I frequently use Paint.Net to make icons for cell phone apps that I make for my own purposes (i.e. not official Visual Construction Media apps). Paint.Net is a great little program, worthy of articles all by itself. Today I wanted to pass along a couple quick tips that might be obvious to most but could be helpful to a few others like me.

When I need an icon, I usually start with Image, Canvas Size to set the size of the icon.

Icons frequently need to be on a transparent background. A very quick way to do that is Edit, Select All followed by Edit, Erase Selection.

I sometimes want to make a symmetric blob of color centered on the transparent background. A very quick way to accomplish that is to draw something in one quarter of the canvas on top of a transparent background. Then I use:

  • Edit, Select All
  • Edit, Copy
  • Image, Flip Horizontal and/or Vertical
  • Edit, Paste in to New Layer
  • Layers, Merge Layer Down

Or instead of flipping horizontally and/or vertically, you can get rotational symmetry by using Image, Rotate. And you can apply effects to the copies, etc.

A happy chef

Well, I did promise these tips would be quick. You can obviously spend a lot more time and money, and sometimes that is justified, but these tips have helped me generate simple icons quickly and cheaply when the occasion called for it. Maybe they’ll help you also.

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