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Creating Images with Aqua Effect

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

Creating a brand-new image featuring the renowned "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. To draw an image from scratch, a professional, small 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 for "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign inside. First, you’ll need to draw a circle of a chosen color. Select 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 very handy if you need to draw a matching set of images.

Using the Transparency bar or one of the Transparency presets, define your new icon’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball has to be fully opaque. In the same way, you can specify background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll leave 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 the 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 created a circle!

In order for our flat circle to start looking like a crystal ball, we’ll need to apply some special effects. There are many of them 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 done quite easily by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. 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 settings. There are multiple settings 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 new icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks like a lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by adding 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 values around to get 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.

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 box 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 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 mouse clicks and a few minutes of your time. Easy!

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