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Icon-A-Day, Icon # 52, GIF File

The last of the default Image File icons.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 52 (GIF File)

Today we will polish off the last of the Default Image file icons. The GIF File. This one is usually pretty simple in concept for me, since GIF's are almost exclusively used for the internet, and when I think of Internet GIF files I think Smileys. So for the last few of my icon packs, I have gotten into the habit of doing something with a pixilated smiley graphic. Today I will do it again. but a bit differently than I have before.
 
Step 1:

First thing we do is copy the BMP icon from yesterday and delete the page contents, as well as the reflections. I also change the title to GIF

Step 2:

Now in the last icon we had the brush going behind the icon. We will stick with that, (I am going to end up redoing the JPG file, I just know it). I also use the Mesh tool to change my swoosh to yellows.

Step 3:

Now since I am tired, I take a Screenshot of my MSN instant messenger and crop it down to just one of the smileys. I will use this as a guide to make my own.

 
Step 4:

No using a .03 pixel box and the Nudge settings, I make my own version of the smiley, with a bunch of colored squares. (Note, I want this to look pixilated)
Step 5:

When I am happy with my new smiley, I size it and place it on my page. I select all the squares and give them a Multiply Transparency set to 0.


Step 4:

Our last step is to use the Reflection techniques to give our new images that final polish.

Completed Icon Image.



Click here to download the finished icon.

This is the last of the 3 Default Image icons, BMP, GIF, and JPG. But have no fear, I will be doing several more image format icons before the pack is done. I just want to polish off the default icons before I go off on we move on into more bonus file types.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com
All Images and Text in this tutorial are © 2005 Paul Boyer, and may not be reused without written permission.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 51, The Bitmap File

This one makes me crazy.

Monday, February 21, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 51 (BMP File)

Today we get back to the default file icons and as long as we're at it lets take care of the first one on the list: the Bitmap file.

This icon is one of those icons that drives me crazy. It is exceedingly simple in concept, yet always leaves me wanting more. For
the JPG file I almost always do a photograph of some kind, since JPG's are most well known for saving digital "Pictures". For the GIF file I like to do a smiley, or some other pixely net image since Gifs are best know for the web, and emoticons. Bitmaps or BMP files are perhaps best known for wallpaper, but it would seem odd to put a monitor on a file. (Note to self, try this someday, might work). What I tend to end up doing is some sort of generic image, a "Bliss" like image, or a sunset. This is why I am never exited to do the BMP icon, and I tend to put it off. But since I promised a file icon to day I have decided to get this one checked off the list.
 
Step 1:

Once again we will start by copying a base icon, this time the
JPG file. I delete everything but the main file and its title. The title I change to BMP.

Step 2:

Now I grab the brush from our
My Pictures folder and move it down in front of our file. To add some depth I move the handle of the brush to the back.

Step 3:

Now with the
Mesh Tool I go in and edit our Paint "swoosh". Making it fade from blue to green to red.

 
Step 4:

Now I copy one of the images from the photos in our
My Picture folder and crop it down. Then I place it on our folder with a Multiply Transparency set to 0. I also draw a black box around it to act as a frame.

Step 5:

Now to make this a bit more interesting I want to do a little palette on the bottom of the page, so I draw some boxes and line them up flush under our picture.


Step 4:

Now using the eye dropper tool I sample some colors from the picture and assign them to the palette squares. One row the greens, one the blues.

Step 4:

Now we are back to our standards; we give the new file and brush a
Reflection.

Step 8:

We need a new
shadow for the brush handle so we take care of that.

Completed Icon Image.




Click here to download the finished icon.
 

That's one more of our staple icons out of the way. And I must say it turned out much better then I was thinking it would. Since that went well I think tomorrow we will finish up the Default Image file types and do the GIF. See ya then.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com
All Images and Text in this tutorial are © Paul Boyer, and may not be reused without written permission.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 50, iPod Mini

A quick side step for the fun of it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 50 (iPod Mini)

Yesterday I said I would be doing another File Type icon, however I have decided to take a little detour out of the default icon pack icons and do something purely for the fun of it.

About a month ago, I finally cracked under the pressure and bought an iPod. I went in to by a 512 iPod Shuffle, but somehow walked out with a 4G iPod Mini. This has, however, worked out quite well for me and I have become a big iPod Fan, mostly for its Audible.com support. The long and short of this story is that my iPod is almost always attached to my computer these days, and when it is it shows up as a removable drive. Since I am me, when a new Drive shows up on my computer I have to make an icon for it.

I was holding my mini the other day, and thought, it would be pretty easy to make an icon for this. As it turns out I was right. The only problem is that the final image ended up looking a bit too realistic, and I could have probably just used one of the many bitmap images from the Apple site and saved myself a bunch of time. However this dose make a nice tutorial on what you can easily do with techniques we have already established. So off we go...
 
Step 1:

Now if you have ever seen an iPod you will know they are pretty simple. our entire Icon can be made with just a few shapes.
Step 2:

The most difficult part of or image with be the main back of the pod. This I will do with the Mesh Tool. You can see here how I rounded the corners a bit. And placed some nodes where my shadows and highlights will be.

Step 3:

Now I simply change of the Mesh node colors. We do a light grey for the center 4 nodes, a dark grey on the left, and a light grey on the right.

 
Step 4:

You can see here our how our mesh created the illusion of dimension.
Now using the techniques from the Transparency 201 Class, I give the iPod a bit of texture.  Very subtle.

Step 5:

For our touch wheel we simply use a series of 6 circles with gradient fills.


Step 4:

To finish of the touch pad I put the controls on using the Text Tool and some simple shapes.

Step 4:

Now for our display I use 3 boxes, 2 for the outside of it to give it a slight lip and fill them with gradients.
The main part of the display is a Mesh Rectangle, with some darkened and lighted areas to make the display seem set back.

Step 8:

It might not really need it, but for consistency with the rest of our pack I go ahead and give the display a bit of gloss.

Step 9:

Lastly I draw a little Apple logo and place it in the display behind the gloss. I also use our Shadow and Reflection techniques to give us our Icon-A-Day style reflections and shadow.

Finished Icon Image




Click here to download the finished icon.

Well, that was fun, tomorrow we will start back into our supported icon pack icons.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com
All Images and Text in this tutorial are © Paul Boyer, and may not be reused without written permission.

CorelDRAW For Skinners: Part 6

Mesh Tool 201, Makeing a Folder form scratch.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

 CorelDRAW for Skinners. Part 6: Advanced Mesh Tool 201
 
I have gotten a lot of requests for an Advanced Mesh Tool Tutorial, so today I am going try and help. Today's tutorial takes us from a blank page to a competed folder icon, almost entirely created with Mesh Fill objects. One new thing this week is that I am also posting the CDR file that I made doing the tutorial. So you can play with it yourself.

Note: This tutorial is very long, (32 minutes) sorry about that, and I ramble a bit, but it is a good example of how to use the Mesh Tool, to "do" something, rather then just how it functions. Hopefully that part will be there as well.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Stardock for hosting these video files, as I know they must take up quite a bit of precious bandwidth. Hopeful the people who are enjoying them appreciate it as well.

This weeks videos:
  
Mesh Tool 201 (Making A folder from scratch)
Stay tuned for more. Requests encouraged, and appreciated.
 
Video #10: Mesh Tool 201

Mesh Tool 201 Sample CDR (CorelDRAW 11 Format)


For all the CorelDRAW for Skinners tutorials visit:
The CorelDRAW for Skinners Index

To see these Techniques in use visit:
The Icon-A-Day (Index)

Don't forget to check out all my Icons, Skins, and more Tutorials at my Skinning Homepage Mormegil.wincustomize.com.
All Images, Videos, and Text in this tutorial are © Paul Boyer, and may not be reused without written permission.
 

Icon-A-Day, Icons # 48 & # 49, BAT and Application Files

I like to have these two go hand in hand.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 48 - 49 (Application & BAT Files)

Over the next few days I would like to polish off most of the remaining default icons supported in a standard icon pack. Today we will take care of two of them.
Yesterday we did the INI file, and in the process we created a gear that is leaning on a file; today we will put that to good use.
 
Step 1a:

First I copy our INI File from yesterday. I Nudge the gear out of my way, delete the text copy and lines from the page, and change the Title to BAT.

Step 2a:

Now I change some colors. I am going to make the page Black for these two icons. To make them look more "Command Prompt-ish". I also paste some text in. In this case it is a copy of an Autoexec.bat file I found on the Internet. (So very retro).
Step 3a:

Now I Nudge our gear back in place. Since I have not moved the file and I have my
Nudge set up the way I showed in the "Setup" Video, I know it is exactly in the right place. So I am done with that.
 
Step 4a:

Now using our
Reflection Technique we give the and page gear a new shadow.
Step 5a:

Since this is a Bat file it is more or less just text, so I want it to reflect that it is editable. I copy our pen from the My Documents folder and place it in front of our new icon.
Just to make it stand out a bit more I use the Mesh Tool to go in and edit its color, making it Blue.

Finished Icon Image

Note: As you can see I changed my mind, as I often do, about the color of the title bar. I changed it to the color I have been using for the System File icons.

Step 1b:

Now for the next icon we copy the Bat file we just made. Nudge the gear off, change the title to C:\, as well as fill the page with Some 1's and 0's to indicate that it is a binary, or compiled file.

Step 2b:

Now as before I simply
Nudge the gear back in place.

Step 3b:

As Above I give our new icon a new Reflection using our
Reflection Techniques
 
Finished Icon Image.


 




Click here to download the finished icon.

I think tomorrow I will stay in the realm of File icons. Now I'm off to do this weeks CorelDRAW for Skinners.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

All Images and Text in this tutorial are © Paul Boyer, and may not be reused without written permission.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 47, The INI File

Once more into the File Icons my friends.

Friday, February 18, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 47 (INI File)

Well, today is Friday and I'm beat, so as with the last few Fridays I was thinking it would be nice to do something simple. Our iconpack is coming along well, better than I had hoped in fact. However we have many icons to go, a lot of them are not very glamorous so I think we should polish off a few more of them. So tonight we will do one more; the INI file. I am using this as our Configuration file icon, but I will make an INF file as well later.
 
Step 1:

We will start by copying our Text File and changing the title to INI.
Step 2:

Now once more we will steal some of our prefab Graphics and Copy one of the gears from the Admin Folder.
Step 3:

Now using our
Reflection Techniques we give the gear and the file a new reflection.

 
Step 4:

Now using our
Shadow Technique We give the gear a new shadow.
Finished Icon Image







Click here to download the finished icon.

Tomorrow I will polish off another simple File icon to make time for this weekends CorelDRAW for Skinners.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 46, The Desktop

This one everyone sees, but not many use.

Thursday, February 17, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 46 (Desktop)

This is one of those icons that everyone looks at in your icon pack, but is actually rarely seen in use. Mostly as a 16x16 in your quick launch bar, but never the less I like to spend a little time on it, an make sure it looks good.
Since the Desktop is essentially just a special kind of folder, I am going to use the styles we are using for the folders, so that at least on some level they match.
 
Step 1:

I start by using the mesh fill and some rectangles, to make the basic shapes of the desktop.
Step 2:

Now using more rectangles I use the Mesh Fill tool to make some corner covers for our desktop.

Step 3:

To make it match the folders I make the corners black, and I give the Main desktop a nice Brush texture using our transparency 102 techniques.
 
Step 4:

Now I give desktop and top two corners some
gloss, and make a simple shadow off the entire thing.
Step 5:

Now I copy the File icon off the My Documents folder, and rotate it slightly so it looks like it is sitting on our desktop. I also make a copy and change the title bar to blue. To polish them off I give both the files a slight drop shadow.

Step 6:

last I make a copy of our pen from the my documents folder, and set it in front of our almost completed icon.

Finished Icon Image




Click here to download the finished icon.

Join us tomorrow as we dive back into the file icons.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Desktopx 3 Journal: Day 3

Creating your own preferences dialog

Thursday, February 17, 2005 by Frogboy | Discussion: DesktopX

If you want to make a program that you plan to give to other people to use, you will probably find that they will want some sort of preferences dialog. Something to change the settings of the program to match their particular set up.  In today's example, we want users to be able to make an email checker. The email checker is different for each user. They have their server, user name and password.  So how do we let users of our widget set these things?

In DesktopX 2, you would do this on your own by creating your own special panels that you designed yourself.  This had the benefit of letting the author have a lot more control over presentation but it was very time consuming. Some widget enabling programs do all this in a separate XML file that the program then uses to create a standard preferences dialog. This is, in my view, superior to what was in DesktopX 2.

But with DesktopX 3, it was decided to take the next logical step - do all of this in script (VB Script, JavaScript, whatever).  When the user starts the script, the first thing they do is create their preferences dialog (if applicable).  You don't have to create a preferences dialog this way but it does make things much much easier.

So let's think about how we want users to enter in their User Name, Password, and Server name. In DesktopX 3 you create a widget like this:

Widget.Preference(PREFERENCENAME).Type = TYPE

So we authors would fill in PREFRENCENAME and TYPE . For the former, you can call it anything like "Password".  For the latter, you have to pick one of the control types DesktopX 3 supports which are:

  • “Hidden”: No control will be displayed in the Widget properties panel. Hidden is the default type.
  • “Text”: Text box control type.
  • “Password”: Text box with obfuscated characters for password entries.
  • “Checkbox”: Checkbox control. Values for checkboxes are “1” or “0”.
  • “ComboEdit”: Editable text combobox control.
  • “ComboList”: Dropdown list combobox control.
  • “Slider”: Slider control. Values for sliders are still in string form.

So in this case I would pick two text fields for the server name and user name and the password field for the password (password being the same as text but obfuscated).

The screenshot above contains the example code for our mail preference.  There's a second piece we need, and that is, what we do when someone actually does something in the preferences:

Sub Widget_OnPreferencesChange
  RefreshData
  CheckMail
End Sub

A new call is added  by the system: Widget_OnPreferenceChange.  In this case, we call a function called RefreshData that we've written and another one called CheckMail that we've written.

Sub RefreshData
  sLogin = Widget.Preference("User").Value 'object.localstorage("MailLogin")
  sPass = Widget.Preference("Password").Value 'object.localstorage("MailPass")
  sServer = Widget.Preference("Server").Value 'object.localstorage("MailServer")
  sType = Widget.Preference("Type").Value 'object.localstorage("Type")
End Sub

In this function, we save the data from our preferences dialog with the DesktopX storage system so that you don't have to keep entering this data every time you load the widget.

When the widget is made, the preferences tab becomes part of the properties dialog for that widget.  So now I can not only control how the widget looks and behaves and set the hot key to activate it, but I can now configure it right from the same place.

 

 

 

 

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 45, The Shortcut Overlay

This little guy never gets any love

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 45 (Shortcut Overlay)

Today we will do the only other "Overlay" icon in the standard icon Pack. The Shortcut overlay is always one of the easiest things to make, but not necessarily the easiest to design. It is simple enough to put a arrow in the corner of a square and call it done. I like to spend some time making sure that it matches the rest of the icons, and looks good overlaying the Folders, and Files.
 
Step 1:

First I start with a simple 2D arrow.
Step 2:

Then I slant I back a bit with the perspective tool.

Step 3:

Now using the
Contour tool I give our arrow a poor mans Bevel.

 
Step 4:

Now I give the backs of the arrow some gradients, and a blend. I also throw on a bit of
gloss.

Step 5:

Now we give it a
reflection, and a a shadow.

Finished Icon Image:




Click here to download the finished icon.
 

I know the final icon image is not very impressive, but I show it with a few examples in the screen shot. Tomorrow we will take a stab at the Desktop Icon.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 44, My Documents Folder.

One more of the major components.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 44 (My Documents)

Today we finally get around to making the My Documents folder, usually I make this right at the beginning of the pack, but with this pack I was not sure what I wanted to do, so I put it off until now. For this icon I we will re-use several elements and make one more that we will use again later I am sure.
 
Step 1:

First I gather some elements, the Open Folder, the Default Document, the Picture for the my Pictures Folder, The piece of file from the My Video Folder and last the HTML file from the Web Folder.

Step 2:

Now I size the film a bit and place it in front of the Html File.

Step 3:

Then I pile in the Picture from the My Pictures folder.

 
Step 4:

Then I move all our new elements into the folder.

Step 5:

Now I give our folder a new reflection.

Step 6:

Now I move our Default File in front of the Folder and Slant it back with the perspective tool. I also give the file a nice shadow.

Step 7:

Now I want a pen, so I am going to make a Sharpie like pen out of some rectangles, using the Mesh Fill.

Step 8:

I shape the new Mesh Objects to look more or less like a pen. I also give the pen a shadow.


Finished Icon Image





Click here to download the finished icon.
 

Well, now we have one more of the major components to our pack. We will be done before you know it. Tomorrow we shall try and do one of the "Other" icons.
Note: I thought the file Icon looked kind of bland in blue, so as you can see in the final image, I changed it to a red.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles:
(Icon-A-Day Index)

Check out the CorelDRAW for Skinner Index, for links to all the related Video Tutorials.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the
Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

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