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Creating Icon Images with Aqua Effect

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

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

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

With the Transparency bar or one of the Transparency presets, define your new icon’s transparency. For this tutorial, the ball will be fully opaque. In the same way, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep 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. With your left mouse button down, move the mouse cursor within the drawing area to draw an ellipse. The ellipse changes its size and shape 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 tons of them 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. 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 settings available to adjust, allowing you to create 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 dimension 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 add a shadow effect to your icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to defaults, or adjust 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 add 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 ticked. This means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Tweaking 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 inserted into the ball.

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!

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