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Creating Icons with Aqua Effect

Drawing a brand-new image having the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. You can make an image from scratch by only using a free, small and lightweight icon editor.

Creating a fresh new icon featuring the familiar "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you use proper tools. To create an icon from scratch, a professional, small and simple icon editor such as IconLover 5 (aha-soft.com) is all you really need.

For example, let us draw an aqua-style icon for "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign inside. First, you’ll need to draw a circle of a certain color. Pick the color you want from the Color properties menu. Just so you know, you can always memorize a color by adding it to Custom Colors; this comes very handy if you need to draw a matching set of icons.

Using the Transparency bar or with one of the Transparency presets, set your new icon’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball has to be fully opaque. Similarly, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep the background transparent for now.

To make a circle of selected color, select the Filled Ellipse tool by clicking the Filled Ellipse icon in the Tools menu, which is on the left of the drawing area. Holding your left mouse button down, move the mouse within the drawing area to create an ellipse. The ellipse changes its size and shape as you move the mouse. To create an ideal circle, hold Shift while drawing. That’s it, you have just created a circle!

To add volume and dimension to the flat circle, we’ll need to add some special effects. There are many of those built into IconLover! You can add shadows, gradients, transparency channels, and of course, the renowned ‘glass reflection’ look employed by the aqua effect.

To make an icon matching Apple’s Aqua style, you’ll need to add a reflection and a shadow to the circle. This can be managed quite easily by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Just keep all sliders at their defaults for now, and you’ll get a beautiful shiny sphere as a result.

Now let’s have some fun and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a carefull look at the settings. There are plenty of properties available to adjust, allowing you to draw something never seen before. Go ahead and move the sliders to see how your icon can look!

As a final touch, let’s add some dimension to your newly created icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks like a button rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by adding a drop-down shadow! To apply a shadow effect to the icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to defaults, or adjust the settings around by getting a flat button, a lens, or a ball. The effect depends on the size of the shadow, its distance from the subject, and the angle at which it falls to the ground.

To embed the ‘plus’ sign into the icon, click on the Text tool icon in the left Tools menu or press "T" to open the text properties window. Make sure the "Image transparency" box is ticked. This box means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Tweaking the "Use semi-transparency" setting assigns your text the same level of transparency your primary color has. Type "+", and you’ll get the ‘plus’ sign embedded into the ball.

That’s it! You’ve just drawn a crystal ball that matches the famous Aqua style! All you needed was a professional icon editor, IconLover 5, a few clicks and a few minutes of your time. Easy!



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Basic Icons for Vista Basic Icons for Vista is a set of sleek and professionally finished icons crafted in the similar style as the original Vista icons. The images come in two versions: with or without shadows.

Network Icon Library for Vista Vista Network Icon Library is a set of network-related images. All the graphics are delivered in two variants, with and without shadow, a number of sizes and formats is provided.

Large Weather Icons Large Weather Icons depict different weather conditions that are common for software, weather Web sites, and mobile gadgets. The images come in all sizes standard to Windows, Mac OS, and mobile platforms. The biggest versions are huge 512x512 pixel images with vector sources in Adobe Illustrator (.ai) format easily affordable and ready to be printed or used in presentations in highest quality.

Desktop Device Icons Desktop Device Icons are good for personal desktop customization, for software icons, or menu icons. This set has it all, from 256x256 Vista style images to 16x16 toolbar icons.

Small Computer Icons Small Computer Icons collection is a perfect way to customize your operating system or website. All the icons are available in a variety of color schemes, sizes, states and file formats.