Painting Images with Aqua Effect

Creating a fresh new image featuring the renowned “aqua” effect is easier than you think – if you have proper tools. To create an image from scratch, a professional, lightweight and simple icon editor such as IconLover 5 (aha-soft.com) is all you really need.

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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 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.

With the Transparency bar or by using one of the Transparency presets, define your new image’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball has to 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 button in the Tools menu, which is on the left of the drawing area. With 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!

In order for our flat circle to start looking like a crystal ball, we’ll need to add 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 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 by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. 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 add an artist’s touch and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a look at the properties. There are multiple settings available to tweak, 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 dimension to your newly created icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks more 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 use the defaults, or tweak 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 add 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. 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 inserted 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 clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Easy!

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