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File formats: BMP, GIF, PNG, ICO

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Painting Pictures with Aqua Effect

Designing a fresh new image having the renowned "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you use proper tools. You can design an image from scratch by only using a free, small and easy icon editor.

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

For an instance, let us draw an aqua-style icon to represent "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign inside. To start, 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 save 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 by using one of the Transparency presets, set your new icon’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball will be fully opaque. Similarly, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep the background transparent for now.

To draw a circle of selected color, select the Filled Ellipse tool by clicking the Filled Ellipse button 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!

In order for our flat circle to start looking like a crystal ball, we’ll need to add some special effects. There are many 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 draw a reflection and a shadow to the circle. This can be managed quite easily by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Keep all sliders and values at their current positions 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 values 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 volume to your newly created icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks more like a lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by adding a drop-down shadow! To add a shadow effect to the icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can use the defaults, or tweak the values around to get a flat button, a lens, or a ball. The look depends on the size of the shadow, its distance from the subject, and the angle at which it falls to the surface.

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

Voila! You’ve just created a crystal ball that appears to be in the famous Aqua style! All you needed was a professional icon editor, IconLover 5, a few clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Easy!

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Business Icon Set Business Icon Set. A collection of all-purpose icons with various symbols for the business environment for use with your software or on your website.

Classic Hardware Icon Set Hardware Icon Set is a library of hardware related images, available in GIF, PNG, ICO and BMP formats and 16x16, 24x24 and 32x32 sizes. The pack features both 32-bit and 256-color icons.

Database Icon Set Database Icon Set delivers you a variety of bright and colorful icons for database software development. The images are provided in all the typical icon sizes and file formats include PNG, BMP, ICO and GIF.

Music Icon Library Music Icon Library will illustrate all the musical instruments and actions. Available sizes are 16x16, 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48, the file formats are GIF, BMP, PNG and ICO.

Network Icon Library for Vista Vista Network Icon Library is a pack of network-related icons. All the icons are delivered in two versions, with and without shadow, a number of sizes and formats is provided.