This post will cover how to make stunning large 256×256 Icons that can be used by Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Unfortunately a lot of companies that make software are still not producing icons that are of the larger 256×256 icon format. I tend to blow up the icons I have especially on my desktop because I feel it looks better then the smaller 90’s style icons.
*NOTE* If you need any help with icons Winnipeg Web Design can help!
The program I use to create these icons is completely free. The thing that is even more astounding is the fact that this FREE program is better then most of the icon programs you have to pay money for! Here is the info on: The Best FREE Icon Creator called Greenfish Icon Editor Pro. (GFIE Pro)
GFIE Pro is a powerful icon, cursor, animation and icon library editor. Layer support with advanced selection handling makes it a really professional and unique freeware tool for designing small pixelgraphic images. GFIE offers high-quality filters like Bevel, Drop Shadow and Glow; supports editing animated cursors and managing icon libraries. It’s lightweight (< 1.8 MB unzipped) and requires no installation – just unpack it to your USB drive and use it anywhere. A clean, customizable, multilanguage user interface makes it really easy to learn and use.
For this example I am going to create an icon for Team Fortress 2. Steam is one of those companies that up until lately has not shipped large icons for their games. The only one that comes to mind is Left4Dead.
Things you will need.
- GFIE Pro
- Photoshop (or some other photo manipulation program) ** You don’t really need this but it makes things easier.
If you haven’t already downloaded GFIE Pro do so now. It is compressed in a ZIP file. I recommend extracting the program to your “C:\Program Files\” directory. You will most likely need to tell Window’s UAC to “continue” and allow the program to be copied to the folder location.
If you extracted the program files correctly you should be able to find the software at: “C:\Program Files\Greenfish Icon Editor Pro 2.0”. Click on the program executable “gfie”.
When you open the program for the first time you will see a window pop up. Click on the first box. You want to “Create a new Graphic”.
You will need to make sure on the next screen to select the size of the icon that you want to create. Again we want to make an icon that can go from regular size all the way up to the largest icon size 256×256 pixels. Click “OK” once you have made the correct selection.
Now that we have all the programs open and ready now we are going to go look for some box Art for the game. Doing a search in my favorite search engine I found the Box Art Picture for Team Fortress 2. Right click the picture and select copy.
Click on your photo editing program to maximize it. Create a new work space and paste the picture into it.
Now that the picture is ready to work on, you are going to need to resize the picture. The reason why I recommend doing the resizing the picture in a true picture editor instead of the icon program is that you will notice the icon will turn out better. Resizing is NOT the icon program’s forte.
To resize the picture in Photoshop Click on “Image – Image Size”. You can also use the shortcut key combo “ALT + CTRL + I”.
You will see the “Image Size” window popup. Because the picture I found was bigger vertically then width wise I decided to type “256” pixels for the height. If the picture would have been bigger width wise I would do the exact opposite and make the width “256” pixels. Click “OK”.
You now have a picture that is the perfect size for creating an icon, Good Work!
Highlight the whole picture that you just re-sized. To do this in most programs you can do this by hitting “Ctrl + A” (select all). Most program will show a dotted line around the whole picture. Now copy the picture by hitting “Ctrl + C” (copy).
Click on the open icon program. You must now paste the resized image into the “new icon project”. If you did it correctly you should see something similar to this:
You will notice there is a bunch of room on the right hand side of the icon. I recommend that you move the picture to the right and try and center the picture to the best of your abilities like so:
You are going to now save this project as an icon file. To do this go up to “File – Save as”.
Make sure to give the icon a descriptive name. You must also select the type of file you want to save as. You should select .ico for an icon file.
Now the only thing left to do is to right click the shortcut and hit properties. Click “Change Icon”
Now select the icon file you just created.
Voila… you now have a very nice icon for your computer.
Here’s a shot of it on my Windows 7 desktop: