Most technical questions about digital watermarking with Digimarc® for Images can be answered in our tutorials or in our comprehensive Digimarc for Images Best Practices Guide. Otherwise, read on for general questions and answers. If you still haven't found the information you're looking for, please contact us.

These FAQs were updated January 19, 2013.


Account Management and Web Lookup

The Digimarc plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements


Image Tracking with Digimarc Search Service

Product and Technical Information

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What is Digimarc for Images and how can it help me?

Digimarc for Images enables digital photographers and web designers to communicate image copyrights and receive credit for their work through the power of Digimarc digital watermarking.

  • You'll be instantly recognized for your work when your images are viewed through Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  • You'll receive credit through linking, which enables digitally watermarked images to display key information such as your name, address, phone number, e-mail, or website address.

How do I buy Digimarc for Images and how much does it cost?

Digimarc for Images is offered as an annual subscription. You can sign up for different subscription levels depending on your specific needs. To read detailed information about different product levels, click here.

Do you offer a discount to non-profit organizations?

No, Digimarc for Images is not offered at a discounted rate for non-profit organizations. However, we feel that our product pricing tier offers a solution for any budget.

Where does Digimarc for Images fit into the creative workflow process?

Applying digital watermarks should be one of the last steps applied to an image, just before compression. Digimarc recommends the following workflow for adding a digital watermark to images:

  1. Make all necessary modifications to an image until it has the desired final appearance
  2. Embed the digital watermark
  3. Save the new image
  4. Close and re-open the image prior to verifying the watermark strength
  5. Publish the image

Can I track my images to see if they are being used without my permission?

Yes. Digimarc Search Service is a tracking and monitoring service that searches the Internet for Digimarc digital watermarks and produces reports that list where your images are found. This service is available for the Professional, Small Business and Enterprise Editions of Digimarc for Images.

Can I upgrade my account after I sign up?

Yes. Sign in to your account and choose Renew/Upgrade from the Your Account tab. You will be able to self-renew online.

How much will it cost to upgrade my account?

If upgrading within the first eleven months of your active subscription, the cost is the upgraded service level price minus the pro-rated amount of the remaining months under your original subscription. Otherwise, the cost of an upgrade is the same as a full subscription at the new level.

  • Example
    • You upgrade to Small Business level ($499) with six months remaining on your Professional account ($99)
    • Your upgrade price would be $449.50
    • Original subscription price of $99, divided by 12 months = $8.25/month
    • 6 months multiplied by $6.58 = $49.50 subtracted from full price of upgrade

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Account Management and Web Lookup

How do I view reports?

Reports are available if you subscribe to the Professional, Small Business, or Enterprise Editions. To view your reports, sign in to your account.

What is Web Lookup?

Web Lookup gives you the ability to assign key contact information to your unique Digimarc ID. By assigning this information, you can communicate selected information to anyone who views your images through a Digimarc-enabled application. Sign in to specify what information is associated with your digital watermarks. For a video tutorial on this topic, click here.

How does a digital watermark communicate my information?

Your digitally watermarked images can be used to communicate your copyright and contact information, as well as automatically link a person to your specified website.

The best option for reading a Digimarc digital watermark is via Adobe Photoshop. A user who selects "Read Watermark" from the Digimarc plug-in menu (Filter > Digimarc > Read Watermark...), is presented with the image's copyright information. Also, if the "Web Lookup" button is pressed, a web browser will open to your website. If there is no entry for a URL (see below), the user will instead be redirected to a Digimarc page that displays your selected contact information.

Why can't I embed digital watermarks with your plug-in?

Our free plug-in allows anyone to read Digimarc watermarks via a compatible version of Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. However, a subscription to Digimarc for Images is required to embed a custom digital watermark.

I have lost my PIN/ID/Password. How do I retrieve this information?

If you lost your Digimarc login password or PIN, please click here to use the automated password and PIN retrieval service. If you do not remember your Digimarc ID or are unable to sign in after reviewing your credentials email, please contact a support representative.

I signed up for Digimarc for Images, but can another person watermark images for me?

Those you share your Digimarc ID and PIN with can digitally watermark images from any computer.

What is the refund policy?

Subscription purchases can be refunded within 14 days from date of order upon written notification to Digimarc.

  • We offer a 100% refund through 14 days after initial purchase
  • Immediately upon refund request, customer agrees to permanently cease all use of his or her Digimarc ID
  • Refunds on purchases made with a credit card will be posted to the original credit card used at the time of sale only

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The Digimarc plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

What versions of Photoshop is the latest plug-in compatible with?

The new plug-in is compatible with recent versions of Adobe's image-editing software. Due to the many configurations of operating systems and software packages, we encourage you to use our online tool to see if you have the most current plug-in available.

What languages are supported?

22 languages are supported with the latest Digimarc for Images plug-in:

  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Chinese - Simplified
  • Chinese - Traditional
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian

To use Digimarc for Images, do I need to upgrade to Adobe Photoshop CS4 or Photoshop Elements 6 through 9?

No. You can still use older versions of Photoshop and our prior plug-in releases. With each new release of Photoshop, it is important to us that our service continues to provide value to customers using the latest version, as well as to customers using prior versions.

What is the difference between Chroma and Classic digital watermarking available with the new plug-in?

"Chroma" is the new Digimarc digital watermarking technology standard. It significantly improves upon our prior technology ("Classic") in most applications. This is the default digital watermarking process with the latest plug-in; however, you can toggle between Chroma and Classic. To learn more about this new technology, please watch this informative video.

How do I switch back and forth between Chroma and Classic mode?

When using the Digimarc for Images plug-in from within the Photoshop filters menu, press CTRL-Alt-E on the PC, or COMMAND-Option-E on the Mac. You will see the banner and text at the top of the dialog box change accordingly.

In what circumstance would I use Classic mode instead of Chroma?

There are some instances where a user may want to use the Classic watermark rather than the new Chroma watermark, namely when working with small images. Classic digital watermark embedding is recommended for images with dimensions less than 256 x 256 pixels.

How do I re-enter my PIN/ID when updating from older to newer Digimarc plug-ins?

Older versions of the Digimarc plug-ins ("PictureMarc," "ImageBridge," "MyPictureMarc," etc...) cached your Digimarc ID within the Photoshop plug-ins directory. Newer versions of Windows and Macintosh OSX require Digimarc to move the cached location of the Digimarc ID to the registry or preferences. Meaning, when you install the new DFI plug-in, you will have to re-enter your Digimarc ID and PIN the first time you run the "Embed Watermark" filter. This will write your Digimarc ID and PIN to the registry or preferences and you will not need to enter it again.

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What is the embedding plug-in?

The embedding plug-in is packaged with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements software applications. This is the same plug-in that allows people to read Digimarc digital watermarks within Photoshop. Once you have subscribed to Digimarc for Images and keyed in your Digimarc ID and pin, you can use the embedding function of the plug-in. For information on the process of embedding, please visit our tutorials.

How do I embed a visual watermark?

Your subscription to Digimarc for Images, and the value we deliver, is for embedding imperceptible digital watermarks into your images. Our partner, Adobe, already has the capability to embed visual watermarks in Photoshop via transparent layers. Based on research and talking with customers, we believe Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements provide a very good, flexible option to apply visual watermarks. Please see your user manual for further support and information on this task or click here for a visual watermarking tutorial using your existing software.

Can I embed a watermark into an image using 16- or 32-bit color channels?

To enable digital watermarking, the image the watermark is being applied to has to be in 8-bit mode, i.e. having 8 bits per channel, color or grayscale. Though Adobe Photoshop can edit images with 8, 16 and 32 bits per channel the plug-in supports only the 8-bit per channel mode. Images with 16 and 32 bits per channel offer a larger color depth for high-end color reproduction, while the final web and print image formats only recognize 8-bit mode images. Once an image is ready or has been saved as one of these final formats, you are ready to apply the watermark.

In Windows Vista, why am I repeatedly required to re-enter my User PIN/ID or asked if I would like to check for a new update?

Your system's UAC (User Account Control) may block the Digimarc user data from being written. If you would like to change Photoshop to always run as an elevated program, please right-click Photoshop.exe under "Program Files," click Properties and then select the Compatibility tab. Under Privilege Level, select "Run this program as an administrator" and then click OK. This will allow the plug-in's preference file to be written into the Photoshop directory. This preference file holds your PIN/ID and the last date it checked for an update.

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Image Tracking with Digimarc Search Service

What is the Digimarc Search Service?

Digimarc Search Service constantly crawls the web locating tens of thousands of digitally watermarked photos and images each month. The crawler looks for digitally watermarked images and creates a report that shows you where your digitally watermarked images are being used on other people's websites. Reporting is available for the Professional, Small Business, and Enterprise Editions.

Digimarc Search Service is optimized for sites that the image user owns and operates, where the highest quality images reside and the potential for fraud or commercial benefit is greatest. Please note that password-protected sites, web pages behind firewalls, Flash-based galleries or database-driven websites are not open for any spider to crawl, including Digimarc's. This includes popular photo-sharing portals such as Picasa, Flickr, SmugMug, etc. along with social networking sites such as Facebook.

To learn more about Digimarc Search Service, please click here for detailed information.

How long will it take to find my digitally watermarked images online?

There are many factors that determine the successful discovery of an image - including how deeply an image is buried within a particular website and the number of sites where the image is posted. The more images you digitally watermark that make their way onto the web, the more likely Digimarc Search Service will find them. If you have only three images online, they won't be as easy to find. Likewise, if you upload your images to a website and nobody reposts them, your chances of being immediately found are minimal. Depending on these factors, it could take one to six months to isolate a website and determine where a particular image is used therein.

As a general rule of thumb, websites with higher traffic get indexed first. Small Business and Enterprise customers can employ the Directed Search option, where specific sites are directly targeted. This is especially useful if your images regularly appear on pages that receive less traffic or you want to monitor potentially offending websites. All URLs in your Directed Search list are crawled every month.

What are the tracking reports?

Digimarc Search Service tracking reports provide a listing of all instances of a watermarked image found as the crawler searches the Internet.

How can I view my reports?

To view your reports, you must sign in to your qualifying account, then click the Reporting tab.

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Product and Technical Information

What is a Digimarc ID?

A Digimarc ID is a unique identification code assigned to current subscribers. It is used to digitally identify images through the watermark embedded in the image.

What is a digital watermark?

A digital watermark is data embedded into a digital image. Digimarc for Images embeds a unique Digimarc ID by adding information that is machine-readable by a digital watermark reader. Digimarc digital watermarks are generally imperceptible to the human eye. To learn more about digital watermarking, please click here.

Does watermarking work with all digital images?

Digital watermarks work best on pixel-based images that meet the recommended size requirements of a minimum 256 x 256 pixels. Digital watermarks are much less perceptible in natural images, such as photographs, than they are in graphic images, such as logos.

Should I embed a digital watermark into the original art or a copy?

Digimarc recommends that a digital watermark be embedded into a COPY of an image only, and not the original.

What is an image-editing application?

An image-editing application is the software that lets the user to manipulate and change digital images, such as Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

How do you read a Digimarc digital watermark?

The best option for reading a Digimarc digital watermark is via Adobe Photoshop (Filter > Digimarc > Read Watermark...).

Can a digital watermark be removed?

Digimarc does not provide tools or software to remove its digital watermarks. Removing a Digimarc digital watermark without discernibly altering the image quality is a difficult process. We always suggest that the image creator or owner retain an original copy of the unwatermarked image.

Does digital watermarking prevent printing of an image?

Digital watermarking does not prevent printing of an image.

Will a digital watermark be invisible onscreen but be visible when the image is printed?

No, digital watermarks created by Digimarc for Images do not function as visual watermark when printed.

Will Digimarc for Images prevent downloading of images?

Digital watermarking does not prevent the downloading of an image. Digimarc for Images will help locate the unauthorized use of the downloaded image, should it be posted back online.

How does digital watermarking work with graphic image file formats like GIF? Logos?

Digital watermarks are independent of file format. For more information about the types of images that are most compatible with digital watermarks, please read our Digimarc for Images Best Practices Guide. Also, we have a video tutorial available on this subject.

Can a Digimarc digital watermark be seen?

At high magnification, a digital watermark appears as a slight change in the image's grain or texture.

What is a Transaction ID?

A Transaction ID is a customer-selected number that can be included within the data of a watermark at the time of embedding. This ID can link back to MetaCore data within a company's asset management system. The transaction ID can be dynamically created and can be unique to a specific image.

How much data does a digital watermark hold?

Digital watermarks carry several pieces of relevant data, including Creator ID and Transaction/Image ID or copyright year, as well as optional flags for Restricted Use, Do Not Copy and Adult Content.

What is the "Restricted Use" flag?

The "Restricted Use" flag is information stored in the digital watermark. It does not actually restrict use — it only communicates that use is not public domain. It is used as a warning to those who read a digital watermark of an image that this image is owned and should not be copied or used without permission.

What is the "Adult Content" flag?

The "Adult Content" flag is information stored in the digital watermark that is a service Digimarc provides to adult content distributors to use as a self-policing function.

What is the "Do Not Copy" flag?

The "Do Not Copy" flag is information stored in the digital watermark, which does not restrict use — it communicates that use is not public domain and should not be copied. It is used as a warning to those who read a watermark of an image that this image is owned and should not be used without permission.

What does the "©" in the title bar of an image mean?

If a digital watermark is present in an image, the application that opened the image displays a copyright symbol (©) in the title bar of the document window, providing an instant visual cue that it is a digitally watermarked image.

How fast is a watermark detected within Adobe Photoshop?

Automatic detection within Adobe Photoshop generally takes between 0.5 and 1.0 seconds regardless of image size.

It appears I can embed a digital watermark in Photoshop for free. Is this true?

Yes. The software in Photoshop is fully functional, but is loaded with a demonstration ID number that is not unique — the same number is shipped in all copies of Photoshop. You can use the demonstration ID to evaluate digital watermarking in an image, but it does not provide any level of service. When you purchase a subscription, you are assigned a Digimarc ID which is unique to you and can be used for copyright communication of your digitally watermarked images.

Does Digimarc for Images offer an online backup solution?

As of January 15, 2010, we discontinued the optional back-up storage feature for all Digimarc for Images accounts. When Digimarc began to provide this option several years back, there were few services that offered the storage and protection we wanted to provide our customers. Today, there are many comprehensive free and commercial services available for online data backup for PC users. These services make it easy to back up key photos, restore lost on-location files and securely share your work online.

For a current list of free storage services simply search the Internet for "free online storage." We've included a list below; however, we highly recommend you do your own research to ensure you find a service which best suits your individual needs. Please note: the lists below are intended to help you start your search and are not to be construed as a product/service endorsement by Digimarc.

Commercial online back-up services

Free photo storage online services