So you want to make pixel-perfect icons for iPhone and iPad, but can’t get it just right? Here’s my own personal icon template that makes designing and previewing icons a breeze. Click the preview to download the organized and layered Photoshop file.
The template also includes layers for creating iPad document icons. Be sure to read Apple’s documentation for a clear explanation of how icons are to be formatted and used in apps: iOS Human Interface Guidelines: Custom Icon and Image Creation Guidelines
If you’ve downloaded my iPhone and iPod Touch icon Photoshop template in the past, you may want to re-download it, as a larger version has been added. It now comes with the standard 57×57 iPhone springboard template as well as a 512×512 version for producing iTunes-ready artwork.
If you’re an avid fmTuner user, or just have a need to make some flat music album covers pop off the page, check out Rogie King’s in-depth tutorial on how to make gorgeous web-ready image overlays. Complete with a free set of covers you can use anywhere and the necessary CSS (even IE6 fixes), Rogie’s tutorial will have your displayed albums looking shiny and spectacular in no time!
While working on some iPhone and iPod Touch apps, I found that the iPhone OS automatically masks and overlays your application icon for quick and easy development. You supply a square 57×57 pixel image, and it rounds off the corners and overlays the Mac-like gloss to create a consistent look.
When developing an icon for a Touch-based application, it’s handy to be able to see what your rendered creation will look like without going through the hassle of exporting your icon, compiling your code, and running your software every time a change is made. To that end, I present a small Photoshop file which very closely mimics the iPhone-applied mask and gloss, which you can place over top of your in progress icon layers to approximate the final result. Also, if you dislike the gloss, or have something special in mind, you can set a certain flag in the application’s Info.plist to disable the gloss… I hope my Photoshop file will help others create great looking Touch app icons!
Update: By request, I’ve added a 512×512 version of the template as well, so you can get a good feel for what your icon will look like when displayed in iTunes. Both files are now combined in a zip archive, downloadable here.
When you use Adobe Photoshop day in and day out, certain things about its interface and workflow start to grate on you, like the inability to zoom while in the middle of a transform or applying Layer Effects. Much to my delight, Photoshop is also jam packed with hidden commands and modifier keys, which turned up a discovery today.
If you’re in the middle of a Transform or Layer Effects change and need to get your changes just right, you can adjust your view simply by holding the correct keys and using your mouse. On the Mac, hold Space and drag to pan around the background window. Command-Space-click on the document to zoom in, and Command-Option-Space-click to zoom out. Note that some of these key combos collide with the system-wide Spotlight commands, so you may consider remapping them in System Preferences, depending on your usage of each. Personally, I’ve moved Spotlight to Control-Space just to use these great hidden features of Photoshop.
For the graphic designers and Photoshop enthusiasts, here are a few resources for identifying fonts:
WhatTheFont is far and away my favorite tool in the bunch primarilty because it’s automated, fast, and shockingly accurate. Just upload an image (the more contrast, the better) or provide a URL and their software will match characters and, more often than not, the correct font name.
If fully automated solutions are of no help, you can always call upon others in the industry who deal with typefaces every day. Someone out there knows about your font, and the WhatTheFont Forum is one of the best places to get a good response.
Identifont helps you find fonts by asking multiple questions about the font you’re looking for. It’s a unique approach that, in my usage, works about 30 to 40 percent of the time. As a last resort, it may very well come through, despite it’s apparently limited font selected.
Recently, my Photoshop posts have been lacking in layers, which I tend to equate with how much others can learn from them. A file with few layers really only allows for simple usage of the content, and leaves little room to learn from. To try and make up for some of that, here’s a multi-multi-layer Halo 2 Photoshop file where a large portion of the background was cut away to make the image fit the design on (the subsequently redesigned) Xbox.com.
You can view the original screenshot here to see how much area had to be recreated. Luckily, I just happened to have some good source material to pull from. The photo used to rebuild the missing chunk of sky is quite possibly part of the original Halo 2 artwork, as it’s from a PDF I stumbled upon not too long ago. Looking at the original PDF, you’ll notice parts of the sky which have cloud formations matching those in the screenshot. With some clone stamp work, color adjustments, and a new black gradient, the restored image looks good as new. While the original Halo 2 image surely exists somewhere out there, this is a decent Photoshop file tutorial showing how to merge two related images with minimal changes.
Whether you use it for something, learn from it, or just find the files cool to check out, I’d like to hear from you! I know I always enjoy looking through others’ Photoshop files to see how they do things.
With the upcoming release of the Xbox 360, I thought it would be fitting to post a few related images I had squirreled away (I save almost everything interesting I come across — a digital packrat).
The first image I have is the new Xbox Live logo for the Xbox 360, which uses the new, official, Helvetica-looking Xbox font. I like the old blocky font more, but I’m sure Microsoft will still manage to pull the marketing materials together nicely. Overall, I enjoy the Xbox marketing styles far more than those used for Windows.
The second file is an Xbox 360 ad I saw on a website, and recreated it in Photoshop. You can see the preview here, or download the layered Photoshop file. Enjoy!
Following a request, I edited a bunch of high resolution Tiger icons out of Jaron Brass’ excellent Tiger wallpapers and saved them as PNG files with a mask so they can be placed on any background image or color. The Mac OS X icons were originally designed by Cesar Carrera (and copyright Apple — don’t sue me, please!), however I’m not sure if the ones included here are all his. In this set, you’ll find:
- Address Book
- the Applications icon
- Core Audio/Image/Video
- the Home icon
- “Mac HD”
- .Mac Sync
- the Apple logo from “About This Mac…”
Each image about 500px in size, which is considerably larger than what you’ll find in Mac OS X’s standard icons. Here’s a preview sheet of what you can expect. If you like what you see, download the whole lot (3.7 MB). Personally, I’ve used a few in the past for sprucing up Keynote presentations given at MUG meetings. I’m not sure what other purposes they have — post below if you find them useful!
I just ran across this series of killer Photoshop tutorials by Cameron Moll, detailing how to achieve “that wicked worn look” and make your images look worn, scratched, and slightly beat-up. Like any Mac fan, I love the Aqua style, but there’s something about the worn look that just gets you. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when it’s done right, it looks great (see his blog, linked above). The last entry in the series links to a thoughtful entry at Airbag Industries on that style.
I also wholeheartedly agree with Cameron’s recommendation of the Machine Wash Photoshop filters. They allow you to instantly apply an aged look to a layer using the included Actions. If you’re looking to create that style and don’t want to spend the time doing all the work manually, definitely check out Machine Wash filters.