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TheBatchWatermarks Protects Photos With a Text Overlay

You can overlay multiple images with transparent watermark text with this expensive product or free alternatives

It's very easy for people to steal photographic work that has been posted online, without crediting the author, unless that work has been watermarked (overlaid with semi-transparent text). Watermarking is a feature so common among photo editing and management utilities that it's essentially a bullet-point on the list of things virtually any photo management tool can do. So the mere existence of this eponymous product is a curiosity, but only just that. Alas, the primary function of TheBatchWatermarks is to, well, watermark large numbers of images all at once.

As an additional feature, TheBatchWatermarks can generate output files in a reduced size. The program accepts original files from, and outputs watermarked images in, the common image file formats--JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG--as well as PPM and XPM uncompressed bitmaps.

The vendor, also called TheBatchWatermarks, boasts that it the software can automatically determine whether it would be best to use light or dark-colored overlay text, depending on whether the portion of the image where the overlay will appear is dark or light. In tests, I found this feature obnoxious, if only because, when it guessed wrong, part of that watermark became impossible to read with the default, muted color settings, and there are no other options to improve the contrast, such as the use of drop shadows or a background color behind the text. One can change the text color preferences to use a bright, unnatural color for the watermark, but that defeats the purpose of using a semi-transparent, non-distracting watermark in the first place.

TheBatchWatermarks' interface also has a checkbox that, when filled in, appends adds the copyright symbol to any text entered into the program's text box. The author's disdain for Character Map perplexes. You can choose to justify the watermark text in one of nine positions: right, center, or left vertically, and top, middle, or bottom horizontally.

Unfortunately, TheBatchWatermarks doesn't remember your preferences (or the watermark text, for that matter) from one execution to the next. D'oh.

The demo version of TheBatchWatermarks overlays an additional, giant "unregistered" watermark smack in the middle of any image you watermark. The registered version (which costs an unjustifiably high $27 for home users, and a you-must-be-joking $119 for businesses) removes this message.

One can't configure the naming convention of TBW's output files, or their resolution: In tests with 300dpi input files, the program produced watermarked files in a reduced, 96dpi resolution. The resulting files were about 20 percent of the size of my originals, even with the overlay text. As long as you don't accidentally overwrite your original files, it works fine for what it's intended to do.

Seeing as the watermarking or text overlay feature is so common, in far better photo management or editing tools, and TheBatchWatermarks' execution (at best) leaves a lot to be desired, I'd recommend giving TheBatchWatermarks a pass. You're going to be better off with almost anything else, including the freebie utility named Watermark Image Software--or even Microsoft Paint.

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