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Creating Icon Images with Aqua Effect

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

Creating 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, lightweight and simple icon editor such as IconLover 5 (aha-soft.com) is all you really need.

For an instance, 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 chosen 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 one of the Transparency presets, set your new icon’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 draw 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. Holding the 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 painted a circle!

In order for our flat circle to start looking like a crystal ball, we’ll need to add some special effects. There are many of them 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 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 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 multiple properties 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 dimension to your newly created icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks like a lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by throwing a drop-down shadow! To apply a shadow effect to your icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to defaults, or adjust the values 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 surface.

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 checked. This means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Changing 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.

That’s it! You’ve just drawn 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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