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Creating Icons with Aqua Effect

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

Designing a brand-new icon having the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. To draw an image 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 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 certain color. Select the color you want from the Color properties menu. By the way, you can always save 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 with one of the Transparency presets, set your new image’s transparency. For this tutorial, the ball will be fully opaque. In the same way, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll leave 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 create 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 masks, and of course, the renowned ‘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 managed quite easily altogether by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Keep all sliders at their current positions 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 settings. There are plenty of properties available to adjust, allowing you to design 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 new icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks more like a button rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by throwing 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 move the values 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 surface.

To add the ‘plus’ sign into the image, click on the Text tool icon in the left Tools menu or press "T" to get the text properties window. Make sure the "Image transparency" box is selected. 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 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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