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Creating Images with Aqua Effect

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

Designing a brand-new icon featuring 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 to represent "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign inside. To start, you’ll need to draw a circle of a chosen color. Select 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 very handy if you need to draw a matching set of icons.

Using 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. In the same way, you can specify background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep 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 the left mouse button down, move the mouse within the drawing area to draw 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 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 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 altogether 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 have some fun and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a look at the properties. There are plenty of values 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 lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by adding a drop-down shadow! To apply a shadow effect to the icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to 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 embed 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 ticked. 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 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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