Creating and Coloring Icons from Images

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Introduction

IconDeveloper 2.0 from Stardock was recently released, so what a better time than now to start some walkthroughs about it. IconDeveloper doesn't get as much attention as other Object Desktop applications, but it's one of the best ones out there for icon creation and modification.

IconDeveloper is not an icon image "editor", what it does is allows users to create their icon with graphics applications such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, then import them into IconDeveloper where you can create the icon in various formats.

With IconDeveloper you can easily import a variety of image formats, change the color of icons, do batch conversions, and create new sizes of icons using scaling techniques.

Getting Started

IconDeveloper is part of the Object Desktop suite, where you can download it from Stardock Central. There is a free download available to anyone who wishes to give IconDeveloper a look through first. Starting IconDeveloper you will be presented with a screen that offers a couple of choices.

Icondeveloper01.jpg

Here you have the choice to:

  • Create a new icon. This allows you to create a new blank icon.
  • Open an existing icon. Here you can edit an icon or an icon library.
  • Convert image to icon. This is a quick way to turn an image into an icon.
  • Recolor an icon. You can recolors icons and icon packages here.

We will start by converting an image to an icon, as this is one of my favorite abilities. For my example I am going to take an icon I created a .PNG image in Photoshop for a friend's application. I just select the "Convert image to icon" button, and a dialog box prompts me to browse to the graphic of my choice. Just select the graphic, and IconDeveloper will give you an option to select the icon size and color depth.

Icondeveloper02.jpg

As you see in the screenshot above, you can first start off by naming your icon, and selected if it's Vista ready or "other" sizes that are available. For our tutorial today, I'm going to select "Vista ready" only and that will select the 256x256, 96x96, 48x48px, 32x32, and 16x16 sizes. You will also notice that each icon will have a preview of that selected size.

Clicking the Alpha Channel button in the lower left corner will bring you a dialog that will allow you to choose a transparent color. Since I used a .PNG with the transparency already set, I'm going to leave it as default.

Choosing OK will then let IconDeveloper import the image and create the icon formats that were selected. Once that is done, your icon will be previewed along with all the other sizes shown in the left side menu.

Recolor the icon

Selecting the Coloring tab brings you to the window where you have the option to recolor your icon. If you want to just alter the color slightly, or make your icon a completely new color, IconDeveloper can do that for you without having to open an image editor program.

Icondeveloper04.jpg

First, take the dropper and select the color you wish to change. For me, I'm going to select the blue color which is the main color of my image. If you are feeling adventurous you can select the RGB value by itself. The selected color should show up, and we can move on to the next step.

The next step is choosing the range of colors to change, and this can be adjusted by moving the slider to the desired position. I'm going to move it to about the halfway mark for now. The last step is to actually recolor the icon by taking the Hue slider and moving it to the desired position which will change the color. I gave mine a lighter, and once I'm satisfied with the results, hit Apply and the icons will be recolored.

Saving and Exporting

If you are satisfied with the way your icon looks, you can either export as an image file such as .PNG, or save it as an icon file (.ico). Also remember that you don't have to use the recoloring feature, you can simply import your graphic and export it as an icon file.