Our New Technique For Signatures & Titles

To download a printable version of this article (SigMask.pdf), click here



It was only five months ago that we changed our philosophy on printing titles and signaturesblog.  I just came up with another way to make our titles and signatures that’s even easier to adjust and stealthier than the way we have been doing it.  It turns the text into a mask for a curves adjustment layer.

Previous Title Technique
Previous Title Technique
New Title Technique
New Title Technique

Here is how it’s done –

To Make A Signature Mask

  1. Make A Signature Layer

    On a separate layer, make a black signature the size, font, orientation, and location you need it to be. See Creating & Using A Signature File To Add A Signature To Your Photographs.

  2. Hide All Other Layers

    In the Layers panel, hide all layers except for the signature layer.

  3. Select the signature layer.

  4. Select RGB Channel

    In the Channels panel, select the RGB channel (the red, green, and blue channels should also be highlighted).

  5. Load Channel As Selection

    Hit the “Load channel as selection” button at the bottom of the panel.

  6. Invert Selection

    Return to the Layers panel.  Click Select ⇨ Inverse.

  7. Create A Curves Layer

    Create a new Curves adjustment layer just above the signature layer. Call it “Signature Curves” or something. The layer mask will also be created. The mask should be black everywhere with a white signature.

  8. Unhide Other Layers

    Leave the signature layer hidden, but unhide at least all of the layers below the signature layer.

  9. Adjust New Curves Layer

    Select the adjustment icon on the new “Signature Curves” layer (to the left of the mask). Click somewhere in the middle of the adjustment curve (on the histogram) and drag it either up (to make the signature lighter) or down (to make it darker) to taste.

  10. For more complicated backgrounds, you may want to start by lifting the little square at the end of the curve in the lower left corner of the histogram until there is enough contrast in the darkest sections, then use the on-image adjustment tool (the little hand icon with the finger pointing left just above the three eyedroppers) and adjust the curve for different regions by clicking on the signature in that region and dragging up (to lighten) or down (to darken). This may need some trial and error.

Another option for increasing the visibility of your signature in complicated backgrounds is to add a “Bevel & Emboss” to the signature.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.

  1. Double-click the adjustment layer to the right of the mask to bring up the Layer Styles window.
  2. Click to select “Bevel & Emboss”.
  3. Click OK.


See how that works for you.

Bevelled Title Technique
Beveled Title Technique
  1. You may want to delete the signature layer and leave the curves layer. Maybe not. I use this same technique for the title, which includes the number of the print. I keep the title layer (hidden, of course) so that I can just change the number itself each time without redoing all the formatting for the other components. Then I can go to Step 2.

That’s it.  Congratulations. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. Thanks.

Author: Bruce

Although I grew up in Garden Grove, California, I have lived here in South Miami longer than I've lived anywhere else in the world. I've been married to my wonderful wife, Nancy, longer than I was ever without her. We were both teachers. Nancy recently retired after 40 years. I have also spent time as an officer in the Coast Guard, a commercial property appraiser, and an electrical engineering student. Now I'm technical support for Bee Happy Graphics. That means I handle this blog, our web page, and all E-mail, I do all post-processing and printing of the images, I cut mats and glass and frames. If you have a technical question, I would be the one trying to answer it.

Your "two cents worth" is welcome (but I don't give change).

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