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Painting Pictures with Aqua Effect

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

Designing a brand-new image featuring the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you use 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. To start, you’ll need to draw a circle of a certain color. Select the color 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 icons.

With the Transparency bar or by using one of the Transparency presets, set your new image’s transparency. For this tutorial, the ball will be fully opaque. Similarly, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep the background transparent for now.

To make a circle of your chosen 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. With your left mouse button down, move the mouse cursor within the drawing area to draw 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!

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 those built into IconLover! You can add shadows, gradients, transparency masks, and of course, the renowned ‘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 done quite easily altogether by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Just keep all sliders and values 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 settings. There are multiple properties available to tweak, allowing you to draw 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 dimension 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 adding 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 move the values around by getting 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 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 checked. This box means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Tweaking 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 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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