What do most software programmers on Mac use for icon making?

Gary King

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 14, 2004
495
1
Ever since I moved to the Mac world, everything seems to be a lot more beautiful. I mean, that's obvious, right? But, where do the programmers get the icons from? I suppose they make them? Sometimes contract out? But, for instance, when I make software, I usually just make a quick one myself since it usually isn't my primary focus - especially for freeware.

So, just curious, is there an icon editor that magically makes amazing, OS X icons, or something? :)
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,587
57
Harrogate
Pro software (including a lot of shareware) will have icons designed by graphics professionals in Photoshop/Illustrator and the like. Personally I have a mix of photographic elements (in some icons), compositions of existing icons and totally hand drawn (in Illustrator).

There is no magic, just hard work :(
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,587
57
Harrogate
1) Because they can get away with it!
2) Because they have to support the legacy of users not running at 24/32 bit colour (OSX users can pretty much be assumed to do this).
3) Size. OSX icons are 128x128 pixels (Tiger is meant to support 256x256, but Icon Composer does not seem to). I think XP can support this, but 2k can't so they are stuck with smaller pixel count.
 

iindigo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
719
10
San Francisco, CA
I use Photoshop with the IconBuilder plugin. I create the icon in Photoshop and then export it as an icon with IconBuilder.

And no, there is no "magic wand" for making awesome icons, just a lot of hard work.

Another reason Mac OS X has nicer icons is because 90% of Mac developers are almost obsessive with having a very nice GUI that fits in with the Mac experience. Creating ugly icons for your app is actually a good way to discourage the use of your app in the Mac world -