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IconBuilder 8

The IconFactory lets you take a closer look at art By Ko Maruyama
Way-y-y-y back in the day, people used ResEdit to create and edit their desktop icons.   For several years now, you could use Photoshop to create icons by using The IconFactory's IconBuilder plugin.  For almost a decade, Corey Marion, Talos Tsui and Gedeon Maheux have been providing Mac users with creative icons.  Now, with IconBuilder 8, just about anyone can create simple or elaborate icons for their Mac or PC with a few easy clicks.

Okay - first of all, you should click over to the site - EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO INTERESTED IN MAKING ICONS.  Why?  Because IconFactory has awesome archives of all kinds of beautiful, original icons to download.  Want to use IconFactory icons?*  Don't worry you're in good company.  AladdinSys (Stuffit), Microsoft (Office-Mac)(Messenger), Panic (Transmit), and Extensis (Suitcase) are just a few of the companies who have tapped IconFactory for their design skills.  However, if you've ever wanted to create your own icon, read on.

If you're not familiar with it, IconBuilder is not a stand-alone application (not be confused the IconDropper or IconExaminer which were).  If you have used IconBuilder before, you know that you need Photoshop or Fireworks  to create the bitmap image.   I use Photoshop, and love the way I can knock out versions by keeping live layers underneath my "icon export" layer.

I didn't think IconBuilder needed anything more, but it gets better by leaps and bounds (note IconFactory skipped v. 6 and 7).

Creating or editing bitmaps shouldn't be new to you.  Whatever you want to illustrate is up to you.  On a Mac, you used to be confined to a 128x128 pixel icon as your maximum size.  However, with the latest release, 8.0 will allow you to create an icon resource that is 1024x1024.    IconFactory has always been right on, or just ahead of the curve.   The massive icon size should make everyone prick up their ears.  If the potential icon size doesn't wow you, there are plenty of new features in this build.  

I'm amazed by the redesign of the user interface.  Sure, the options have been getting better, but SHAZAM the GUI update is fantastic!  No more getting lost trying to find that one 16x16 icon in your 600x600 canvas.  This is really a beautiful layout.  Not only can you line up the individual grids, but you can also move all of the grids together as a unit (this is great for those composed icons that are just 1 pixel off center.


From this image, you can see that you can now create an icon at any size.  Great. Great?  I'm not sure where this is going, but with Linux, anything is possible. (Did I mention Red Hat used IconFactory to design icons for v.7.0 too?)

Part of the user interface includes not only the ability to navigate the canvas easily, but (everyone cheer), the ability to save custom grids.  Not only can you save them, you can share them too (save out the pref file).

New resource properties.  A completely new way of looking at your icon resources.  Of course with the new custom sizes that you can create, you'll need a more advanced way to view, modify and check the properties; the new window provides everything you'll need.  NOTE: This is where you'll find the "Normal" and "Drop" state variation options as well.

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