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Is it adobe illustrator for Mac?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 27 '09 at 1:49

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

This would probably be better on superuser as it's an application usage question. –  user135 Aug 24 '09 at 18:40
There's no real answer regardless of where the question lives. –  ceejayoz Aug 24 '09 at 18:53
I disagree this should be closed. Icon management is pretty integral with iPhone development, and as a developer I'd never think to look at "superuser" since most system users are not creating icons... –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner Aug 24 '09 at 21:30

5 Answers 5

This is like asking what the best operating system is. It'll vary from person to person. They're just images, and not particularly large or complicated ones at that. You could conceivably make a nice one in MS Paint with enough skill.

Ultimately, the end result is what matters, not the tool it was made in.

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I like using Photoshop Elements which is much cheaper than photoshop and seems to be better designed around making simple graphical elements using the various shapes tools. I will build up several layers of shapes of different textures (the Wow Plastic textures are particularly useful) and layer styles to make an icon. It is extremely important that you store your originals with layers intact in .psd format and export it to the appropriate sizes using the Export for Web feature to generate your final TIFF or PNG file. If you do not store your originals, you will have a devil of a time making changes.

Unfortunately, true to form for Adobe, Elements has been getting less and less stable with every OS X release.

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The reason I asked the question is that some graphics packages might have built in support for iPhone icons (i.e. templates). I realize any package can be used -- but I'm lazy and looking for some shortcuts.

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"Graphics packages with built in support for iPhone icons (i.e. templates)." might have been a better title for the question, then. –  fbrereto Aug 24 '09 at 21:05

There's not really much in the way of iPhone icon templates - just about the only thing of a fixed size is the app icon, and the bounding box is easy enough to set up. From there, people take it a lot of different places...

As Glenn noted you are best off with some kind of tool that can do compositing and layering, because you can get a pretty advanced look with not too much effort.

I've looked at icon specific tools, but I've not really been all that happy with any of them vs. simply using Photoshop - yet.

You may well want to look at the answers to this question:


Which got a lot of good responses, I'm going to check some of them out. If anyone else votes to close, at least close linking to this question (though it's more general and not platform specific as to what would run on a Mac)

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The best tool for creating icons is a good graphic designer. Your icon signals to the buyer how much care you put into designing your app.

Lacking that, use Photoshop and work at 512 x 512 pixels using clean bold shapes that communicate at most 3 ideas (2 is even better), and a harmonious color scheme with high contrast.

If you allow Apple's default icon gloss and shine rendering, be sure graphics in the upper half of the icon are not too light or they will tend to look washed out. Keep details away from the edges and especially the corners as they will be clipped away when the 9 pixel rounding is applied.

When saving the final image at 57 x 57 pixels, be sure your color profile is set to sRGB or you will experience color and brightness shifts. Be sure to keep you hi-res original because it is the image that appears (resized) on your app store entry.

Good luck.

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