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Creating Images with Aqua Effect

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

Creating a brand-new image having the familiar "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you use proper tools. To draw 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 make an aqua-style icon for "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign inside. 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 memorize a color by adding it to Custom Colors; this comes really 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 transparency. 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 draw 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. Holding 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 tons of those built into IconLover! You can add shadows, gradients, transparency channels, 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 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 have some fun and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a look at the settings. 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 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 adding a drop-down shadow! To apply 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. 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 embed the ‘plus’ sign into the icon, 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 selected. This 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 embedded into the ball.

That’s it! 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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Basic Icons for Vista Basic Icons for Vista is a collection of smooth and professionally finished icons created in the same style as the original Vista icons. The icons come in two variants: with or without shadows.

Network Icon Library for Vista Vista Network Icon Library is a collection of network-related images. All the graphics are provided in two versions, with and without shadow, a variety of sizes and formats is provided.

Military Icon Set Variety of military-style icons from our Military Icon Set will make all your applications appear more current and attractive. The images are provided in PNG, GIF, BMP and ICO file formats.

Database Icon Set Database Icon Set brings you a variety of bright and colorful icons for database application development. The images are provided in all the typical icon sizes and file formats include BMP, ICO, GIF and PNG.

Large Icons for Vista Large Icons for Vista is a collection of smooth and polished icons created in similar manner as the standard Vista icons. The icons come in two variants: with or without shadows.