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Creating Neat, Translucent Mac-like Icons

Posted on 2004-04-01
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
How to create translucent icons likese these in Photoshop 5.5 and Photoshop 6?

http://www.reho.ro/swxwork/icons/icons_mac.jpg

Pleae note : Specific design like the icons called DOMAINS, FILE MANAGER, LOG VIEWER, DNS

Give step by step process and I will check it. If it works, I am willing to part with 500 points :-)
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Question by:sylviawee
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shamstar earned 400 total points
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Its difficult to tell someone how to make icons of that quality, since the main things that are required are creativity and plenty of time spent perfecting them.  All we could really do is give you pointers to learning the skills, the rest is pretty much up to you.
Saying that, here are a few links to some tutorials that I think will allow you to learn the required techniques you will need to create the icons, the last one in particular is more specifically for icons, but they all demonstrate some of the Photoshop skills needed.
- http://www.proeffect.com/tutorials/tutorials.php?id=ps104
- http://www.purephotoshop.com/article/97
- http://www.project09.com/tutorials/Photoshop/alert-icon/

For most of your icons you might want to do pixel level editing, or use the techniques shown in the second tutorials of using real pictures to form the basis.  Once you’ve got that you can give it the icon makeover as shown in the last link above.
Just keep it mind that to get anything of a decent quality will take time and practice (or a bit of luck :p ).
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by:weed
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Are these icons for a Mac or for Windows? There will be a difference in how you create them.
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by:sylviawee
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The icons are for Windows. File format .gif not .ico
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by:huafi
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The image you linked to is no longer there, but I'll take a stab at this --

There's no such thing as real translucency in a GIF. There's pure on/off transparency only. The nice, subtle translucency you see in well-designed Mac OS X and Windows XP icons is because these modern OS's allow for 32-bit icons. In addition to the three 8-bit color channels for red, green, and blue, there's a fourth 8-bit color alpha channel for transparency.

To create real icons, try using IconFactory's excellent Photoshop plug-in, IconBuilder (http://www.iconfactory.com/iconbuilder.asp). It's an outstanding product which I've been using for years. Even if you're not going to end up with .ico files, the manual and tutorials available for IconBuilder have great tips on how to build good-looking icons in Photoshop.

Ultimately, I fuly agree with shamstar -- icons look good not only (and not even primarily) because of translucency or any other technical factor -- they look good because of the originality and skill of the artist who created them. Some of the Mac's original icons looked wonderful in 1-bit depth (black & white, no greys!), even at their reduced 16x16 size. A testament to the quality of the original Mac OS team.

Hope this helps --

Huafi
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by:sylviawee
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Thanks all and sorry for the late reply :-)
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