frame that does not keep size ratio of the photo. It zooms into the picture and crops it...
This is a frame that does not keep size ratio of the photo. It zooms into the picture and crops it…
... and with Keep Size Ratio enabled
… and with Keep Size Ratio enabled

Layer Transparency

All composition objects in bulkWaterMark have a transparency value that is adjustable for each layer or layer group individually. Just click the Transparency button to open the transparency settings.

Try out this amazing new feature to border images now: The Frame Layer is also available in Free edition of bulkWaterMark!

Cheers,

Phil

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Watermark photos with the name of the place you have taken the picture

Long time, no see! In the last few weeks we were busy finishing the new features for our latest major bulkWaterMark release. Version 1.0.1543.131, available now, brings two new features for our batch photo watermark app:

Geo Expressions

bulkWaterMark has a brand new Expression Context to retrieve geographical data about the current photo. Trust me, you will love this feature to illustrate your holiday trip by displaying the place or address where you have taken the picture as watermark.

To use this feature your image needs to come with GPS coordinates saved in its Exif metadata. When you are taking a picture with your phone, nearly all modern smartphones are saving the coordinates of the current place within the image. Furthermore, you need access to the internet as bulkWaterMark will lookup the place that is specified by the coordinates in OpenStreetMap.

But how does this work? Learn how to watermark photos with geo data in bulkWaterMark by using Dynamic Expressions.

Let’s start from the scratch. When opening bulkWaterMark, we double click “New Watermark Profile” to create a new watermark and open the Profile Editor.

Step 1: Create a new Watermark
Step 1: Create a new Watermark

Now I’m going to add a new text watermark by clicking the Text Layer button:

Step 2: Add Text Watermark
Step 2: Add Text Watermark

It’s up to you now to bring some style into your watermark. I have played around with gradient colors, drop shadow and a soft bevel effect and came up with this:

Step 3: Select the Text Layer and click the Expressions popup button
Step 3: Select the Text Layer and click the Expressions popup button

Now it’s getting interesting: Select the Text Layer by simply clicking on it. A popup button will appear now like in the picture above. Click on bubble icon and it will open the Expressions Editor for the selected Text Layer.

Step 4a: Welcome to the Expression Editor
Step 4a: Welcome to the Expression Editor

Above you will see the Expression Editor for a text watermark without a dynamic expression. Highlighted you can see the text you have entered before when adding the Text Layer to your Watermark Profile. I went with the standard text “TextLayer1”.

To bring in a Dynamic Expression with GIS (Geographic Information System) data, I’m selecting all the text in the Text section of the dialog. Afterwards I’m browsing through the Expression Reference, more precisely I’m selecting the Geo Expression Context and double click the City Expression. Double clicking the Expression results in a replacing of the highlighted “TextLayer1” text:

Step 4b: Successfully inserted the Geo.City Expression
Step 4b: Successfully inserted the Geo.City Expression

This means, that the Text Layer has now a fully dynamic text, that relies on the Geo.City Expression. You can additionally add some static text by changing the text to “Current City: {Geo.City}”. If you are happy with your Expression, you can apply the changes to the Text Watermark by clicking the button with the green tick.

It’s time to try out the Expression. You can do this directly within the Profile Editor by dragging and dropping an image file with Exif GPS data onto the Watermark Settings Preview:

Step 5: Preview your GIS watermark
Step 5: Preview your GIS watermark

After saving the Profile, you can start to batch watermark your pictures as usual. Just make sure that you have turned on your internet connection, otherwise you will get an error message.

Geo Expressions are available for all users with Basic versions and above.

Random Watermarks

Sometimes you want to watermark photos randomly to make sure that no automated watermark remover or photo crop batch action can remove a watermark from photos easily. bulkWaterMark has a new feature called Random Watermarks to solve this issue.

Placing a random watermark into a photo
Placing a random watermark into a photo

To activate Random Watermarks you just need to switch to Random mode in the Watermark Settings (see the highlighted button above). Afterwards you can select all the corners where the watermark potentially could appear. bulkWaterMark chooses a random corner for each image then from the corners and positions you have defined previously.

Random Watermarks can be used by users with Pro or Business licenses.

Hope you like our new features!

We are happy about any feedback! 🙂

Cheers,

Phil

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New version: Batch List UI improvements and new supported image file formats to watermark photos

We have just released our latest bulkWaterMark version (1.0.1499.126) for making watermarking photos more convenient by improving the wizard user interface. We finally added the often requested buttons for manipulating your current batch photo list.

Furthermore bulkWaterMark now supports a lot more file formats for image file conversion. Now the the following formats are available for reading source pictures and writing your protected watermarked photos:

Image file formats with read support:

  • Bitmap (*.bmp)
  • EMF Enhanced Metafile (*.emf)
  • GIF Graphics Interchange Format (*.gif)
  • Google WebP (*.webp)
  • JPEG 2000 Joint Photographics Experts Group (*.jp2)
  • JPEG Joint Photographics Experts Group (*.jpg, *.jpeg)
  • Photoshop (*.psd)
  • PNG Portable Network Graphics (*.png)
  • RAW Digital Camera Raw Images
    • Hasselblad Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.3fr)
    • Sony Digital Camera Raw Image Format for Alpha devices (*.arw)
    • Casio Digital Camera Raw File Format (*.bay)
    • NuCore Raw Image File (*.bmq)
    • Phase One Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.cap)
    • Phantom Software Raw Image File (*.cine)
    • Canon Digital Camera RAW Image Format version 2.0 (*.cr2)
    • Canon Digital Camera RAW Image Format version 1.0 (*.crw)
    • Capture Shop Raw Image File (*.cs1)
    • Kodak DC25 Digital Camera File (*.dc2)
    • Kodak Digital Camera Raw Image Format for these models: Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c, Kodak DSC Pro SLR/n, Kodak DSC Pro 14N, Kodak DSC PRO 14nx (*.dcr)
    • Adobe Digital Negative (*.dng)
    • Kodak Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.drf)
    • Kodak Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.dsc)
    • Epson Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.erf)
    • Imacon Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.fff)
    • Leaf Raw Image File (*.hdr)
    • Sinar Raw Image File (*.ia)
    • Phase One Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.iiq)
    • Kodak DC25 Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.k25)
    • Kodak DCS200 Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.kc2)
    • Kodak Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.kdc)
    • Minolta RD175 Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.mdc)
    • Mamiya Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.mef)
    • Mamiya Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.mos)
    • Minolta Dimage Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.mrw)
    • Nikon Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.nef)
    • Nikon Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.nrw)
    • Olympus Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.orf)
    • Pentax Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.pef)
    • Pentax Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.ptx)
    • Logitech Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.pxn)
    • Apple Quicktake 100/150 Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.qtk)
    • Fuji Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.raf)
    • Panasonic Digital Camera Image Format (*.raw)
    • Digital Foto Maker Raw Image File (*.rdc)
    • Panasonic LX3 Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.rw2)
    • Rawzor Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.rwz)
    • Sony Digital Camera Raw Image Format (*.sr2)
    • Sony Digital Camera Raw Image Format for DSC-F828 (*.srf)
  • Targa Image File (*.tga)
  • TIFF Tagged Image File Format (*.tif, *.tiff)
  • WMF Windows Metafile (*.wmf)

And the output file formats to write images:

  • Bitmap (*.bmp)
  • EMF Enhanced Metafile (*.emf)
  • GIF Graphics Interchange Format (*.gif)
  • Google WebP (*.webp)
  • JPEG 2000 Joint Photographics Experts Group (*.jp2)
  • JPEG Joint Photographics Experts Group (*.jpg, *.jpeg)
  • PNG Portable Network Graphics (*.png)
  • Targa Image File (*.tga)
  • TIFF Tagged Image File Format (*.tif, *.tiff)

Have a nice weekend! I hope you like the new version and features. Feel free to comment us your feedback here!

Cheers

Phil

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ScummVM on iOS without Jailbreak

TGIF! And therefore I’m going to write about gaming in our blog today. No image processing this time, sorry… 😉

I have played my first computer games in the early 90s. It started with Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then at a friend’s with his C64 and then my dad brought home our first PC. Finally, Lemmings and Indy 3 were my first mouse controlled games. As an avid NES kid, I was fascinated over the better VGA graphics and the fact that Indiana Jones is not a Native American. I did not understand anything since our version of the game was completely in English, but I think playing those games was a good foundation for my English lessons at school.

Although I’m still buying contemporary video games, they typically end up dusted and stay shrink wrapped forever. The same for Steam games, except the dust and the packaging. Every now and then I’m still playing games, but not modern games. Yep, right: I love and play my old retro games. I guess the  Lucasfilm/LucasArts classics will always be my favorite games – from Maniac Mansion to Grim Fandango, I played them numerous times until the credits get rolled and although adventure games are not the most versatile games, they will never boring for me.

When getting my first iPod Touch, I immediately jailbreaked it to run a single app “illegal” app: ScummVM, an open source gem that finally brings all the LucasArts, Sierra, Revolution and XYZ adventure classics to any computer-like platform that ever existed, or so…

Since iOS 9 and the latest Xcode major update, we finally can do what Android users can do from time immemorial: Installing homebrewn open source software! The lovely folks at the ScummVM forums have now added support for the newest iOS and updated the build script so that it builds for the iPhone or iPad without any hassle. Because it is still a very technical task to install ScummVM on your iOS device, I’ve put together the following step-by-step guide to show you how to bring back Guybrush & Co on your mobile Apple gadget without jailbreaking it.

The voodoo recipe

For playing Monkey Island on your iOS device you need the following ingredients:

  • One or more iOS devices
  • A computer running Mac OS X El Capitan with administrator privileges
  • Xcode
  • A free Apple Developer account
  • Patience
  • Original game files

Getting Xcode

Before you can start playing games with ScummVM, you first need to install Xcode on your Mac. Xcode is the development tool for Mac OS X and is available for free. To get its latest version, just search for it in the Mac App Store.

By installing Xcode you will also get Git installed on your computer that is required to download the ScummVM source code from the Github repository.

That was an easy one. Let’s see what’s coming up next…

Getting a free Apple Developer account

We need a Apple Developer account to install software on our iOS device. Therefore, go to the Apple Developer Member Center to sign up for a new Apple Developer account. Since you are already an Apple customer, you probably also have an Apple ID: Just enter your Apple ID and sign in, then your account gets activated.

Preparing the Xcode project and getting the code

The next step is by courtesy of ScummVM team member bSr43. As mentioned in the dev forums, bSr43 coded the following shell script to download the source code, its dependencies and create the Xcode project automagically. Big up for the script!

Copy the code snippet above, fire up your editor of choice (TextWrangler or TextEdit for example) to create a new file and paste the code into it. Then save the file as prepare_workspace.sh into your folder of choice. This folder will be your project folder where all ScummVM source code gets downloaded to. Therefore, I’m creating a new folder in my home folder with finder called scummvm. After you have saved the script in the newly created folder, open Terminal.

After you have started Terminal, navigate to the folder you have saved the script into (if you need help read the following article). Then copy the following line into the Terminal window and hit return:

The first command chmod marks the shell script as executable, the second command after the semicolon runs our shell script.

After hitting enter, you will need to wait for a few minutes. The script will download all sources, dependencies and create the Xcode project and configuration for you. As soon as the script has finished its work, Xcode gets opened with your very own ScummVM source code.

Compiling and deploying ScummVM to your iOS device

Now we need to adjust a few more settings to get ready. First, I’m clicking the scummvm project in the left tree (1) to open the project settings. Next the Bundle Identifier (2) and the Provisioning Profile (3) need to be configured.

Setting the ScummVM project settings in Xcode
Setting the ScummVM project settings in Xcode

The bundle identifier needs to be an individual ID. I’m choosing at.pmlabs.scummvm for my personal iOS deployment build. After setting the bundle identifier, I’m clicking the Fix Issue button to use my developer account for signing. The following dialog gets opened by Xcode then:

Adding our Apple Developer ID to sign the app for deployment
Adding our Apple Developer ID to sign the app for deployment

Click the Add button and enter the Apple ID we have used before when logging into the Developer Center. The Apple ID gets added then to Xcode’s Accounts tab in the settings. Select your new account and click View Details… to display your Signing Identities.

Opening the Signing Identities window
Opening the Signing Identities window

This screens provides you to setup a development provisioning profile for iOS. To create the certificate, just click the Create button next to iOS Development:

Creating the development certificate
Creating the development certificate

Once Xcode has completed fetching the certificate, click Done.

Now we are back for fixing our issue as we promised Xcode before. Just select the Development Team that should be used for provisioning and click Choose. The issue fades away and we can start building, deploying and running ScummVM on our iPhone or iPad.

Therefore we need to plug our iDevice into the Mac, selecting the device and press Cmd+R to start building.

Plug your device in and select it before start building
Plug your device in and select it before start building

Time for a short coffee break!

Because the build process takes a few moments, your iPhone or iPad will probably lock the screen in the meanwhile. Xcode will then prompt you to unlock your phone or tablet to start installing the app. And there it is:

ScummVM on an iPhone without Jailbreak!
ScummVM on an iPhone without Jailbreak!

Hm, but Xcode just displayed a security error?! Yep, there is one more thing: Open your mobile device’s Settings, tap General and then Profiles & Device Management. Tap the Apple ID we previously used for deployment. You will see a short list with ScummVM in it and above an entry that says Trust [Apple ID]. Tap it and a popup opens that asks you again if you really really sure. Just tap Trust once again to keep Apple happy.

Voilá! Just try to open the app again you will be welcomed by the ScummVM launch screen! 🙂

It works! :)
It works! 🙂

Copying ScummVM compatible games onto your iOS device

Copying games onto your tablet or smartphone is done via iTunes. Therefore, simply open iTunes and select your iDevice. Immediately afterwards we are selecting the Apps entry and scroll down to the bottom to another section called File Sharing. In this section you can upload or download files directly into an installed app. Select ScummVM and then click Add to select files or drag & drop them from Finder. I do not make more screenshots here as the whole dialog in iTunes is somehow messed up because I have installed too much apps on my iPhone.

Well hidden on the very bottom of the Apps section you will find the File Sharing feature of iTunes
Well hidden on the very bottom of the Apps section you will find the File Sharing feature of iTunes

If you need to know which files you need to copy for the favorite games of your childhood, just follow this guide here: http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/Datafiles

Recap

I started to replay The Curse of Monkey Island on my iPad and I’m quite happy with it. 🙂 So no need for half-assed remakes anymore! You can play adventure games from the golden era again with the iPad as the perfect platform for Point & Click.

I hope this tutorial was not too technical, since it was also new to me as a software developer, who has not shipped software for an Apple device for ten years.

I wish you hours of fun with ScummVM on your iDevice and a nice weekend! 🙂

Cheers,

Phil

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How to find watermarked photos on the Internet with Google Image Search

Customers often ask us how they can find their own images over the internet they have watermarked with bulkWaterMark. This is not a feature of bulkWaterMark, but most people do not know that it is a free service of Google’s powerful Image Search.

Just click the link to open the image search and hit the camera icon like shown in the image below:

Google Image Search to search watermarked photos
Google Image Search to search watermarked photos

Afterwards, Google offers you two modes for the “Search by image” mode of the image search:

In the Paste image URL tab you can grab a link to an image of your website or any other page in the internet. Afterwards click the “Search by image” button and Google starts searching its index for the specified image.

Less popular is the option to upload the image you are searching for. Therefore, click on the Upload an image tab and select an image file from your local computer’s file system:

Uploading an image to Google
Uploading an image to Google

After you have selected the picture of your choice, the file gets uploaded to Google Image Search. I’ve selected one of our bulkWaterMark sample template file screenshots for search and found my blog post from last week in the results:

The search result with an image file as "keyword"
The search result with an image file as “keyword”

Voilà, Google lists the searched results and my blog post about watermarking photos.

But what happens if the copycat changes the image file format or resizes your original picture? Google Image Search is very tolerant when searching images and is even able to deal with compression artifacts.

So this is a nice tool for searching and identifying your watermarked photos on the Internet. You do not need expensive services to search for your images anymore and can focus on making great photos.

Hope that this short post was helpful for you!

Cheers,

Phil

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From Paper Watermarks in Bank Notes to Digital Watermarks in Photos

I have no new tutorial for you this time, but I think a little history lesson about watermarks can also be very interesting. To get my bachelors degree in computer science back in 2006, I wrote a thesis about digital watermarks. In this blog post, I would like to sum up the most important facts that I have investigated in my thesis and provide an overview about digital watermarks. And yes, this time we will not only talk about watermarking photos.

Watermarks in history

Everybody knows watermarks in bank notes. The first paper watermarks were initially spotted in the end of the 13th century in Bologna, Italy. In these days people did not add watermarks to of send hidden messages, copyright protection or copy protection. Paper manufacturers embedded symbols and messages into paper to sign their product. These identification marks are also often used to date historic documents.

Basically, there are multiple definitions for the word “watermark” that are used by authors, historians and scientists. Mostly, a watermark is defined as not immediately visible data within different kinds of media. Usually, this data cannot be separated from the carrier. Watermarks are therefore part of the science of steganography.

Nowadays, visual watermarks are mostly used to protect photos with logos or texts. Their hearable counterparts are audible watermarks like noise or spoken words. Some people are claiming that noticeable watermarks are ruining a picture or a song, therefore the distribution of additional hidden informations with watermarks is getting more and more important these days. The big problem with hidden informations is that they can be removed from the medium easily when transforming digital data. Invisible photo watermarks for example can get lost if the image format or size gets changed for example. On the other hand, watermarking photos with visible logo or text watermarks can be removed by cropping the watermarked parts of the image. So the more robust and stable a digital watermark is, the more effective your image, music, video or document gets protected from content thefts.

The rise of digital watermarks

Digital watermarks are not an invention of the internet era. You are probably surprised to hear that experiments with digital watermarks have started back in the 1950s. These efforts were not really honored by the industry then.

The first application of watermarks was used for signing audio signals by Emil Hembrooke of the Muzac Corporation in 1954. It was a patent entitled “Identification of sound and like signals” that allowed the positive identification of the origin of music. So it was the first electronic watermark to prevent piracy.

But, it should take a little longer that digital watermarking gets popular. In the mid-1990s when the Internet conquers the world, the entertainment industry sits up and takes notice. The Internet connects the whole world digitally and is a new medium for distributing data and services. In the end of the 1990s, the situation escalates when the file sharing service Napster gets fought by the music industry after distributing music files for free. Of course, the music industry defeats Napster and after the shut down of the service, the huge media groups are working on copy protections and digital rights management solutions. Now digital watermarks are on everyone’s lips because unprotected published content can be copied easily digitally.

Characteristics of digital watermarks

The characteristics of a digital watermarks are dependent on the type of medium and how a person can consume this medium. The problems when designing a watermark are often the robustness and noticeability of the watermark. These two characteristics play off against each other because one behavior effects the strength of the other.

As mentioned before, robustness is a big factor when considering to watermark photos or audio files. Watermarks are robust when they survive within their carrier medium. Take a photo watermarked by bulkWaterMark or other batch watermark software for example: The watermark is only robust as long as it is visible on the picture. By removing the watermarked parts of the picture, the watermark gets also removed. If the watermark is positioned on the most interesting part of the photo, the watermark will probably never get cropped from the picture.

And so the dilemma begins: The most robust visual or audible watermarks are destroying the image or audio data – they are noticeable. So the more robust, the more noticeable. Invisible audio and video watermarks are often realized with proprietary file formats, but there was never a popular and inexpensive solution for image protection. While invisible watermarks can also be embedded into photos by adding fingerprint data to the image, robustness is very difficult to achieve since the watermarked image must be a standard image file format. iTunes has proved that people are ok with proprietary audio and video files, but this approach does not work for photos and images. The aforementioned resize and compression of image data can eliminate an invisible watermark easily. Most professional photographers today tend to use discreet visual watermarks for photos, while scaling down the pictures additionally. In the times of HD displays, nobody wants to steal a pixelated and heavily compressed JPEG image with a watermark.

Conclusion

So noticeable watermarking is still the most used type of watermarks for protecting photos and audio files. Photo watermarks can be used not only for image protection, they are also very popular for transporting advertising messages. The days of invisible DRM audio watermarks are probably over, but audible watermarks are still used for demo clips on content marketplaces like Envato.

I hope you liked the excerpt of my thesis! Stay tuned for our next blog post – it’s a tutorial again! 😉

Cheers

Phil

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Funky and fresh samples to watermark photos

Hi folks!

With the new release 1.0.1482.121 of our batch watermark software, we are delivering a bunch of fresh design ideas for your text watermarks. We have included our well known “drop” sample from the watermark photos tutorial video and many text watermarks with advanced layer styling.

I hope that these templates can be useful for crafting your own special watermarks for protecting your photos:

Event Photos Sample
Event Photos Sample
Green Life Sample
Green Life Sample
Local News Sample
Local News Sample
On Fire Sample
On Fire Sample
Party Reporter Sample
Party Reporter Sample
Phil's BBQ Joint Sample
Phil’s BBQ Joint Sample
PhotoZone Sample
PhotoZone Sample
Rocky Sports Bar
Rocky Sports Bar
travelClub Sample
travelClub Sample
Wedding Photographer Sample
Wedding Photographer Sample

 

Furthermore, the new version fixes also problems with computers without Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 by downloading and installing the framework automatically if it can not be found.

Get the new version here to start watermarking photos.

We wish you a pleasant weekend!

Cheers

Phil

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Tutorial: How to add watermarks to pictures with Adobe Lightroom

Since Apple dismissed it’s fabulous photo software Aperture, I started to look into Adobe’s alternative: Lightroom. I really like the photo editing capabilities and features of Lightroom a lot and I’m an avid fan of the software. Compared to our Photoshop watermarking tutorial a few weeks ago, Lightroom has a “real” built-in feature to watermark photos. In this article I would like to look into the photo watermarking functions of Lightroom and how they perform in contrast to bulkWaterMark or waterMark V2.

First of all, Lightroom does a very basic batch watermarking job compared to bulkWaterMark, but the integration in your photo editing workflow is a big plus here. As in bulkWaterMark or waterMark V2, Lightroom does also allow image and text watermarks for protecting your pictures. I’m using the latest version Adobe Lightroom CC 2015 in this tutorial on a Mac, but as usual: This should also work for older versions, since to watermark photos is not a new feature anymore. Also: Windows shortcuts and menu titles are the same as on the Mac, unless stated otherwise.

Watermark photos in Lightroom

In Lightroom, you can watermark photos when exporting your photos. Therefore, I suggest selecting a few images in our library that we want to export and clicking the “File/Export…” menu entry.

Step 1: Selecting photos to export and watermark
Step 1: Selecting photos to export and watermark

Afterwards, the export dialog pops up and displays several options for configuring your image output. Please choose your basic export settings like destination folder and output format as you need them – these settings are similar to bulkWaterMark’s watermark output settings. When you scroll down to the bottom, you will find a settings group called Watermarking. Open up the group, tick the check box “Watermark” and click the combo box to select the entry “Edit watermarks…”:

Step 2 + 3: Define your output folder and enable watermarking with a custom watermark
Step 2 + 3: Define your output folder and enable watermarking with a custom watermark

Now it’s getting interesting: Like the profile editor of bulkWaterMark, Lightroom opens a window called “Watermark Editor” that allows you to design your watermark.

Step 4: Exploring Lightroom's Watermark Editor
Step 4: Exploring Lightroom’s Watermark Editor

Lightroom’s Watermark Editor also has rudimental live editing features to change the size of your watermarks by dragging a text watermark’s edge, whereat bulkWaterMark features more detailed watermark composition possibilities comparable to the Adobe flagship product Photoshop.

The editor is split into multiple areas: Most of the dialog is filled with a preview canvas that displays one of your selected export pictures topped up with the watermark. The arrow buttons on the right top of the dialog let you browse through the photos to export and watermark.

Step 5: Mixed mode or pure graphic watermark?
Step 5: Mixed mode or pure graphic watermark?

Next to the arrows you can set your watermark style with two radio buttons. Lightroom supports either a text watermark with an optional image watermark or a pure image watermark. If you select “Graphic” then you have to define an image file for watermarking. And if you choose “Text” then you can define an image file for watermarking. So the only thing these radio buttons are doing, is enabling or limiting some of the available watermark options.

Right below the style radio buttons you will find the settings of your custom watermark grouped in multiple sections. As mentioned above, depending on what style you are choosing, you can either edit all watermark options (selection “Text”) or just “Image Options” and “Watermark Effects” (selection “Graphic”).

Step 6a: Setting up a Graphic Watermark in Lightroom
Step 6a: Setting up a Graphic Watermark in Lightroom
Step 6b: More watermark options when going for "Text"
Step 6b: More watermark options when going for “Text”

For text watermarks you can additionally set font, color and the text itself of course and also render a nice drop shadow effect. Both watermark styles enable the Watermark Effects section: Watermark Effects can be defined for each watermark (also known as layer group). You can define the opacity, size, margin, angle and position of the watermark, so this section is the equivalent for bulkWaterMark’s Watermark Settings:

Watermark Settings in bulkWaterMark
Watermark Settings in bulkWaterMark

Lightroom allows you to scale a watermark proportional to the image size similar to the percentage layer size feature in bulkWaterMark and fit it into the picture by the defined inset. I prefer using the “Fit” option and setting the inset afterwards, because Lightroom displays helpful reference lines that illustrate the margin as depicted here:

Step 7: Setting the position and size of the watermark
Step 7: Setting the position and size of the watermark

You can also set an anchor for the watermark to position it, but you are limited to a single selection. Also a tile mode is missing that allows you to distribute your watermark over the complete photo.

Step 8: Ahoy! Setting an anchor!
Step 8: Ahoy! Setting an anchor!

If you are satisfied with your settings, you can close the dialog by clicking the Save button. Lightroom asks you for a preset name and after entering it you are back on the export dialog where the Export button awaits your final click to watermark photos.

Conclusion

So you have seen that watermarking in Lightroom works out pretty well. The configuration of the watermark is not always smooth, but on the whole very handy. It is integrated nicely in the export workflow of the application and also delivers good results. In comparison to our Photoshop tutorial the steps to create and setup our watermark are less complex and Lightroom is way faster in applying the watermarks on your pictures.

When comparing side by side with bulkWaterMark, Lightroom lacks of many key features that bulkWaterMark supports out of the box. Lightroom does not support variables within a text watermark to display Exif information for example. Also the positioning of the watermark is not as flexible as in bulkWaterMark where you can set multiple anchors and tile watermarks. In Lightroom you can use the drop shadow effect only on text watermarks, whereat bulkWaterMark allows you to use drop shadows on image or text watermarks and supports even more Photoshop-esque blending effects like glow, bevel, stroke or mirroring.

The big news at the end: We really like Lightroom as a professional app for organizing and editing photos, but we would love it even more if the watermark photos tool would support pro features too. Therefore we have a free Lightroom PlugIn in our roadmap for 2016 that lets you use bulkWaterMark within the Export workflow of Adobe Lightroom. 🙂

I hope my tutorial was helpful to you!

Cheers,

Phil

PS: Again for this tutorial: If you have another 2 and a half minutes, I would like you to invite you to watch how you can watermark photos even better with bulkWaterMark:

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