Windows lets you customize its look in lots of ways, and one of the coolest is the ability to change almost any icon to suit your style or to create themes. While there's no shortage of icons available online, why not make your own? It's much easier than you might think, especially with the help of Axialis IconWorkshop. True to its name, it handles just about every aspect of the job, from creating, extracting, and converting icons to managing whole libraries of them. The full-featured IconWorkshop is free to use for 30 days. The latest release has tons of updates and new features, tops among them the ability to create Android and iPhone icons. But it also has many new Object packs, more image formats, bitmap editing, enhanced batch processing, and Windows 8, Mac OS X, and Photoshop plug-in compatibility.
Setting up IconWorkshop includes choosing icon file associations, with an option to automatically repair incorrect associations (something we'd like to see in other programs, too). We could also choose a Mac OS option. IconWorkshop lets you open, modify, and save Mac OS-compatible icons as well as convert them to BinHex and Windows ICO. Clearly, this is a program that takes icons seriously! That impression was strengthened by well-configured user interface that follows the popular Explorer-style layout, with a Web-style toolbar, a tree view/navigation sidebar to the left of the main window, and palettes and tools on the right. We clicked Windows Icon under Create New Projects on IconWorkshop's comprehensive Start Screen. A detailed wizard screen started us off on what proved a remarkably easy process, considering the dizzying array of choices. Anyone who has used photo or graphics editors, drawing programs, and similar tools won't have any trouble with IconWorkshop's layout or features, but a top-quality Help file and manual is a click away.
Making icons with IconWorkshop is easy and fun. Obviously, there's an art to the design process, too, since detail gets lost or blurred when sizing icons. But Axialis IconWorkshop has every step covered when it comes to creating icons for Windows -- or, better yet, your smartphone. And how cool is that?
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Axialis IconWorkshop 6.80.
Icon creation has evolved. Use the industry standard to create, extract, convert, manage icons for Windows, MacOS and toolbars. It supports all existing icon formats up to Windows Vista (256x256 PNG compressed icons) and Macintosh OSX Lion (1024x1024). If you are a developper, you will appreciate a plugin which permits working efficiently with Visual Studio. It creates a bridge with the VS IDE to enhance your workflow. It is the only icon editor which permits creation and edition of Image Strips for toolbars. Do not struggle with wide bitmaps anymore! Just open them in IconWorkshop and edit each icon separetely. Use drag and drop to easily create attractive icons from various ready to use image objects in seconds. Several packs of image objects is included in the product (more than 2000 objects). A powerful editor permits to create icons using many tools including numerous filters and effects. Once an image is created, add several images formats in one click. Create icons from images with alpha transparency (PNG, PSD, J2000, BMP, GIF). Create PNG, JPEG 2000 and Web optimized GIF images from icons. If you work with Photoshop and Illustrator, you can import PSD images with layers and use the plugins to transfer images in memory and make your icon in a few clicks. 10 Photoshop Templates permits to create your icon with different formats in Photoshop and transfer them in one step to create your icon. Numerous batch procedures have been implemented in IconWorkshop to automatically perform operations on a large number of files. Convert several icons between Macintosh and Windows OS in seconds. Use a powerful librarian to easily manage all your icon and library (ICL) files. A file explorer permits to browse disks and work with files (images, icons, programs...). This explorer displays files in thumbnail preview mode. Use an exhaustive help system including getting started lessons, how to procedures and the reference manual.
What's new in this version:
- Windows 8 Interface
- Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS6 compatible plug-in
- Bug fixes.