When searching for a tool to draw or edit icons, what type of tools will you consider? A complete photo editing studio bloated with features, filling the entire DVD and with a price of over half a grand? Or a fast, tiny tool that costs you nothing, downloads in seconds and is made for pixel-peeping?
If you're like most designers, you'll take the second choice. And you'll make the right choice. While it's totally possible to use Corel Draw and alike to create icons, these tools were never meant for the job. Pixel-level graphics lays its own requirements, and the choice of a proper tool is essential for getting perfect end result.
Junior Icon Editor at http://www.free-icon-editor.com/ is a free icon editor made by Aha-Soft, a company well-known for its numerous collections of ready-made icons. This is the tool they are constantly using in-house to make the smallest sizes such as 16x16 or 32x32 pixels, where each pixel matters.
The free icon editor has everything you need to create, paint and edit low pixel count icons. Working with color depths of up to 8 bits per R, G, B channel (that's 24 bits in total), Junior Icon Editor offers full support for the extra 8-bit channel, the Alpha channel, bringing the total available color depth of the image to 32 bits. Alpha channel is a dedicated layer that defines a semi-translucent mask for the rest of the image. Depending on that mask, some parts of your image can be opaque, transparent, or semi-translucent. This powerful feature brings two important benefits to icons featuring the Alpha channel. First, there will be no more jagged edges: your icons will always look smooth all around. Second, your icons will fit smoothly on complex backgrounds including all kinds of colors, gradients and patterns. Icons with Alpha channel are used in all systems including Windows Phone, Vista, Windows 7, Android, Blackberry and iPod/iPad devices.
If you need support for terminal applications, Symbian OS or legacy systems, you can save legacy 8-bit icons in 256 colors. Regarding compatibility, the free icon editor can import and save icons in Windows ICO, PNG, XPM, XBM, and ICPR file formats. You can use icons in these formats on most desktop and mobile system in existence.
The free icon editor offers a number of handy tools to draw and edit icons at pixel level. You can paint icons with a brush, pen, airbrush, use a number of geometric shapes such as circles, rectangles, lines and curves. You can edit separate pixels with a sharpie. Existing icons can be rotated, rolled, shifted or reflected. For 256-color images, you can choose or edit available palette. True Color icons will use the entire spectrum.
Junior Icon Editor is light and fast. Best of all, it's absolutely free. Download your copy of this free icon editor at http://www.sibcode.com/
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Julie Goodwin is a web designer who regularly uses SibCode free stock editor to modify stock icons to save time and money while guaranteeing high quality, professional results.
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