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Making Icon Images with Aqua Effect

Drawing a brand-new icon having the famous "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 easy icon editor.

Drawing a brand-new icon having the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. To draw an icon from scratch, a professional, small and easy 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 in it. To start, you’ll need to draw a circle of a certain color. Select 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 very handy if you need to draw a matching set of images.

With 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 leave the background transparent for now.

To make 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 the 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 a perfectly round circle, hold Shift while drawing. That’s it, you have just created a circle!

To add volume and dimension to the flat circle, 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 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 by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Keep all sliders 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 look at the properties. There are multiple settings available to tweak, allowing you to create 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 button rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by throwing 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 move the settings around by getting 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 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 box means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Adjusting 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.

Voila! You’ve just designed a crystal ball that matches 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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