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Making Pictures with Aqua Effect

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

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

For example, let us make an aqua-style icon for "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign in it. First, you’ll need to draw a circle of a chosen color. Pick the color you want from the Color properties menu. By the way, 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 images.

Using the Transparency bar or by using one of the Transparency presets, define your new image’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 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 within the drawing area to create an ellipse. The ellipse changes its size as you move the mouse. To create an ideal 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 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 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. Keep all sliders 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 properties. There are multiple values available to adjust, allowing you to draw something never seen before. Go ahead and tweak 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 button rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by throwing a drop-down shadow! To add a shadow effect to your icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can use the defaults, or adjust the values around to get 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 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. 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.

That’s it! You’ve just drawn 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 few minutes of your time. Easy!

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