Time to blow your minds. This is an article about watermarking – for the better. No, this article is not a joke.
I’ll give it to you plain and clear: watermarking sucks. That’s why it’s awesome. It sucks to the pont where it will engage (and enrage) Every. Single. Reader. It will get your group plenty of hate.
On the other hand, the aggregators won’t care even a bit, because aggregators aren’t people. And that’s where everything went wrong in the history of scanlation watermarking.
People feel betrayed at seeing those huge “WE ARE WHAT THE FUTT SCANS” watermarks on their imouto/onii-chan’s sweaty, sparkly bodies. You don’t do that to the shounenfags, and you don’t do that to the fujoshis. It’s outright cruel. You’re ruining the PLOT of the manga (lol).
But… yeah, sometimes it’s necessary, because we want the support of the readers while spreading our message. Yet you scanlators haven’t used watermarks correctly up till now. The only ones who used watermarks properly were the hated corporations: the aggregators!
How do we make watermarks useful? Some basic user interface psychology will help us.
The solution: faces.
Faces? Whose faces? Your fans’ faces. Not your face because nobody cares about you, as you are a scanlator. Asking you to use your own face is detrimental to the plan (unless you’re a pretty little lady, but that’s even worse – think of the scandal). It’s like asking the chef if the food is good. Is the food good? Sure it’s good, damn it, who the hell do you think I am? I am Italian. I can cook by default.
I’m sure you have Facebook, Twitter, or at the very least a blog for your scanlation team. Ask your fans to give you pictures of their faces, a portrait, maybe even with funny hats and masks. Just ask them to show at least their eyes and mouth because those are important. Funny faces are very cool.
Once you get at least ten faces, cut them out of the picture – do it properly, but don’t waste over 9000 hours in MSPaint. Remove the body because that’s less fun to show. In this case, faces are enough.
Then, apply it as a watermark. I asked a fan to let me use his best funny face earlier, so here’s an example:
The big difference
You’d think, “Well, that’s just a normal watermark.” LOLNO.
Think about it:
- He is your fan
- He agrees with your ideals
- He is a good example of your typical fan
- He makes other fans think before saying bad things about you
- He makes your fans understand that they are not alone
- He makes your fans feel like they can put their faces on the line (rather literally)
- He makes your fans understand that there are people behind scanlators
- He makes your fans understand that they can back up scanlators
- He makes your fans take a position
- He makes your fans lol trolls
- He makes your fans accept it
- He makes your fans hate what you hate
- He makes your fans give you more faces
The last point is the least important, but new faces for your private face collection are always good.
Anyway, the point of all of this: faces are human. When you use a face on a webpage, you instantly engage the user. Scanlators are very lucky, because we can get faces that are actually from our fans and not model images of a earphone-wearing secretary (that you can buy for lots of money). It’s quite honestly the closest your scans can get to the heart of your readers.
As I pointed out, you just need the eyes and mouth. Those are the first things one notices in a page, any page. In your books, your webpages, your scans. The eyes and mouth are always noticed first (manga-style eyes don’t work for this).
Because it’s very visible, you can keep it out of the drawn area. That way you’re not destroying the original image’s quality while still delivering the message as powerfully as possible. Don’t bother putting the watermark over the drawings: nobody ever goes through chapters removing the watermarks unless they are really hard to remove. It might sound odd, but the harder they are to remove, the more bored readers will be willing to remove them.
So there you go, your new watermarks with 8000% more thought put into it. Almost no rage will be directed towards you, and you’ll have hordes of users raging against the evil corporations. That’s how professionals do it. I think.
Please, in the future, either use faces or don’t waste your time watermarking at all.