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Making Icons with Aqua Effect

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

Drawing a brand-new image featuring the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. To create an icon 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 make an aqua-style icon to represent "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign in it. To start, you’ll need to draw a circle of a certain color. Select the color from the Color properties menu. Just so you know, you can always save 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, define your new icon’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball will be fully opaque. In the same way, you can specify background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep the background transparent for now.

To draw a circle of your chosen 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 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!

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

To make an icon matching Apple’s Aqua style, you’ll need to draw 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 add an artist’s touch and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a carefull look at the properties. There are plenty of properties available to tweak, allowing you to design 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 like a lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by throwing a drop-down shadow! To apply a shadow effect to your 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 ground.

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 means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Changing 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 inserted 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 mouse clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Easy!

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