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GIMP design tutorial for making Apple icons for apps,iPHONE4 & iPAD

11 Sep

Summary

small cake

The final example icon for the apple apps

This post will cover using GIMP to make icons for the Apple iPHONE retina display, iPAD, iPHONE 3 and other Apple icons. It will show you how to make sure the Apple icons are the correct size and what treatments the Apple IOS gives to them. It also helps you understand – how to go about doing this, if like me you are new to the Apple world.

You will then be able to create a proper application icon for iPHONE 4 – which will display properly on all the Apple platforms. It will cover how we create an image, which will still look good after the Apple's OS has applied its "magic". These changes are put in for look & feel and to give consistency to Apples systems. However, coming from a design background where we are used to doing this for ourselves, its important to understand how to make something that Apple can use.

Whats the aim then – Hardlines ?

I must admit that I am new to the world of Apple and how things are done ! I cover elsewhere the new Retina screens dimensions and how to use double size images, to swap between iPHONE 3 and 4. I am a recent iPHONE convertee, having only bought one because I need to develop apps for it.

I am a recent iPHONE convertee, having only bought one because I need to develop apps for it.

overall I have been very impressed with the screen and graphics generally. But my work is all on windows based machines, with open source being used where possible, in this case GIMP. Of course this article would apply just as well to Photoshop, as the GIMP features will map straight to Photoshop.

The main aim here is to use GIMP to make our icons look nice – if you click on the EXAMPLE ICON
Example Icon

Anyone who has seen the apple iPHONE 3 or 4 will know that graphically its very slick, and indeed the icons have a rounded look, with a nice half moon splash highlight on them. It gives them depth and the glossy WEB 2.0 look and feel.

Graphics on a new device, especially a phone like the iPHONE has a steep learning curve. This article is all about trying to shorten that using simple best practices – for developers, coders and artists

What we want to achieve is an icon that looks the way we want it, which is difficult because Apple adds some unknown touches. Like depth, gloss etc.

This is an increasing area of interest, but with Apple doing so much "styling" on the device to give that slick retina look and feel – a guide such as this is needed on how to make pixel products for it.

I am working on just such a project for my latest commissions – and so sharing the techniques would seem to be natural

What will I need ?

checklist;

  1. GIMP 2.6 or later
  2. A plug in for GIMP to handle PSD files properly
  3. This PSD template HEREits an excellent piece of work and gives you the source template you need to style your icon shapes for Apple devices
  4. A target Apple device – if you want to preview the icons
 
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