Adobe Media Encoder 7.1: Add Watermark

Posted on by Larry

One of the nice new features in Adobe Media Encoder 7.1 (AME) is the ability to add a still image as a watermark to a video during compression. While you can add watermarks during the editing process, doing so during compression saves time and saves tracks. It also means you can add watermarks to videos that weren’t first created in Premiere.

For me, the lack of watermarks was a big drawback to using Media Encoder. However, in working with this feature, I discovered its implemented differently than the same feature in Apple Compressor which I want to share with you here.

NOTE: AME does not supporting adding video as a watermark.


Watermarks can be created in any software that creates still image files with layers. But, since we are working with Adobe Media Encoder, the chances are that we also have Photoshop on the same system, so I’ll work with that.

For this example, I’ll compress a 1920 x 1080 source file into 1280 x 720 for the web.

This is the shape we’ll use in our example – Mr. Blob. (It’s one of my favorite Photoshop shapes.) There are several things to notice here:

  1. The watermark is in the center of the image.
  2. The watermark is the size I want to display in the compressed video, or larger. It is easy to scale the image smaller during compression without hurting quality. Scaling larger can look bad.
  3. The image is in color; watermarks don’t need to only use black and white.

Notice that the watermark is on a layer other than the background layer and that the background layer is turned off. This creates an “alpha channel,” meaning “transparency,” in the image which AME can use to separate the watermark from the background.

Notice, also, that the image that contains the watermark is sized to match the size of the compressed image. While we can scale the watermark in Media Encoder, I find I get the best results by creating an image file that is the same image size as the compressed video frame.

When you are done, save the Watermark as a Photoshop file and be sure to save the layers.


Time now to open AME and import a file into which we will add the watermark. Here, I’ve imported a file and applied a preset to it.

NOTE: While we can’t modify any of the System Presets, we can copy them and add a watermark to the copied preset. Right-click any preset (System or Custom) and select Preset Settings, then follow the instructions for the Effects window below.

Once a preset is applied to a clip in the Queue, double-click the name of the preset to open the Export Settings window. Watermarks are controlled from the Effects menu. Click the checkbox to enable Image Overlay; which is AME’s name for watermarks.

In the Applied menu, select the name of the watermark you want to add. The Position menu allows you to choose where, in the frame, you want to position the watermark.

This is where the watermark is placed with Position set to Center.

This is where the watermark is placed with Position set to Bottom Right.

Adjust the Offset amounts to shift the image horizontally (X) or vertically (Y)

Adjust the Size if the watermark is too big. Adjust Opacity to make the watermark translucent. (Personally, I tend to set my watermarks set to 60%.)

When those settings are to your satisfaction, go ahead and compress.

Ta-AH! Done.


When Absolute Sizing is checked, the size of the watermark varies with the size of the background image. While this isn’t bad, I prefer to create my watermarks to match the image size of my compressed video file and leave Absolute Sizing unchecked.

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