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Creating a Custom Signature

David Summers (dm1dave)

Keywords: signature, copyright, watermark, photoshop, dm1dave

We have all seen them, cool hand written signatures on photos posted right here on Nikonians.  And the question comes up frequently in the forums: How to make a custom signature.


These signatures are easy to make.

To get started you will need:

  1. A Black felt tip pen with a medium tip
  2. White paper
  3. A scanner
  4. A computer with imaging or graphic software installed (we will use Photoshop for this tutorial)

Start off by practicing your signature on a clean sheet of paper. You may want to try different pens to evaluate the effect of the ink flow and tip shape on look of the signature. Using a good black ink pen will make it easier to create the transparent background. You can change the color of the signature later.

I recommend making your signature a bit larger than usual. You can resize it when you add the signature to your images. 



Scan your signature at 300ppi. If you don’t have a scanner you could use your camera to photograph the signature. Just be sure that the light is even across the paper and your exposure is bright enough to ensure that the paper is white.

Open the scanned image in Photoshop.

Tip: If you want any other text, such as your web address or business name, use the text tool to enter it now. Choose your font, font size, and position the text. Then, in the main menu go to Layer > Flatten Image.

In the Layers Panel, right click on the background layer and choose Layer From Background…


Click OK in the dialog box…


Now, Select the Magic Wand Tool


Click on the white part of the image to select the background.


Hold the Shift key and click on any white parts that are inside letters. Double check to be sure that you have selected all the white areas.


Select the Eraser Tool and erase the white background. This will create a light checkerboard that indicates a transparent background.


When the entire background has been erased, you can export the image as a PNG file.
(We will go over export steps at the end)

Don’t deselect your signature yet!

I recommend making both a black and a white version of your signature, you can choose the one that stands out best against the background of your image. Of course, you can make your signature any color you choose.

Now that you have saved a black version….

You need to inverse your selection so that the letters are selected rather than the background. In the top menu choose Select > Inverse.


First we will make the white signature. Go to your Color Picker, click on the foreground color and choose either pure white or a very light gray. I prefer to use very light gray rather than pure white.


Now choose your paint brush and paint the letters.


Again, export the image as a PNG file. Now you have your white version of your signature.

Do not deselect the text if you want to create any other colors. If you do, use the color picker to choose your new color and brush that color over the text.


Exporting your file…

Go to File > Export > Export As



In the dialog box under File Settings > Format choose PNG.

Finish by choosing Export All

Here are all three, Black, White & Red signatures placed over an image. Obviously, these are larger than you would like to have on an image but you can resize the signature when you place it on your images.



(19 Votes )

Originally written on January 4, 2017

Last updated on February 22, 2017


Preston Moochnek RPh. (massulo) on November 30, 2017

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning a Nikonians Annual Photo Contest Ribbon awarded for his win in the 2018 Best of Nikonians Images Annual Photo Contest

Thanks for the article

Gary Worrall (glxman) on November 23, 2017

Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography

I must have missed this one Dave, Thank you, Regards, Gary

Chris Stubbings (Paconimbus) on June 26, 2017

David is it possible to do this in Lightroom