Have you ever been curious about how people make buddy icons? Ever want to make them but never knew where to start? Well follow this simple guide to get started making your own icons today!! AND if you make any alcohol related icons and want us to put them on the site, all you have to do is submit them.
To begin with you need a graphics editor (i.e. photoshop, fireworks, paint). Open a new document that is 50 pixels by 50 pixels having a transparent background and save it. The transparent background is necessary so that the icon matches in with the instant message box.
From here zoom in on the image to around 400 %. This allows you to put more detail within the icon and its easier then modifying a 50x50 image at 100%. If you already have an image you want to be a part of the icon, cut and paste it in the 50x50 box you created. To create new images and modify old ones you need to use the pencil tool found in the graphic program you use making sure that it uses a 1 pixel by 1 pixel tip (should be standard). From there just make the image you want in the colors you want, just realize the more colors you use, the larger the file will be.
Ok, so now you can make a rough image, but how do you get it to look smooth? This is where antialiasing comes in. What anti-aliasing consists of is making a picture look rounded out when it isn't in reality since a computer monitor is displayed in pixels and a pixel is a square area. How this is done is by placing pixels that are different shades around what you want curved to make the illusion that it is curved. Notice Figure 1-1. See how the red circle outlined in black is smoth on the regular picture and how it really is when magnified to 400%. See how different reds are used around it and different shades of black. Keep this in mind when you make your image.
Now you should have a basic grasp on how to make a flat icon image, but how do you make it move? Well this is accomplished much like how the animated shows on TV are done. Animation for computer animated images is done by having multiple frames in a GIF. How does this work? Well to show "motion" or what seems like it, each screen shows a slight change so that when you put all of them together it flows as movement. Check the diagram for example.