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Application Notes 5


Section Contents

Icons as Bitmaps
You can save your own icons as bitmap images rather than as a standard ICO icon file. These bitmap images can be used in a wider variety of applications, such as web pages, than Windows icon files. Of course you can use single images in your web page, however, it is also possible to combine two or more bitmap "building blocks" into more complex images.

The following example will use two icons from the shareware version of Icon Library and combine them into a single image. The result will be saved as a GIF file ready for use in a web page. Photoshop is used for manipulating images, however, other image editing programs such as PaintShop could also be used.

  1. Extract two icons from Icon Library and save them as BMP files. Make sure to select Bitmap Files (*.BMP) for the File Type when saving these icon images. Two aircraft images used in this example are highlighted.

    Airplane Icons

  2. Save the first image.

    Save First BMP

  3. Save the second image.

    Save Second BMP

  4. You should now have two bitmap image files saved in your disk folder. Please note that if the icon file contains multiple icons then these will be stored as separate bitmap files. For example, if an ICO file contains three icons with image sizes of 16x16, 32x32 and 48x48 pixels then three bitmap images of the same sizes will be saved in your disk folder. Most of the icons in Icon Library will only contain a single 32x32 pixel image.

  5. Start Photoshop and create a new canvas of the required size.

    Started Photoshop

  6. Open both airplane BMP images in Photoshop

    Open BMP Files

  7. Select all of the first BMP image by highlighting the window containing the image and then typing a CTL-A. and use the Move Tool to drag the BMP image onto you new image. This will create a new layer containing an image of the first airplane.

    Dragged 1st Image to Canvas

  8. Repeat with the second BMP image. You should now have two airplanes on two separate layers on you new canvas.

    Dragged 2nd Image to Canvas

  9. Move the airplane images into their correct positions

    Move Images on Canvas

  10. Merge all the image layers into a single layer using the Photoshop Layer -> Flatten Image menu option.

  11. Select the Paint Bucket Tool and choose a suitable color for the sky backgroud. Fill the background.

    Fill Background

  12. Save the final image as either a JPG or GIF file.

  13. Here is example of a banner image used to advertise the previous version of Icon Library. It was created using multiple icons and Photoshop manipulation.

    Banner Example

  14. Quite complex images can be created using a larger number of icons as building blocks. The size of these icon building blocks are not as large as Clip Art so may not be suitable for all occasions, however, icons can be combined with Clip Art to form new custom images. It is also possible to increase the size of icon images but they will end up looking quite blocky. This may be the desired effect, or it may be possible to eliminate the blockiness with various Photoshop techniques. Possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination! :)

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