Adding a watermark to a photo is a popular technique among photographers, designers, real estate professionals or bloggers. This can be useful from two different angles.
A watermark can help you protect your original photography. Once you insert your copyright text or logo into the images, you make it clear those images are your intellectual property and can’t be used without your permission. At the same time, a clear, easy-to-read watermark gives you the opportunity to increase your online visibility, to drive traffic to your website or blog and possibly get new clients.
But what if you need the original, watermark-free image for a new project and you don’t have it anymore? What if you deleted it by mistake or lost it somehow? Well, in this case the only way to restore the original photo is by removing the text or logo watermark.
When and if you need to get rid of that identification mark, it’s important to know that there are various image editing tools that can accomplish this task. One of them is, of course, Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop places at your disposal multiple tools to remove a watermark from a photo.
The Crop Tool, the Basic Solution
The first and most basic way to erase a given text or logo from a picture is to use the Crop tool.
All you have to do is select it from the toolbar and simply drag the corner handles of the crop frame to remove that specific area of the image. At the same time you can click anywhere on the photo and draw out your own frame.
This is a rather rudimentary solution. It can get the job done, but it depends greatly on the watermark’s location. For instance, if the watermark is placed discreetly in the bottom right corner, you should be able to remove it without affecting the photo. But if the watermark has a central placement, it’s considerably more difficult to get rid of it.
Cropping is not the ideal alternative, since you can risk losing some important data and image quality in the process.
Remove Watermark with Content Aware Fill
A more efficient method is to take advantage of the Content Aware Fill feature. Here’s how to do it:
Open the image in Photoshop. Next make a selection around the text or logo watermark. You can do this using several tools, either the Pen tool, the Quick Selection tool or the Magic Wand one. Regardless of which tool you opt for, the selection around the watermark should look like this:
In this step we are going to make minor adjustments to the selected area, more precisely expanding it in order to incorporate some background pixels. Go to Select > Modify > Expand. In the newly opened dialog box, expand the selection by the number of pixels you want and hit the OK button.
Now let’s take advantage of the Content Aware Fill feature and its capabilities to remove objects from an image.
Go to Edit > Fill. In the Fill dialog box that just popped up, select Content Aware in the Contentssection, leave Color Adaptation unchecked, set the Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 100% and click on the OK button.
This is how your picture should look like after applying the Content-Aware option:
Deselect the selection by pressing Ctrl+D on your keyboard. Now you’ll probably notice that the area where the watermark used to be is filled with the background color. But the outline of the watermark is still visible and we need to remove it too.
In order to remove the text outline we are going to resort to the Clone Stamp Tool, so select it from the left side toolbar (or just press S). Next hold down the Alt key (notice that the cursor turns into a target) and begin taking samples around the watermark. Now you can retouch the picture by clicking and dragging the cursor over the watermark’s outline area. Stop when there are no more traces of the original watermark left.
Remove Watermark with the Clone Stamp and Healing Brush
Another way to remove watermark from photos is to resort to other post-processing tools, like the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brush. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Open the photo you want to edit in Photoshop and grab the Clone Stamp tool from the left side toolbar. Once you’ve selected it, make sure to set the brush size and the hardness to match your retouching needs by right clicking on the image.
Position the cursor in the area where the watermark is placed. Next hold the Alt key on your keyboard (the cursor will become a target) and click on the area where you want to extract the pixels from, near the watermark.
Once you’ve finished taking samples, release the Alt key. Next hold down the left mouse button and begin painting over the watermark.
Select the Healing Brush tool from the left side toolbar, used for removing marks or clearing up various spots and traces. Now right click on the image and choose the suitable settings for the brush size and hardness.
This is the step where you begin the healing. Hold down your Alt key and take samples from an area around the original watermark. Next start painting with small clicks until all the traces of the watermark are gone.
Disclaimer: Bits&Coffee does not encourage users to steal the original work of photographers by removing text or logo watermarks from copyrighted images. This blog post is simply taking advantage of Photoshop’s post-processing tools built to remove various objects and elements from photos.