Bits and pieces

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Bits and pieces

Published by on March 1st 2008.

A new version of RW Icon Editor is currently under development. Beside a couple of big new features, which will be discussed in their own posts, there are also going to be a numerous small ones…

Color swatches

This feature was missing in RealWorld Designer for a long time for two reasons. First, RW Icon Editor supports automatic palette generation and dithering, which allows users to paint with any color they like and the editor takes care of the rest. The second reason was the fact that the 2D raster image editor was not good enough to create really professional icons (which is the case with any currently available icon editor) and only served for minor adjustments and fine tuning. With enhancements to the editor, it makes sense to also support more user friendly color selections.

Active color is added by left clicking (or shift-clicking) on an empty space in the color swatches panel. Right click removes the clicked color. Color swatches can also be imported from files - Adobe Photoshop .aco files are partially supported.

The colors can be either in RGB or HLS color space and they contain alpha channel. Colors are stored as floating point values for a possible future support for HDR imaging.

Color swatches in RealWorld Icon Editor

Leopard icon format

Mac OS icons support a new larger format - 512×512 pixels. And so will the future version of RW Icon Editor.

.BMP exporter enhancements

The .bmp exporter was enhanced and the next version will be able to export to any of the Windows .bmp flavors, including 4-bits and 8-bits RLE encoded formats. When using these formats (or the 1-bit format), a palette is automatically generated and the image may be optionally dithered.

Blur & Fade filters

Blurs are performed using a convolution matrix in the current and previous versions. The next version will feature a specialized and much faster algorithm for blurring with configurable (non-integral) blur radius. While the blur filter is not extremely useful on its own, it plays an important role in composed operations. More examples will be given in future posts.

The Fade filter is a meta operation which allows users to choose the strength of another filter. The result of a filter is blended with the original image according to the given strength. In normal cases, the strength can range from 0 to 100%, but this filter also accepts values outside this range. By using negative weight a blur can be turned into sharpen, grayscale can be turned into color boosting operation, etc.

Batch operations enhancements

A single new predefined batch operation was added. It will be possible to extract all icons from all dropped files and folders in batch.

Besides that, there will be two slots (instead of one in version 2006.2) for custom batch operations. Configurations of these batch operations can be exported and imported. The file format for batch operations is compatible with RealWorld Photos.

3D enhancements

The 3D graphics editor will be basically the same, with only a few changes. Strings may be parameterized in U3D files, making it possible to parameterize for example textures or the 3D text.

Vector items in the Rendered Image documents (light colors and positions, camera, etc.) can now be modified partially by omitting components. For example typing ,,0.5 will only change the 3rd coordinate of a vector, keeping the others intact.

A function for exporting to .3ds files, which is currently available as a patch, will be an integral part of the application in the future version.

Summary

Even small pieces of functionality can make a difference. Nevertheless, more is on the way…

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I wish there were...
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Vista & Win 7 icons
What about ICL files?