Graphic designers and the producers of icons for applications targeting the new Metro-style UI introduced with mobile and PC versions of Windows 8 have been lacking an appropriate design tool for too long. Luckily, the newest release of Metro Style Icon Studio (www.iconempire.com) is out to help.
The newly updated version of Metro Style Icon Studio now offers the same Metro-style user interface it's targeting, helping graphic designers get a better sense of the look and feel they're aiming at. Metro Style Icon Studio adds a new Metro-style PNG template, and allows producing icons for Metro-style apps for Windows 8. While Metro Style Icon Studio can be used to produce icons in any style, its major goal is helping designers to produce monochrome Metro-style icons in layered PNG format with semi-transparent masks making the icons blend seamlessly with the rest of the UI. With all the usual drawing tools and special effects readily available, Metro Style Icon Studio can be employed to quickly produce Metro-style monochrome icons from get go or to automatically convert a bunch of existing images into the new format.
What's New in Metro-style Icons
Microsoft Windows 8 is a freshly released operating system that features a revolutionary and rather controversial new style user interface. The redeveloped UI is called 'Metro'. The concept of the new user interface is focused around the actual content rather than pictures, relying more on shapes and words rather than colorful graphics. While the concept is not completely new (applications such as Microsoft Encarta 95 and MSN 2.0 were using similar design concept), Windows 8 is actually the first desktop operating system to throw the new Metro-style interface at unsuspecting users.
For designers, there's little new in the Metro style compared to earlier Vista and Windows 7 graphics. Similar to Windows Vista and Windows 7, the maximum size of these icons is 256x256 pixels. The high resolution images are stored in the familiar PNG format with semi-transparent alpha-channel for easy blending with the rest of the interface. In Windows 8, the Explorer uses these high-resolution icons by default even on low-res displays. While this may seem like an overkill, the system will instantly downscale the icons to make them appear crisp and detailed regardless of the size and resolution of the user's display. This, in particular, allows Metro-style icons to be used and to appear great on all types of displays from regular VGA-resolution mobile displays to quad-resolution large-diagonal screens used in professional applications.
Are Metro Icons Black and White?
Not really, no. While the designer will produce Metro-style icons in various shades of only two colors (normally, black and white), the system can render them in all possible color combinations. For example, the Internet Explorer logo is traditionally rendered white on a blue background, while other apps can be shown on red, orange, purple, green and other colored tiles.
Metro Style Icon Studio is free to try. The app runs in Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, and can be readily downloaded from http://www.iconempire.com/metro-style-icon-studio/
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Since IconEmpire's founding in 2005 and as of 2012, Valeria supports web sites and design images. She works for quality user support and attractive user interface.
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