A popular trend these days is to sign your images when posting online. The thought is to treat the image more like it was being shown in a gallery and less like pixel dust in the wind. The process is really pretty easy to do. I’d also like to state that this is a much more attractive way to watermark a photo.
Here’s the process for Photoshop Users
Sign your name… take your time and give it a few tries. If you’re using pen and paper, go with a thicker felt tip pen or marker. If using a tablet, that works too. Be sure to create a nice large signature so you’ll have plenty of pixels to work with.
Scan or digitally capture the signature at a very high resolution. You’re likely adding this to high-resolution imagery, so better to start large and scale down (instead of up).
Clean up your signature with a Levels adjustment to make the whites and blacks crisp.
Save two versions of your file. One black on white and one white on black. You can choose Image > Adjustments > Invert to make a negative image.
When you’re ready to sign, choose File > Place and navigate to your signature file. Choose the black or white signature based on your photo background.
Scale the image to taste by dragging a corner handle. Be sure to hold down the shift key to constrain the proportions of the scale.
To learn the final steps on How to Sign Your Work, please click here for more of Richard Harrington’s article at Photofocus.
Do you have a favorite way to sign your digital images? Share it in the comments please.
Reader Isabel Lorenzo has been asked to sign on the dotted line. She writes:
I’ve received some electronic documents that I’m supposed to sign. I could print and sign them and mail them back, but I’ve heard there’s a way to sign them right on my Mac. Do you know how it’s done?
You have a couple of options, Isabel. If you’re running Mac OS X Lion or later, you can take advantage of Preview’s Signature feature. Alternatively, you can use Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. We’ll start with Preview.
Launch Preview, open its preferences, and select the Signatures tab. Click the plus (+) button at the bottom of the window.
A Signature Capture window will appear and your Mac’s camera will light up. Scrawl out your John Hancock on a piece of paper, and place that paper before the camera so that the signature aligns with the blue line in the viewer area. Signature Capture will grab your signature and display it to the right of the viewer. Click the Accept button, and the signature will be added to Preview’s list of available signatures.
When you need to sign a PDF, choose Tools > Annotate > Signature. A crosshairs cursor will appear. Drag it, and your signature will appear. (If you’ve stored more than one signature, click the Signature menu in the toolbar and select the signature you wish to use.) Drag the signature where you’d like it to appear, and if necessary, resize it. Save the PDF, and your signature will be embedded in the document.
You can also slap a signature on PDF files with Acrobat Reader. While Reader doesn’t offer Preview’s camera trick, applying a signature is pretty easy.
Open a PDF and click the Sign button that appears in the toolbar. Click the triangle next to the ‘I Need to Sign’ heading and choose Place Signature. In the Place Signature window that appears, choose Type my signature and enter your name in the appropriate field. Your signature will appear below in a script-like font. Click the Accept button, place your cursor where you’d like your signature to appear, and click. The signature will appear on the page, where you can then resize it.
If the recipient of your document is likely to respond with “I’ve seen your signature, and that ain’t it!” return to the Place Signature command and choose Clear Saved Signature. Now click Place Signature yet again and, in the window that appears, choose Draw My Signature from the first pop-up menu and then do your darndest to create a legible signature, scrawling it with your mouse or trackpad. Again, click Accept when you’re done and place the signature in the document.
This kind of signature is fine in some cases, but not all. For greater security, some documents (those with Adobe’s Reader Usage Rights enabled) must be digitally signed. Adobe Reader includes a feature for creating such digital IDs.
Launch Adobe Reader, open its preferences, and select Signatures. In the Identities & Trusted Certificates area, click the More button. In the window that appears, you’ll see a handful of certificates.
Click the Add ID button, and in the resulting window enable the A New Digital ID I Want To Create Now option and click the Next button. In the Add Digital ID window, enter your name and an email address. The Key Algorithm pop-up menu offers two options—’1024-bit RSA’ and ‘2048-bit RSA’. The latter is more secure but the former is more widely compatible. Choose one and click Next.
In the subsequent window, you’ll see the location of your signature file. Make a note of it should you wish to back it up. Then enter and confirm a password. When you’re done, click the Finish button. Your signature will appear at the bottom of the certificate list. Click the Close button and close the preferences window.
When you next need to sign a document that requires a certificate just double-click in the digital signature field, and the Sign Document dialog box will appear. Enter the password for your signature and follow the instructions to insert your signature.
For a variety of reasons—frugality, environmentalism, laziness—I try to avoid printing documents whenever possible. That can get tricky when someone needs my signature. For example, I recently joined Macworld as a full-time staffer and was immediately sent a massive 80-plus page PDF welcome packet. Buried within those 80-plus pages were eight forms that I had to fill out and return to HR. That meant pulling individual pages out of a single PDF, then digitally filling them in.
You probably know how to combine PDF pages in Preview; separating pages is just as easy. To start, make sure the sidebar is showing (Command-Shift-D if not) and that it’s displaying thumbnails of the pages in the document (if not, Command-Option-2). To pull a page out of the PDF, open it in Preview, click on the appropriate thumbnail in the sidebar, and drag it to your desktop. Preview will create a new file with just that page, giving it the same name as the original file with (dragged) as a suffix. If you Command-click to select multiple (even non-contiguous) pages from the sidebar and drag them all to the desktop, you’ll create a single new PDF containing all of those pages.
Once I’d extracted the forms from the surrounding document, there were several ways I could add my signature to them; for example, we’ve written before about how to insert a scanned signature into a PDF. I prefer another way: I create a custom font in which one of the characters is actually my signature.
To create that font, I like the $7 iFontMaker iPad app from developer Elji Nishidal: It lets me use the iPad’s touch screen to “write” letters in my handwriting, then combines those letters in a TTF font file. The trick I use to save my signature: Instead of drawing the caret character (^) in iFontMaker, I scrawl my John Hancock. Once I’ve installed my handwriting font on my Mac, I can type Shift-6 (the key combo for the caret) to insert that signature.
To do so in a PDF form, I use Smile’s PDFpen or the free alternative FormulatePro. Both apps let me add text to an existing PDF and place it properly. More importantly, they let me select that text’s font and font size. So I open the PDF form in PDFpen or FormulatePro, select my handwriting font, and type Shift-6: my signature is inserted. I then use the apps’ text-placement tools to place and size it correctly. While I’m at it, I fill in other fields in the forms by “hand.” Both apps let me save my completed PDF (still in PDF format), which I can then submit.