First Previous Page 145 of 158 Next Last

Icon-A-Day, Icon #102, Recycle Bin (Empty)

Let us sum up what we have learnd, and make a important Icon.

Thursday, June 2, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 102 (Recycle Bin - Empty)

At last we come to the much anticipated and much dreaded (by me) "Recycle Bin". This icon is always somewhat daunting since it is seen the most of any, with exception of the folder perhaps. You can count on people judging your entire pack by it. The pressure is not so bad in this pack, since it is not being done to "wow" but rather to instruct, but still we want to do something nice.

This is the second to last icon for a standard IconPackager 3.0 icon pack, and since many of you have been following along closely I decided to be a bit more thorough on this one, using it as a kind of summery of what has been shown through out  the tutorial series. We will use almost all of our techniques in this one, and I will show a bit more detail on some of the fanciers steps.

So without further ado, I bring you, da, da, da... The Recycle Bin.
Step 1:

As has almost always been the case, we start with some rectangles and the
Mesh Tool. You can see here how we start to give the bin some shape. At this point we only have four shapes, two of them are almost entirely hidden behind the others.

Step 2:

Now the theme of this set has become, more or less, Metal and Glass. So what I have decided to do is make the body of the bin glass, and the bottom and rim metal. So I create a few more
mesh rectangles and start shaping them to our needs. You can see that the top and bottom are actually only one shape each, even though they show two sides of the can.

Step 3:

Now to get our glass we do a few things. First I edit all of our glass sections with the Mesh Tool to give them some gradients, like in our first
gloss tutorial. Then using the Interactive Transparency Tool, I set the rear piece of glass to a 50% uniform opacity, and give the two front pieces nice Transparency Blends; each slanting away from the other, to give the illusion of dimension.

 
Step 4:

Now we give the front, and side faces of the bin some simple glare. Just like in our Gloss tutorial.

Step 5:

This brings us back to the
Mesh Tool, We start giving the top rim of our can some dimension. You can see here that I start by adding simple edge Mesh lines, giving the overall shape I want before I start doing more detail.

Step 6:

Now we go in and do some
more detailed mesh editing, making sure that we are keeping with the paneled style we have established thoughout the icon pack. In this case, I make an end panel on the rim and tint all the nodes slightly darker.
Step 7:

I more or less repeat this same thing on all the edges of our rim, giving it the same kind of panel effect we have used in most of the metal icons of the pack.

 

Step 8:

We move down, doing the same thing to the bottom of the bin, except in this case I only add two two grooves.

 

Step 9:

One mesh shape to note here is the back of the bottom of the tray. It is pretty simple, but since it is beside the glass, it adds a lot of believability to the overall image. The little details can make or break the "reality" of an icon.

 

Step 10:

Now we have the basic Empty Bin done, we need a shadow. Since we want our shadow to reflect that the bin is made up of two different materials, glass and metal, I draw a few template shapes where I want my shadows to end up.

 

Step 11:

Now I put a 50% shadow on the gray piece, which is the shadow of my glass. Then I pull a 100% shadow off my black shape, which is the shadow of my metal pieces. Once I have this, I delete the template pieces, select both of my new shadows, and convert them to one bitmap. I also send it to the back of our image.

 

Step 12:

Last we take our resulting bitmap and bleed it out with the Interactive Transparency Tool.
See the shadow
Tutorial for more on how we did steps 10 - 12.

 

Step 13:

One thing we have on all the metal of this pack is the brush texture.
So I copy our rim, and bottom shapes, give them a grey fill, and a Brush Transparency.
See Icon # 1  and the Interactive Transparency Tool tutorial for more on this.

Step 14:

Now we need our reflection. This will be done with our
standard reflection techniques, but I wanted to point out a few details. In this case we could not simple mirror the image because it has a lot of dimension to it. So I had to copy the can and skew and edit the new image quite a bit to make it match up with the bottom of our bin.

Step 15:

Last we convert the resulting image to a bitmap. Crop it to the bottom of our guide box, and blend it out with the Interactive Transparency Tool.

Finished Icon Image.




Download the Completed Icons here.

This has turned into one of the longest, and most detailed tutorials in our series so far. Hopefully it will be useful.

Tomorrow we will add some more detail and color in the "Full" version of the Recycle bin. This will use all the techniques we used today as well as everything else that we did not cover.

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 # 101, Briefcase

Almost there, 3 more to be done with the 2.5 Package

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 101 (Briefcase)

Well, we are almost done believe it or not. My original plan was to end with the full and empty Recycle Bin icons. However, due to popular demand I have made a few tweaks to my schedule. IconPackager 3.0 is scheduled to come out next week and my plan is to release the finished icon package at the same time. For that we still need about 10 icons.

I realized that there were only three (3) icons left to have a completed IconPackager 2.5 icon pack, and since most of the people who have been following these tutorials have been building an icon package as we have gone, I figured we should jump ahead a bit. So today we will start wrapping up the last of the IconPackager 2.5 icons with the Briefcase, tomorrow we will do the Empty Recycle Bin, and Friday we will finish up the 2.5 pack, with the Full Recycle Bin.

After that we will go ahead and polish up the rest of the IconPackager 3.0 pack and finish up in about a week more with a Tutorial and Video on building the final IconPackager 3.0 icon package. I am going to use IP3 because it has a very cool new Packager Builder, which will save me tons of time and make life a lot easier for us all.

With that, let us begin.
 
Step 1:

As usual we will start with some mesh rectangles.

Step 2:

Now we start molding our Mesh Rectangles with the Mesh Tool.

Step 3:

Here is a bit more detail of how the meshes are being done.

 
Step 4:

Once we get a nice look to the body of the briefcase we go ahead and give it a nice Brush Texture, using our Transparency Techniques.

Step 5:

Now to make the case seem a bit more metallic, we will give it a nice glare using our Gloss Techniques.

Step 6:

We need to give our briefcase a handle; we do this with 3 more rectangles, the mesh tool, and a  bit of Gloss.
Step 7:

Here is a closer look at our handles done with the Mesh Tool.
Step 8:

Once we have the handle, we give the case a nice drop shadow, using our Drop Shadow techniques.
Step 9:

As usual we will finish up with our Reflection Technique.

Finished Icon Image.




Download the Completed Icons here.

Check in tomorrow for the much anticipated, Recycle Bin.

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.

10 years at Stardock

From "office staff" to VP of Operations in 10 crazy years.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 by KarmaGirl | Discussion: Internet

Today marks my 10th year of working at Stardock.  It's been 10 crazy years of learning the business and changing the business.

When I started, Stardock was *very* new.  I spent the first days before I was officially employed helping build furniture.  I was the first official employee of Stardock...my how things have changed.  I had no idea how much my life would change, or how much Stardock would change over the following 10 years.

We started out as an OS/2 ISV.  We didn't have a network in the building.  We went months with dial up before we could get an ISDN line installed.  We took all orders over the phone, and when "online order" technology came out, it meant that the online order was faxed to us. The "internet" was new, and it was a big deal to have free Compuserve accounts.

We quickly grew out of our first office, and found a new office where we currently are.  We grew...then we fell.  In 1998, the bottom dropped out of our market when IBM decided to drop OS/2.  We went from a dozen people down to 4 in a matter of months.  At this point, I took the most perfectly planned maternity leave and was away for 8 months.

But, Stardock didn't die.  Through the vision of our CEO Brad Wardell, and the brilliance of Neil Banfield (WindowBlinds only at the time), Stardock picked itself up and dusted itself off and was reborn as a Windows developer.  After seeing WindowBlinds in action, and being asked by Brad a few times: "so, when are you coming back?"  I rejoined the very small Stardock crew.  The day I came back, one of our staff members left (he returned a year or so later) and a new staff member started (who now works at Microsoft).  Things were really changing.

The Stardock that we now know is really only about 6 years old.  The Windows market is nothing like the OS/2 market was, and the staff that we have is a lot different (mainly, larger).  I can remember everyone that ever worked here, even Tamra who only worked here for one day back in 96, because we have such a low turn over rate.  We've lost a few to larger companies (mainly Microsoft) and we lost a few due to downsizing, but we still have managed to maintain our great company culture.

So, today I am remembering the past, and looking forward to the brilliant future that is ahead.  We are growing like crazy, and we are about to move into a new building (buying this time instead of renting).  It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years will hold.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 98, PST File

A bonus Icon no more.

Monday, May 23, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 98 (PST File)

Tonight we will continue on with our IconPackager 3.0 File icons. This icon is one I had intended doing as a bonus icon - part of the Office icon sets - but now it is supported in the defaults file types. I will do just the file tonight. Tomorrow I will do the Bonus Application icon and Folder as well.

This will more or less be the same as the Access and Word files we did way back toward the middle.
 
Step 1:

We will start by copying the MDB file and removing the Access Overlay. We also change the base colors to Outlook's signature golden yellow. Also we change the title to PST.

Step 2:

Now I have an Outlook logo in my scrap graphics, so I import it and give it our standard perspective.

Step 3:

Now we give the Logo a poor mans bevel with the Contour tool.

 
Step 4:

We give the bevel some gradients to make it match. I also give the face of the logo some gloss.

Step 5:

Now with our Reflection techniques I give the logo two reflections, one on the files face, and one on the floor in front of it.

Step 6:

Last using our shadow techniques we give it a nice custom shadow.

Step 7

During the process of making this file, I had a nice crash and had to start over. So once again I have to change the title back to PST.


Finished Icon Image.






Download the Completed Icons here.

Tomorrow we will make a nice bonus pack of the Outlook Application icon and an Outlook Folder.

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 # 97, PDF File

Good times with file extentions.

Sunday, May 22, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 97 (PDF File)

One of the most common file types that has been added to IconPackager 3.0 file format is the PDF file. PDF files are mostly used for documents, but they can contain text and graphics, so I try and make sure there is a bit of everything in the file. On top of this we will overlay an Adobe Acrobat logo.
 
Step 1:

First we copy the Write file. Remove the pen and tweak the copy with the Text Tool.

Step 2:

Now to set it apart a bit I change the background title bar to black.
Step 3:

Now I need an Acrobat logo, so I draw one with the Bezier Tool.


 
Step 4:

Now that I have drawn the logo as a line, I use the Artistic Brush tool to give it a calligraphic effect.

Step 5:

Now I break the Artistic Brush shape apart and give it a contour, for a bit of a outline.

Step 6:

I give our new shapes some fills to flesh out our logo. And place it in front of our file.

Step 7

Now we give the logo a
shadow and break it apart and crop it, so it only falls on the file.

Step 8

We pull one more
shadow off the logo and fade it out, so it falls behind the file.

Step 9

Last we once more give our new file a new
reflection.

Finished Icon Image.




Download the Completed Icons here.

We are approaching the end of our pack; more file types to come. Tomorrow we will do anther new IconPackager 3.0 File type.

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 # 96, TIF File

Back form E3, back to work.

Saturday, May 21, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 96 (TIF File)

Well, I'm back from E3 alive and kicking, though just barely. Today I want to get back into the new IconPackager 3.0 default file types. When we left off we were doing the PNG file. Today we will do one of the new image files: the TIF file. This will be done in almost the same way as the PNG file with a few exceptions. Once more this is a good example of how the same techniques can be used over and over and yet achieve quite different results.
 
Step 1:

First we copy our PNG file, remove the overlay graphics, and change the title to TIF. We also remove the existing reflection.

Step 2:

Now again with the techniques from Gloss Tutorial we make a nice cyan colored  lens shape.

Step 3:

Now I pull a simple drop shadow with a nice dark cyan color to give it a more glassy look.


 
Step 4:

Now we simply copy our cyan shape, and change the colors to Yellow.

Step 5:

Now we make another copy in magenta.

Step 6:

And one last copy in black.

Step 7

Now we go through and convert the four shapes to bitmaps giving them a
slight transparency so they look more glassy.

Step 8

Now I tighten up the color shapes to a formation I like and place them above the file.
Step 9

Once more our last step is to give the new file a new
reflection.

Finished Icon Image.




Download the Completed Icons here.
 

Tomorrow we will do anther new IconPackager 3.0 File type.

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.

Be careful what you blog for..

Your public blog is..well public..

Friday, May 20, 2005 by Draginol | Discussion: Internet

Last week I had my first really bad experience with the power of JoeUser's automated category syndication.  You see, when you write an article on JoeUser.com, the system will look at what category you filed it under and then syndicate it out to other sites on the Stardock.net system.  So if I write a blog on politics, it will show up on JoeUser.com.  Write a blog on skinning and it shows up on WinCustomize.com.  The system does work both ways where those sites feed into JoeUser.com as well.  But those sites have much more restricted choices for what category something can be filed.

Well, back in April I wrote a couple blogs on gaming.  The first one was about Will Wright's Spore and how I think his concept could be revolutionary because it puts the player in the role of the content creator.  If developers can find clever ways to make the player part of the content creation team, costs can be reduced, quality kept high, and players made happy. 

I reposted my blog on a semi-private forum I hang out on called Quarter To Three where many gaming professionals hang out.  On there, one respondent indicated he worked at a major game developer and strongly disagreed with my points.  I debated the issue on there but also wrote a follow-up blog on JoeUser.com that quoted his material and mentioned what game developer he worked for.  That blog, categorized as a PC gaming article, got syndicated to several sites such as GalCiv2.com, SocietyGame.com, and TotalGaming.net.  And then got featured on TotalGaming.net by a forum moderator (along with the original).

The guy who worked at the game developer was ticked off (to an extreme) that I would put his comments on a "corporate" website.  I think he thought I was trying to get him into trouble or something, I'm not quite sure as the profanity-laiden emails did not make the exact issue very clear to me what exactly the issue was. 

But what I did learn is something I should have already known -- blogs ain't private. Whether it's via a auto-syndication engine or a search engine, what you write publicly is -- well public.  It's is the blessing and curse of the blogsphere.  A blog someone might toss off in 15 minutes one Saturday afternoon could end up one day being quoted 2 years later on some major site. 

While the incident definitely was unpleasant for me, it was a good wakeup call too to be more aware that what I write might be taken very differently than intended and may get out there a lot further and wider than I had ever thought.

E3 Journals

Games everywhere!

Friday, May 20, 2005 by Frogboy | Discussion: WinCustomize News

So many games, so little time.  We've been at E3, the world's largest trade show for video games of all kinds.  And this year is a big year for games as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft announced their next-gen console plans.

Here are links to our TotalGaming.net coverage:

 

How can they miss DesktopX

A "widget war" article that neglects Stardock (again)

Thursday, May 19, 2005 by ZubaZ | Discussion: WinCustomize Talk

Link

Mike Elgan disects the history of Apple's Dashboard but his version goes MS Active desktop --> Konfabulator --> Dashboard.

Whatever.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 88 - 93, Optical Disks

A Bonus Pack of Disks, just for fun

Thursday, May 12, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 88 (Optical Disks)

I have missed a few days, so I wanted to make up with a bonus pack. While Windows includes all these types of disks inside the the Shell32.dll I do not know of anyway of changing them on a system level, other than a hack. Hopefully IconPackager will find a way to do so before to long.

One more reason to do these disks is that CandyBar for OS 10 supports them. So just for fun, and because they are all pretty simple, I figured what the heck. So with no further ado, I give you the Optical Disks.
 
Step 1:

So this will be pretty simple, First we get ourselves a nice copy of the CD icon.

Step 2:

Now we copy over one of our pens from any one of our file icons that we have made already.

Step 3:

Now we create two simple rectangles, set a 50% Transparency setting; one in a color and one white for a nice line.
 
Step 4:

Now we simple use the Text Tool to add the type of drive access to the colored bar, making sure it is placed behind the glare.


This finishes of our first of the Optical Disk formats.


Step 5:

Now we need one more element to make the rest of our Disk Types: a pencil. This we start by mocking up a pencil with some mesh rectangles.


Step 6

Now with our standard
Mesh Tool Techniques we start molding our pencil.

Step 7:

More
mesh editing...

Step 8:

And still more
mesh editing.

 

Step 9:

Last we use our
Shadow and Reflection techniques to finish off our pencil.

 
Finished Second Icon.

Note: The rest of our types we do with exactly the same steps, but changing the colors, and the text.

 



Download the Completed Icons here.

 

Now that we have a all the common Optical Disk types, we will move on. We have a few other bonus Disk types that we will polish off before we move on toward the end of our pack.

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.




web-wc01