RealWorld Icon Editor - what's new in latest version

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RealWorld Icon Editor 2010.1

Released on July 12th 2010.

The notable new feature of this version are layers. Layers (with effects) can be used when editing individual pictures or entire icons. The image to icon convertor user interface was simplified and displays live preview of the generated icon.

The built-in 3D editor is capable of automatically multiplying objects and it is now much easier to create things composed of multiple similar parts - like pyramids, grass, or shells.

The new version is also available as fully portable, no-installation zip package and works on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (there are minor limitations in look and feel on Windows 2000). Native 64-bit edition is available.

New features

  • Layers - layers (with any effects applied) can be used when working with images and icons.
  • Better image to icon conversion - the convertor has a new user interface, with less controls and live preview. Algorithm tweaks result in crisper images.
  • New drawing tools - a bunch of new drawing tools (LASSO, MOVE, FILL, SELECT with XXX]) from RWPaint.
  • Better TEXT tool - able to draw rotated text.
  • Updated color picker - user selectable range and accuracy of colors. History of last used colors.
  • Simpler material panel for 3D - the material panel was simplified and it is now easier to make transparent objects.
  • Iterator for 3D objects - a component in a 3D object can be multiplied and parametrized in the process. This can be used to create things like grass.
  • Usability improvements in 3D editor - new rotation method, better working component selection in 3D window.
  • Translations - the application user interface can be translated into any language and shared by the community.
  • Smarter wizards - creation of new images and icons is faster and simpler (no more useless popup windows).
  • Improved Undo - undo multiple steps at once. Steps have names based on the performed action or used tool.
  • Media library panel - a panel with the contents of the media library is accessible when editing images or 3D objects.
  • Redesigned Online page - the Online page now contains tutorials, downloadable media and plug-ins.

Fixed errors

  • Blur filter incorrectly duplicated pixels on right side and bottom of an image.
  • Numerous minor bugfixes...

Known problems

  • Windows 64-bit: Conversion between different color depths is slower.
  • Windows 64-bit: Adobe Photoshop-compatible filters are not supported by this edition.
  • Combination of texture and material is interpreted differently in OpenGL a raytracing rendering device. Implementation in OpenGL may be altered in future versions.
  • An attempt to open 63 windows simultaneously hangs the application.

RealWorld Icon Editor 2008.1

Released on May 15th 2008. Old version archive.

This version introduces support for icon libraries (.icl files) and a completely redesigned raster image editor with arbitrary selections, sub-pixel precision for shape coordinates, tablet pressure support, mouse gestures, and modern look and feel. Another notable feature is the ability to store created files in database and attach tags to these files. Application help is now web based.

Support for older Windows systems was dropped. The new version is fully supported on Windows XP and Vista and works with minor limitations on Windows 2000. Native 64-bit edition is available.

New features

Raster editor related:

  • Image masks (selections) - create and modify selection using tools. Selection is used by image filters, either native or Adobe Photoshop-compatible filters.
  • Arbitrary editor zoom - raster editor displays image using non-integral zoom factors.
  • Mouse gestures - mouse gestures can be used to run filters, change active tool, fill style or draw mode, undo, redo, apply, etc.
  • Tool presets - tool+fill style+drawing mode+active colors can be stored as a named preset.
  • Powerful scripting - scripting capabilities enhanced. Adjust RGB, add border, motion blur, bevel and other filters are using scripting and are still fast.
  • New image filters - soft glow, blur (arbitrary radius), remove details, watermark, auto-contrast filters.
  • New tools - new tools for cloning, retouching, cropping, painting with brush (includes tablet pressure support).
  • Updated old tools - transformation tool can rotate and apply perspective, flood-fill has multiple matching modes.
  • Sub-pixel precision for tools - coordinates need not to be integral.
  • Control handles for many tools - after drawing a shape, control handles can be used to further modify it (only possible for the last drawn shape).
  • Fill styles - shapes can be filled with patterns and configurable gradients.
  • Color swatches - add standard or currently used colors, save and load swatches.
  • Capture desktop wizard - create new documents by capturing entire desktop, then create icon from selected part.
  • Extensibility - drawing tools and fill styles are plug-ins.


  • Mac OS Leopard icon format - edit 512x512 pixels icons.
  • Export to all .bmp flavors - export 4-bit or 8-bit RLE compressed .bmps, optionally with dithering.
  • Tooltips for dragged files - when dragging files from Explorer to RWIE, a tooltip informs you what will happen after drop (>10 different actions available).
  • Tooltips for dialog controls - context help for dialog controls is available as tooltips (can be turned off in options).
  • Batch mode enhancements - new op: extract icons from all dropped files. 2 custom operations instead of one + ability to export and import the custom ops.
  • Icon libraries (.icl) - open/save/add icon/remove icon/modify icon/export icon + scripting ability for your own custom actions.
  • Thumbnails for recent files - more recent files and much nicer user interface for opening them.
  • Tagged storage - ability to store files in database and attach tags to them. The built-in media library is available through the tagged storage.
  • Keyboard control for 3D editor - arrow keys (+SHIFT or CTRL) and PageUp, PageDown move selected grip points in space.
  • Using Segoe font in application windows on Vista.

Fixed errors

  • Improved compatibility for Adobe Photoshop filters.
  • Save icon in Mac format does not fail on the first attempt to do so.
  • Numerous minor bugfixes...

RealWorld Icon Editor 2006.2

Released on February 12th 2007. Old version archive.

This version features improvements on all fronts. The application user interface is both simpler and more streamlined, there are new image filters, drawing tools, Mac OS icon support, batch operations, the ability to parameterize 3D models and more.

The free upgrade period for professional and corporate licenses was extended to 2 years (applied retroactively). Owners of personal licenses can upgrade to latest version for 6 USD. Price of new personal licenses was increased to 29 USD.

RealWorld Icon Editor allows designing icons for Windows Vista and is fully compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Learn more about the high DPI modes supported in Vista.

New features

  • Polygon drawing tool - draw polygon outlines, filled polygons or polygons filled with alternate color using defined joins style and line width.
  • Preview for image filters - filters and transformations can be configured to display preview of the result.
  • CMYK JPEGs supported - the application can read JPEG images in CMYK colorspace.
  • New and improved image filters - the drop shadow and convolution-based filters are now faster and more user friendly.
  • Mac OS icon format support - .icns and .bin icon files are supported.
  • Run filter on every component - allows to apply filters for example on every image in an icon at once.
  • Simplified image->icon conversion - checkboxes let you quickly choose formats to create.
  • Upload icon to online icon library - share your icons with others directly from the application.
  • Customize other applications - replace (or add) any icon in any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows executable file.
  • Using Adobe Photoshop compatible filters - the editor can run image filters compatible with Adobe Photoshop software. List of compatible filters.
  • New modifiers in 3D editor - 3D grid for grip points and rotation around specified axis.
  • Easier material and texture specification - material properties of an 3D object can be specified from a user friendly panel.
  • Improved camera controls - new modes for camera control in Rendered Image.
  • Multiple snapshots for rendered images - one document can hold multiple snapshots with different parameters.
  • Parameterized 3D models - the Unicorn3D module handling parameterization was improved and Rendered Image documents are able to make use of the parameters.
  • Batch operations - create icon from image, convert Windows and Mac OS icons, create previews of icons, extract images from icons, or define custom batch operation.
  • Faster startup - startup times should decrease considerably on systems with lots of installed programs.
  • Context help - context help available in the main window using help menu or toolbar button.
  • Plug-in manager - utility able to reset configuration and enable or disable external plug-ins. Create your own plug-ins with RealWorld SDK.

Fixed errors

  • Text drawing now correctly supports styles and multiple lines of text at once.
  • Ray-tracing renderer fixes for small triangles, scale transformations and clipping plane problems.
  • Numerous minor bugfixes...

RealWorld Icon Editor 2006.1

Released on April 14th 2006. Old version archive.

This version features major improvements in image editing, image to icon conversion, and general user interface. Application behaves as a standard image editor without distinct view and edit modes and it has more built-in image filters and operators. Image to icon conversion was improved both internally and externally and is better accessible thanks to a simple wizard and a batch image to icon convertor. Application menu and toolbars are now fully configurable and fine-tuned to each scenario.

New version of RealWorld Icon Editor helps designing Windows Vista icons faster. Raster editor allows quick creation of a projected shadow and reflectivity can be specified for material in 3D models allowing realistic reflections of other objects in 3D scene.

New features

  • Light reflection, refraction - supported in raytracing renderer for better glass or water effects as well as general reflections.
  • Palette generation and dithering - improved for 16 and 256 colors icons. Application allows drawing with any color and automatically updates palette and dithers image.
  • Gamma correction - configurable in raytracing renderer and in image-to-icon convertor.
  • Alpha in JPEG2000 - is now fully supported.
  • Save to GIF - export image to GIF with transparency and selected number of colors.
  • Simplified image handling - image viewer and image editor scenarios were merged. Image files are opened for editing by default and are saved using original image file format if possible.
  • Projected shadow - this raster image editor tool allows quick creation of Vista-like projected shadows.
  • Open/save - add your own favorite folders and switch to them by single mouse click.
  • Icon from image internals - supports sizes from 1x1 to 256x256, including non-square proportions, keeps aspect ratio. Can apply soften or sharpen filters on per image basis.
  • Icon from image GUI - new wizard and batch processor.
  • 'Raster image editor improvements''' - includes "Paint under" blending mode, polyline with configurable joins and caps, ability to modify control points of curves and polylines. Coordinates displayed in status bar.
  • Configuration management - can export and import window layouts and menu commands.
  • Textures in 3D-text - textures (including bump-maps) can be used with 3D-text U3D module.
  • Image and icon mixing with drag and drop - if and image file is dragged from Windows Explorer to raster image editor, it is pasted as new selection into current image. Similar rule applies for icon files and list of icon images window.
  • Image transformations - rotation by arbitrary angle and perspective transformation.
  • Image filters - sharpening, blurring, smoothing, mean removal, drop shadow, motion blur, ... Filters are java-scripted and can be applied to entire image or selected rectangle (when editing images).
  • Configurable menus and toolbars - menu and toolbars are now part of window layout configuration.

Fixed errors

  • Finish in-progress image operation before saving.
  • Numerous minor bugfixes...

Known problems

  • When drawing text, options 'italics' and 'bold' are ignored unless the selected font supports them natively.
  • Windows 64-bit: Conversion between different color depths is slower.
  • Combination of texture and material is interpreted differently in OpenGL a raytracing rendering device. Implementation in OpenGL may be altered in future versions.
  • An attempt to open 63 windows simultaneously hangs the application.

RealWorld Icon Editor 2005.2.1

Released on August 20th 2005. Old version archive.

This update made RealWorld Icon Editor the first editor with Windows Vista icon format supported. Windows Vista uses large 256x256 images and reduces size of icon files using PNG compression.

New features

  • Raster editor zoom - minimum zoom factor in 2D raster image editor was lowered from 4x to 2x to allow more comfortable editing of large icons on small displays.
  • Compressed icons - application reads and writes PNG-compressed icons used in Windows Vista. [screenshot: saving Vista icon]

RealWorld Icon Editor 2005.2

Released on August 6th 2005. Old version archive.

In this version, we focused on making application functionality better accessible. It is now easier to start working with the software and use its numerous features.

For this version, three license types are available: home, professional and corporate. Newly introduced is the home license with significantly lower price and full functionality. This license is for individuals, who intend to use the software for non-commercial purposes only.

New is also native support of Windows XP 64bit edition running on AMD Athlon A64, Intel Pentium 4 6xx and compatible processors.

New features

  • Drawing curves - this new tool in raster image editor draws smooth curves passing through specified points. Curves may have arbitrary width and smooth edges. [screenshot: drawing curves]
  • Linear filtering - raster image tool for moving and resizing of rectangular areas may now use linear filtering for higher quality results. This feature is available also as an ordinary document operation, that resizes/resamples whole image.
  • Filter "Colorize" - this new filter converts image to monochromatic version. [screenshot: colorize filter]
  • Improved user interface in raster image editor - more intuitive behavior when selecting color using color areas. Ctrl-A selects whole image, Ctrl-Z cancels unfinished move or curve operation. Selection can be moved with arrow keys.
  • 3D modeling - new basic shapes for faster 3D modeling: torus and tank. [screenshot: 3D primitives]
  • Faster transition from 3D object to rendered image - new operation automatically creates rendered image from 3D object.
  • Simplified camera handling in rendered images - camera is synchronized with scene browser view. Camera position can be transferred from 3D editor view by clicking on a toolbar button. Added a button for Y axis inversion.
  • Bump-mapping - raytracing rendering device can use normal-map texture for bump-mapping effect. Normal-texture is specified in Unicorn3D document as texture #2. [screenshot: bump-mapping]
  • Improved user interface in rendered image editor - when enabling or disabling transparent background, rendering device is automatically updated. New context menu items for more comfortable control.
  • Opening and saving documents - new buttons for fast switching to common directories.
  • Icons for layout - layout may have an associated icon.
  • Layout-dependent operations in main menu - layout-dependent operations are accessible from toolbar and also from "Document" menu.
  • New layout for icon editing - displaying multiple images from icon at once. [screenshot: icon editing]
  • Context help - for each layout, there is a help page with overview of typical actions. Help is shown when clicking a lightbulb icon from toolbar or main menu.
  • Automatic detection of new versions - the application may automatically once a week check if there is a new version or patch available.
  • Numerous minor improvements...

Fixed errors

  • Incorrectly remembered last layout.
  • Problems opening and saving files on some Windows versions.
  • Bad interpretation of specular component in 3D Studio files and raytracing.
  • Incorrect layout when opening in same window.
  • Undo failed in some cases when used with Unicorn3D documents.
  • Errors when hit-detecting control points in group with scale transformations.
  • Incorrect behavior when modifying nested rotations in 3D view.
  • Problems with negative numbers in scripted dialogs.
  • Numerous minor bugfixes...

Known problems

  • When drawing text, options 'italics' and 'bold' are ignored unless the selected font supports them natively.
  • Windows 64-bit: Conversion between different color depths is slower.
  • Combination of texture and material is interpreted differently in OpenGL a raytracing rendering device. Implementation in OpenGL may be altered in future versions.
  • An attempt to open 63 windows simultaneously hangs the application.
  • When using cursor keys to move between controls in drawing tool properties window, application may stop responding. Until this error is corrected, please use mouse when working with this window.

RealWorld Designer 1.2.2005.0417

Released on April 17th 2005. Old version archive.

First public version with these new features:

  • View and use control points from multiple groups simultaneously.
  • Export image to BMP format.
  • Rotation is editable in 3D view.
  • Create objects from basic shapes.
  • Showing associated control points when clicked a 3D object.
  • Symmetric NURBS surfaces.
  • Flood-fill with color gradient and tolerance.
  • Help and tutorials.
  • Library of icons and 3D objects.
  • Volatile alpha-channel in raster image.
  • Numerous minor changes...

RealWorld Designer 1.1.2005.0130

Released on January 30th 2005. Old version archive.

Internal version with these features:

  • Modify, extract and generate icons from images.
  • Import image from BMP, DDS, JPG, JPEG2000, PNG, TGA, TIFF, PCX, PSD.
  • Export image to PNG, JPG, JPEG2000.
  • Modify raster images using tools: pencil, lines, ellipses, rectangles, text, flood-fill, move and resize rectangular area.
  • Create 3D objects from NURBS surfaces and triangles.
  • Render 3D scene to image.
  • Configurable window layout.
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What about ICL files?