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  1.  (5382.1)
    I'm about to redesign/revamp my online presence, and I thought I'd ask:

    What's your take on the effectiveness/worthwhileness of watermarking?

    I keep weighing the many pros and cons, and I'm rather befuddled.
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      CommentAuthorRachel
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2009 edited
     (5382.2)
    People can and will steal things anyway. Image resolution is a much better tool for preventing unauthorised printing and sales of images however I'd put the url in a corner where it wont distract from the image but if the picture is hotlinked/used on myspace/linked on riot clit shave/posted on tumblr without attribution the url is there if people want to see more.

    [edit: html fix]
  2.  (5382.3)
    Yes, that's rather why I'd never bothered before; the fact that if someone really wants to steal something, they will.

    And it's seeing places like riotclitshave and imgfave that makes me think maybe I should bother.

    The thing is, I see more crappy and mediocre photographers/artists using watermarks than I see excellent photographers/artists using watermarks. That's not to say I've never seen amazing and skilled artists with thier images marked; I've seen a few here, for example. I just wasn't sure if to watermark had a social stigma of lessened artistic merit - that you are likening your work to something on istock by doing so.

    Maybe I'm overthinking this.
  3.  (5382.4)
    If you’re going to be posting photos that have real commercial value use a flash app to display at full size so that only thumbnails come up in Google image search. I say this because I know from talking to other graphic designers that due to the economy even the serious professionals are blowing up images from the web; a program called “Genuine Fractals Print Pro” does a much better job of this than most photographers would expect. Most designers aren’t going to bother taking screenshots or cracking open a flash file, they just rip off what comes up with Google image search or what they find on Flickr, so a little inconvenience goes a long way to keeping yourself from being ripped off.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2009
     (5382.5)
    I know that when I'm looking at pictures online if I see a watermark I stop paying attention to th picture. Not out of spite or annoyance, just because the pattern recognition of seeing the watermark completely interferes with my ability to even see the picture. Like one of those optical illusions where the dancer is spinning one way, but if you try you can see her as spinning the other way, but then I can never make her go back to spinning the first way.

    Anyway, watermarks ruin my ability to see pictures.

    I personally dislike flash picture galleries, as they make it impossible to refer to a specific picture whwhen pointing someone to a site, you have to click through the gallery using whatever flash interface has been designed.

    How big of an impact would someone ganking a web resolution picture have on you?
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2009
     (5382.6)
    My position is more or less the same as Rachel's. Barring some enterprise-type watermarking software, most stuff is fairly simple to reverse-engineer or edit out. I just sign the drawings that I post online, but I never post anything of any imaginable commercial value. If it's original content, put an unobtrusive URL and/or signature somewhere.

    I don't think that pros use watermarks on the graphics themselves because they're generally obtrusive, particularly on something that's reliant on composition and would go in a resume.
  4.  (5382.7)
    I think the actual impact of having a picture stolen as William mentioned is the main consideration, though I speak as a non-photographer. Anyone who wants to steal your picture wasn't going to pay for it anyway. Making it less than hard for them to use your images for whatever they're out to do with them, I don't think that would boost your sales, and it would make your work look less appealing. Isn't the only real value you get from having your stuff online as the resume -- you get paid when somebody asks you to take a photo for them? I dunno. That said, flash galleries have their negatives, especially the fact that programming flash well isn't free, but if done right they can give your images a better sort of frame as well as make theft more of a hassel. And tiny urls at the bottom I think are ok -- I definitely like seeing them, if they survive stolen-photo-blogging, because I can look up the photographer. Non professional thoughts for you.
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      CommentAuthorjinxes
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2009
     (5382.8)
    I don't like watermarks. ugly as sin. That said, I post to DevArt and watermark pretty much everything just because it's an over-abused gank and copy-pasta territory. When my personal site goes back up, there is nary a watermark to find. I also spaceball the image just to irk any right-click gurus. It's easy and enough that most people won't bother to try to take the image unless it's made easily available. Of course, google images linking is a bit fun, but I can put in other code to sidestep that, too. It's a basic arms war between preventing people from groking your goods and snagging art off the net. Most won't go beyond a right click or google search. If you can nuke that, you win but for the most dedicated SoB's. And beating the truly dedicated is far too much work.

    Just my 2¢
  5.  (5382.9)
    Speaking from the side of the audience, as oppose to the artist.
    Is people stealing your art on the internet really that much of a problem?

    Personally I've become addicted to pictures on the internet. Photoblogs, things like riotclitshave, flickr, myconfinedspace.com even 4chan. I've become so used to right-clicking pictures and saving them to my pictures folder that sometimes I'll be reading a comic in real life, see an awesome panel, and involuntary move my hand as if it was moving a mouse to right-click save... I have many gigs of pictures stored on my harddrives.. I'm not exactly sure why. Occasionally I'll show some to my friends, like mixtape only with images. I'm not gonna sell them or anything, I dont know how I could make money out of them, except maybe starting an ad-heavy photoblog.

    The one word I hate is spaceball.gif I'll be trawling the web and find some awesome flickr stream, open hundreds of tabs of pictures, go to save them, and I get a damn spaceball. Usually the frustration I get from this makes me just clost the site and never go back to it. Sometimes, if the picture happens to be uniquely wonderful, I'll printscreen the picture and save it that way (I got a bunch of images that ... one day... I will crop the rest of the desktop off of).
    Occasionally I'll get an image thats both protected and too big to fit into my laptops screen, anyone got a program that'll save the picture for me without just shrinking the website?

    Also if your putting stuff on the internet, it's pretty much fair game anyway. People copying your stuff... well thats the internet, thats what its for. Now I agree that no one wants someone taking your work, copying it, maybe changing it a little, then pretending its thier own. Maybe even putting it on a t-shirt or something and selling it. But if theres one moral, one rule I've noticed on the internet it is people deplore people who ripp off artists and will make an effort to ridicule/demonise them. Just look at todd goldman from david and goliath.

    Also, no one likes flash.

    So put a small, simple, watermark on it(please not stretched over the whole image), put your details in the filename. Make it as easy as possible for someone who randomly stumbles across your art to trace it back to you. And keep putting up the images. I need the fix.
  6.  (5382.10)
    @Atomic

    To snag pictures that won't fit in a screen capture (and it's a pain the ass): drag your mouse up over them from page-space below to hilight them, and then control-c (it is okay to get other stuff too, no need to fret with precision), paste into an open Word document, repeat and grab as many photos as you want, eventually save the doc as a web page, trawl through the folder Word generates to extract the full-size image files, sitting pretty. This gets you past spaceballs and javascript right-click blocks.

    Too inefficient for compulsive photo-hoarding, you're better off just letting the web be your library: but suitable to perch something pretty on your desktop.

    If you have a mac, it might be different. I don't know if you would have to dance while doing it or whatever.
  7.  (5382.11)
    Anecdote I thought of after the first time this thread ran through:

    One of the horde of Absurdly Fucking Talented 4-Year-Old Artists on Livejournal, I don't remember who, not one I follow regularly, she was probably Canadian though (god damn Absurdly Fucking Talented 4-Year-Old Canadian Artists on Livejournal: get drug habits! Take up sports!) she had an illustration of hers show up on a mousepad sold through ebay by someone residing in China. She ran a livejournal bitch-post campaign to incite sympathetic rage; Ebay wouldn't do anything about it; eventually the Chinaman sold through his stock and went away. The artist, however, immediately took to putting a full-width watermark diagonally across every new image she uploaded. SO, all her work now looked like shit. She was shitting on her own work.

    The punch line is that her illustration was of the film rendition of Gaiman's Coraline. It said "Coraline" on it. And she was asking her readers what she could do to stop someone else making money off her work.

    Anyway. Small url tags good. They make photo dissemination work for you. Huge watermarks bad. They make your stuff look bad, which works against you.
    • CommentAuthorpoor_boy
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2009
     (5382.12)
    I'm not as good with this computer stuff as most of Whitechapel seems to be, but my opinion might be close to that of the average internet user and therefore useful to you.

    If I find a pic with a website listed at the very bottom of it in small type, I leave that in when I share it with people I like. Just to be respectful and gentlemanly and all that shit.
    If it's got watermarks all over it, I usually wait for a better version. Only takes a day or two in most cases.
  8.  (5382.13)
    I try not to get my panties in a wad about possible image theft. The only time you'd see me ranting a little is if I found out some corporation was shopping for stock art off my deviant art account, and used it for a multi-million dollar ad campaign that I wasn't going to see a scent from because they have great lawyers.

    Otherwise, I've found most theft is simply small time people yoinking images for Role Playing Characters, Avatars, 'Art Appreciation' on profiles, Image Macros, and the occasional delusional attention whore who tries to pass it off as their own. None of which will be stopped by a water-mark.

    In fact, it might be a good sign if you see your work popping up everywhere. Unintentional viral marketing, ftw!
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2009
     (5382.14)
    Atomic - If you use Firefox or Mozilla, you can easily rip off spaceball'd images from flickr:

    (Firefox) Go to Tools, then Page Info
    (Mozilla) Go to View, then Page Info

    Then click the Media tab. This lists every media file on the page. Scroll down on the list until you get to the one for the image you want (it's usually fairly obvious on flickr because it's different to the url for all the other crap). Click on it, and then use the Save As button. Bish bosh.

    Someone showed me how to do this to rip off embedded .wmv files in the days before youtube.
  9.  (5382.15)
    ... wait, really?

    Flash photo galleries are generally discouraged? I'd thought flash galleries add a slick and professional looking platform to present one's portfolio, no?
  10.  (5382.16)
    you cant bookmark them, you cant link them, you cant save pictures off them (at least in IE and thats what most people still use, I'm using opera atm) and send them to people. I mean they can make you look all professional, and I have no idea what "the industry" feels about them, but personally I hate them.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2009
     (5382.17)
    Yeah, my impression is, graphic designers and professional artists love flash because it gives them control and looks slick. Avid web users hate flash passionately for the reasons AtomicSloth laid out - mainly that you can't link someone to a single image, and everyone hates waiting for the flash stuff to load. Say you see one awesome picture in the middle of a flash powered gallery. You can't email a link of it to your friends. You can link to the flash gallery, but your friends will have to navigate through all the pictures themselves, there is no way to point them to just one.

    It's my impression that the majority of web users don't care one way or the other. Flash, no flash, doesn't seem to matter to them.

    Right now the galleries on my website are just embedded flickr slideshows, because I've been lazy about it. When I get them set up for real, I'm going to try to do it without using flash, if possible, because I want people to be able to link directly to a specific picture, if they feel like it.

    Artists who have online portfolios mainly to have something to send art directors or other potential employers to seem to be perfectly fine with flash galleries. Professionals don't seem to mind navigating them. It's the heavy web users in the general public that hate it.
    • CommentAuthorpoor_boy
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2009 edited
     (5382.18)
    If I found something on a flash gallery that I really wanted to share, I could just take a screen cap and post it on photobucket. Not that hard to do.
    Better yet, I could just refer people to the url. That way they can see all of it and not just the part that I like.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there for the sake of brainstorming. Hope it helps.
    • CommentAuthornorther
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2009
     (5382.19)
    Just add a logo in a corner somewhere so that if someone leaches your images or reposts them somewhere, the people seeing them will know where to go for more.
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      CommentAuthorwilliac
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2009
     (5382.20)
    What's more important to you; exposure or theft prevention?

    Some of the best professional photographers I've ever seen upload a ton of photos without any kind of watermarking.

    If you're doing the wedding or senior portrait photographer gig, it might make sense, but personally, if forgoing watermarks, Flash, and right-click disablers is good enough for Clayton Cubitt, it's more than good enough for me.