Made With Xojo: Iconographer
Issue: 14.6 (November/December 2016)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,472
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 14602
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Having icons for your application is critical—Apple won't even accept apps without proper icons. But creating them is a pain. It's not just the artistic endeavor required, but the tedium of supporting all the right formats for the platforms you're targeting.
To the rescue comes Ohanaware's Iconographer, a new Mac app for creating and managing icons.
Iconographer is not a drawing app. It assumes you've got the basic parts of your icon already created. But it will let you combine various elements in layers, and even provide some basic effects, such as shadows.
The interface is nicely done: on the left is where you choose the icon type (app, folder, disk, document, etc.) and format (Mac, Windows, iOS), while in the middle is the icon assembly. On the far right, there's an area to choose icon style, adjust the layers of items in your icon, and set the transparency, blend modes, and effects.
The icon style lets you choose from some basic background shapes, such as circle, square, round-cornered square, and plugin. You can switch between these styles at any time. To bring in graphics, just drag them from the Finder into the window. Each will appear on its own layer.
One thing that confused me at first is that you can't click on a graphic to select it: instead you click on the graphic's
layer. Once it's selected, various options appear that let you rotate, scale, and color the object.
Everything is simple and intuitive, for the most part. The only odd thing I noticed is that the layers seem to be in the reverse order of how most programs (such as Adobe Photoshop) work. In those, the top layer is on top. In Iconographer, the topmost layer is on the bottom. It's a little confusing, but fine once you figure it out.
Once you have your icon assembled the way you want, you can export it with a build command. This generates a .icns file for Mac, .ico for Windows, and a folder of icons in various sizes for iOS, if each of those options is checked. There are also commands for exporting bitmaps or applying the icon to a file.
There's a really nice preview feature that displays your icon in an About Box, on the Dock, and on the Mac App Store—the latter is very useful for seeing how your icon will look next to others in the store.
Though I tested a pre-release version of Iconographer, things worked well and I encountered few issues. Some features, such as undo, aren't working quite right yet. Iconographer is a terrific value and you should check it out as a useful developer tool and well-made Xojo app.
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