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Creating Images with Aqua Effect

Color Menu Creating a brand-new icon featuring the famous 'aqua' effect is easier than you think - if you use proper tools. To draw an icon from scratch, a professional, small and easy icon editor such as IconLover 5 is all you really need.

For an instance, 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 from the Color properties menu. Just so you know, you can always memorize a color by adding it to Custom Colors; this comes really handy if you need to draw a matching set of icons.

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

To draw a circle of selected color, select a Filled ellipse tool by clicking a 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 cursor within the drawing area to create an ellipse. The ellipse changes its size as you move the mouse. To create a perfectly round circle, hold Shift while drawing. That's it, you have just drawn a circle!

Elipse Tool


In order for our flat circle to start looking like a crystal ball, we'll need to add some special effects. There are tons of those built into IconLover! You can add shadows, gradients, transparency masks, and of course, the famous 'glass reflection' look employed by the aqua effect.

To draw an icon matching Apple's Aqua style, you'll need to add a reflection and a shadow to the circle. This can be done quite easily altogether by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Just keep all sliders and values 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 look at the settings. There are plenty of properties available to tweak, allowing you to create something never seen before. Go ahead and tweak the sliders to see how your icon can look!

Aqua Effect


As a final touch, let's add some volume 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 our icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to defaults, or tweak the settings around by getting a flat button, a lens, or a ball. It all depends on the size of the shadow, its distance from the subject, and the angle at which it falls to the surface.

Drop Shadow Effect


To add the 'plus' sign into the image, 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 checked. This 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.

Text Tool


Voila! You've just created a crystal ball that matches the famous Aqua style! All you needed was a professional icon editor, IconLover 5, a few mouse clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Easy!
The Icon Is Ready!

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