Reviews
Icon Editors

Icon Editor Shootout Review

While most image editors could be used to create small icons, an icon tool is a utility which is (almost) exclusively devoted to designing icons, and has special features and tools designed to make quick work of small icon design.

Microangelo, RealWorld, and Axialis have made generous discounts available to supporting DonationCoder.com members (up to 50% off) through November 2006: Learn more..

Review by HamRadio

 

INTRODUCTION

Which Icon Editor should I use?

While I'm not comfortable recommending a single best Icon Editor, this review will introduce the top icon editors available for Windows, and discuss their pros and cons. It will be up to you to decide which one best suits your needs.

There are some very good icon editor's available today, both commercial and freeware. In this review I will look into a few of the commercial and freeware icon editors available on the internet today. The icon editors that will be reviewed are: HeavenTools AWicons Pro, Axialis IconWorkshop, Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset, RealWorld Icon Editor, Newera IconCool Studio, Aha-Soft IconLover, CursorArts IconForge, LiquidIcon XP, and SnIco Edit.

About the .ICO Format

Icons have common uses such as application icons, CD-ROM icons, favorite icons on websites and more. The icon format is designed to support multiple images - in essence it is a container, which holds all the information on each different version of the same image. Icon color depths, folder views, operating system and resolutions, are tied directly into the users system. Those factors contribute to the location and how the icon will be displayed.

Icon editors implement functions missing from most image editors like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. For instance, icon editors can create or modify icons from scratch while being able to take common graphic files and convert them into icon files. While you can use a photoshop plugin in any image editor, an icon editor could be the right choice for you.

The new Windows Vista that is coming out next year will support twelve icon formats. One is the 256x256 icon which will seem a bit "large" on a 96-DPI screen, but keep in mind that technology has been designed for future screens. For example future LCD screens will support resolutions up to 240/320 DPI. Windows XP allows 24-bit color and 8-bit alpha transparency information, and the older Windows versions makes them to non-transparancy with a restricted color palette. With the icon format you may have multiple color depths and pixel dimensions. That avoids having the operating system into forcing a single image into different sizes and restricted color selection.

 

TOP ICON TOOLS


HeavenTools AWicons Pro 9.3.0
License/Price Personal/$39.95 USD and Business/$60.00 USD
Upgrades Free Lifetime
Has Trial Yes, 30 days.
Support Support Link
Supported OS's Microsoft Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP
Pros
  • Built-in librarian for collection management.
  • Can also create cursors and animated cursors.
  • Can preview the icon with different background colors without changing zoom using the built in Navigator.
  • Different opened history lists for Cursors, Executeable Resources, Icons, Images and Libraries.
  • Has twelve gradient styles.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Several tutorials that will get you started.
Cons
  • Can not be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can not load Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro Swatches/Palettes.
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Has a single document interface allowing only one file to be opened at a time.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
  • No support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression?.
awicons1 awicons2 awicons3

It's not clear if Windows Vista icons are supported. There is no way to make certain fixed intervals on the grid look darker than the other grid lines, which can help in figuring out the position of an icon.

Heaventools AWicons Pro has 12 types of gradients for use in their icon editor. I could not find a save gradient feature in AWicons Pro. There are lots of gradient types, but the gradient feature is still limited as if you wanted to save a gradient effect so you could load it again easily I found no way of doing that. Which is a small feature, but could turnout to be a huge timesaver if implemented.

Overall Heaventools AWicons Pro is a tool that is written well for the most part. The interface provided seemed like it could be efficient after you get used to not being able to work with it full screen as you cannot maximize it. Has plenty of tools you can use to create and edit icons with. Only one file can be edited at a time without opening the program again.

 

Axialis IconWorkshop 6.0.3
License/Price Personal/$39.95 USD and Corporate/$69.95 USD
Has Trial Yes, 30 days.
Upgrades Free Lifetime
Support Support Link
Supported OS's Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/2000/ME/98/NT4 and 95 OSR2 if Internet Explorer 4.01+ and Microsoft ComCtl32 v4.72+ are installed.
Pros
  • Batch conversion from and to macintosh icons and windows icons.
  • Batch creation of icons from images using built-in explorer.
  • Built-in librarian for collection management.
  • Built-in file Explorer with preview.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can create icon snapshots (for showing all icons with one graphic on a website).
  • Can preview the icon at Scale 1:1 with different background colors without changing zoom.
  • Create icon libraries that require an activation code with the corporate version.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Load Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro Swatches/Palettes.
  • Has a multiple document interface allowing more files to be opened at once.
  • Has Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator plug-in.
  • Quickly create icons using "Object Packs".
  • Quickly open files using the "Recently Used Bar" and/or "Favorites".
  • Several tutorials that will get you started.
  • Support for Macintosh icons up to Tiger (256x256 with JP2 compression).
  • Support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression up to 256x256.
Cons
  • Does not have a color history.
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Does not have multiple file history lists.
  • Does not have user input values for custom brush sizes only predefined.
  • Does not have the ability to create cursors and animated cursors.
workshop9 workshop1 workshop2 workshop3 workshop4 workshop5 workshop6 workshop7 workshop8 workshop10

Axialis IconWorkshop has a interface called "Axialis Software User Interface" and it allows you to select one color for the "User Interface Type" to base the rest of the interface on and if you simply do not like how it does you can turn it back to the Standard Windows User Interface in the preferences. Along with the user interface you can change the backgrounds of the full screen mode when of when you open a media file using the full screen, the document windows background, and also the Scale 1:1 Preview background.

The grid in Axialis IconWorkshop can also have stronger lines at certain fixed intervals with the value being in pixels in which you control by changing a number or even disabling it if you do not like it at all in the preferences. The default for the stronger grid lines is eight. The stronger lines being enabled helps when drawing icons as it can be used as a good reference to count the number of pixels that a certain place in the icon is in a specific direction.

Axialis IconWorkshop has five gradient types you can choose from. I saw where you could save color swatch gradients, but this does not appear to be the same as saving gradient colors for easy using. The gradients will do a good job however for most stuff but if you want to do some advanced gradient effects then it would take a few more steps to achieve it. You can save 32-bit dlls from icon library files directly from the program starting with version 6.03.

Overall Axialis IconWorkshop was written well also. It was easy to jump right into it and start creating and editing icons. I have had good success working with it while writing this review. The object packs are a good addition that novice users will find that will come in handy while they are learning icon design. They are also good to get the creativity flowing when you don't have any ideas on what you want an icon to look like. Most of the interface seemed to provide efficient work flow. Allows more than one icon file to be opened at a time.

The Corporate Edition (the one I reviewed) has all the features and permits to create commercial/shareware applications, not the Personal Edition. For the difference between Personal and Corporate it is recommended you check out the difference in each edition for more info.

 

Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset 6.0
License/Price Single/$49.95 USD
Has Trial Yes, 21 days. If you need more, then you may ask for a 10 day extension.
Upgrades Free updates thru your version number then its an upgrade price of $29.95.
Support Support Link
Supported OS's Microsoft Windows 98 through Windows Vista
Pros
  • Can also create cursors and animated cursors.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Has a color finder that allows you to find all of a certain color in an icon.
  • Has a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Has a explorer tool that can list the number of objects in certain files.
  • Has a librarian tool for collection management.
  • Has eleven gradient files you can select.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression up to 256x256.
Cons
  • Can not load Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro Swatches/Palettes.
  • Does not have a color history.
  • Does not have many shortcuts to go to different brushes and etc.
  • Does not have user input values for custom brush sizes only predefined.
  • Has a single document interface allowing only one file to be opened at a time.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
  • No customizable zoom.
toolset1 toolset2 toolset4 toolset5

Eclipsit uses several different created exe's in their Microangelo Toolset to provide some of what is built into the other two commercial icon editors I looked at. The interface uses the default windows look and doesnt have their own look added to it. There is no way to make certain intervals of the grid to look darker than the other lines. The color finder also seems like a nice tool which allows the user to find all of a certain color in an icon. You can rename a created .icl from this program to .dll in a file explorer and it will be a 32-bit dll.

Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset has 2 types and has some preset color values you can load. You can just as easily create and save gradient files which would allow for faster icon designing as you could save your favorite gradient you made to a file then re-open it whenever you need it. It also has a cool way of applying the gradient.

Overall Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset is a set of well written programs. Some of the stuff could be confusing to new icon artists for a little while until they get used to it. You can only edit one icon file with multiple formats in a window at a time without launching the program twice. A thing that confused me a first was the undo, not with the feature itself but if you undo with the keyboard shortcut and let off with the CTRL key before the Z key you will toggle the Zero Opacity and then must hit Z again before you can paint again. Other than that the interface provided seemed to allow you to work efficient in most cases.

 

Newera IconCool Studio 3.0 Build 60926 (Reviewed Trial Version)
License/Price $39.95
Has Trial Yes, 30 days with nag screen.
Upgrades Free Lifetime
Support Support Link
Supported OS's Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, 2003, XP, Vista
Pros
  • Can also create cursors and animated cursors.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can create icon snapshots (for showing all icons with one graphic on a website).
  • Has a multiple document interface allowing more files to be opened at once.
  • Has Adobe Photoshop plug-in.
  • Has several image filters and effects.
  • Quickly open files using the "Recently Used Bar".
  • Several FAQ's that will get you started.
  • Support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression up to 256x256.
Cons
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Does not have many preferences from what I can tell from the trial version.
  • Does not have many shortcuts to go to different brushes and etc.
  • Does not have multiple file history lists.
  • Does not have user input values for custom brush sizes only predefined.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
  • If you want to choose a color from the color picker on the interface, then you must scroll to get to the non showing colors.
iconcool1 iconcool2 iconcool3

IconCool Studio has their own interface type that you cannot change, so if you do not like it then you are out of luck. The grid in IconCool Studio can also have stronger lines at a fixed interval of eight. The stronger lines being enabled helps when drawing icons as it can be used as a good reference to count the number of pixels that a certain place in the icon is in a specific direction. You can change the color of the selection and grid in the options.

IconCool Studio has 6 gradient types you can choose from. One of them is a image gradient which allows you to select an image and use it as the gradient. The gradients will do a good job however for most stuff but if you want to do some advanced gradient effects then it would take a few more steps to achieve it.

Overall the trial of IconCool Studio is written well, but it still has a long ways to go in my opinion. There are some stuff that makes creating and editing icons a little more in efficient, for instance the color picker in the main window you have to scroll up and down to get to other colors. It appeared to us that their is no scale 1:1 on the main screen as what is on it appears to shrink it down in width and height. If you try it out you may have to do like I had to do on my computer as the icons did not show up on the toolbar after installing it which turned out to be that the shortcuts had no start in folder entered in them, so it was looking for a data folder at the location of the shortcut. Allows more than one icon file to be opened at a time, which it puts into the list of opened icons at the right of the screen.

 

Aha-Soft IconLover 4.12 (Reviewed Trial Version)
License/Price $49.95 USD
Has Trial Yes, 30 days with nag screen.
Upgrades Unknown
Support Support Link
Supported OS's Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP/2003, 64 MB RAM, Pentium-333 MHz, 8 MB Hard Disk, True Color video mode.
Pros
  • Built-in librarian for collection management.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can preview the icon at Scale 1:1 with different background colors without changing zoom.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Has twenty-eight default gradient styles that you can modify.
  • Has a multiple document interface allowing more files to be opened at once which is placed as tabs.
  • Several how to tutorials that will get you started.
  • Support for Windows Vista icons with compression.
Cons
  • Does not have a color history.
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Does not have multiple file history lists.
  • Does not have user input values for custom brush sizes only predefined.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
iconlover1 iconlover2 iconlover3 iconlover4 iconlover5

The interface uses the default windows look and doesnt have their own look added to it. There is no way to make certain intervals of the grid to look darker than the other lines. It does have a perspective grid in which you turn on if needed and it would help with icon creation that needs a perspective. You can change the Scale 1:1 Preview background color. Easy one click access to switch between open documents is a nice feature also. You can rename a created .icl from this program to .dll in a file explorer, but it will only be a 16-bit dll.

Aha-Soft IconLover has 28 types of gradients for use in their icon editor. I could not find a save gradient feature in IconLover. The gradient types is plenty, but the gradient feature is still limited as if you wanted to save a gradient effect that you modified, so you could load it again easily I found no way of doing that. Which is a small feature, but could turnout to be a huge timesaver if implemented.

Overall the interface was written well and should be pretty efficient for you. The gradients are plenty and should aid when you need an icon with a gradient. Allows more than one icon file to be opened at a time, which it puts into tabs. The program is right up there, but please see our very important note later on in the review about the company.

Also, please note Aha-Soft, Icon Empire, and sibcode all appear to be the same company just under a different name, therefore only Aha-Soft was reviewed. Here is a list of programs that all appear to be from the same company mentioned above some if not most of them are icon programs others close to being icon programs. Kinda crazy..

  • Aha Soft ArtIcons and ArtIcons Pro, Aha Soft ArtCursors, Aha Soft IconXP, Aha Soft IconLover, Aha Soft IconUtils
  • Icon Empire Icon Craft, Icon Empire IconoMaker, Icon Empire Perfect Icon, Icon Empire Icon Processor, Icon Empire Pixel Editor, Icon Empire ICL-Icon Extractor, Icon Empire CustomIcons
  • Sib Icon Studio, Sib Icon Editor, Sib Icon Converter, Sib Icon Extractor, Sib Cursor Editor, Sib Icon Replacer

I first noticed Aha-Soft so I decided to review IconLover, which appeared like the best icon editor they made out of the comparison table.

See our warning about purchasing from Aha-Soft and related companies below.

 

RealWorld Icon Editor 2006.1
License/Price Home/$24.00 USD, Professional/$89.00 USD, and Corporate/$890.00
Upgrades For Home it is unknown, but for Professional and Corporate one year free upgrades.
Has Trial Yes, 30 days.
Support For Home it is unknown, but for Professional and Corporate one year of priority email support.Support Link
Supported OS's Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It is compatible with, but not supported on Windows Vista Beta 2, Windows NT4 SP6, Windows 2003, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME and Windows XP 64-bit. The program will not run on Windows 95 or earlier.
Pros
  • Great batch image conversion.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can easily create icons from 3D rendered images with transparency.
  • Can preview the icon using different background colors.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Several tutorials that will get you started.
  • Support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression up to 256x256.
Cons
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Does not have the ability to create cursors and animated cursors.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
  • You can not save an icon library.
realworld1 realworld2 realworld3

RealWorld Icon Editor has the ability to do 3D graphics and not just icons, which could be important to some users. For this review I will focus on the normal icon capabilities. The icon editor is a simple one, but it will get the job done. One thing that is cool about the icon editor is the projected shadow tool which helps in creating a shadow the way you want it based off the current icon. If you want to use drag and drop functionality like with Axialis IconWorkshop you must open an explorer window to drag the files from to New Raster Image File then once finished go up to the menu Icon and then select one of the "Create Icon" menu items. If you do not need that functionaility then you can do from the main screen "New Icon". This has all the basic stuff you would see in any icon utility like pencil, line, shape, selection, and erase tools. There is no way to make certain intervals of the grid to look darker than the other lines.

From the main menu you can choose to make an icon from an application or an image. You can also select Image to Icons then you can drag and drop image(s) from an explorer window to that part of the editor screen to automatically convert them to icons which is placed in the temp folder. The effect settings is different for each generated image. Once they are all created you can then drag them back out to where you want their location to be. Lastly, it is also possible to create icons with transparency from 3d rendered objects which is unique to the programs I reviewed.

Overall while it can edit 3D images, then convert them to icons it seems like it might be difficult for novice users without any 3D experience at first. The icon editor portion has the basic tools you need to create one from scratch or to edit one. The 3D aspect of creating icons sure creates a different look on how you create them if you can get use to it.

More screenshots: here.

 

CursorArts IconForge 7.23 (Reviewed Trial Version)
License/Price Single User/$37.95 + S & H and contact sales department about multiple user quantities.
Upgrades When you purchase a license to the full version of IconForge, you will have access to free online updates for at least one year following your purchase. Following that, you may extend your ability to download updates for a small upgrade charge.
Has Trial 20 days/uses.
Support Phone Number
Supported OS's Requires Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000 or XP (16-bit version for Windows 3.1/3.11 is also included with purchase)
Pros
  • Can also create cursors and animated cursors.
  • Can be maximized to provide a bigger workspace environment.
  • Can create distribution files and/or email files from within the program.
  • Can create and edit icon libraries with an installer.
  • Can create black and white icons for either Palm or WAP-type (e.g., cellular) devices.
  • Can create Windows CE Icons.
  • Can preview the icon at Scale 1:1 in another window.
  • Has plenty of brushes, gradients, image filters, effects and can even use standard plugins (e.g. Adobe Photoshop Plugins).
  • You can create black and white (2-color icons) for either Palm or WAP-type (e.g., cellular) devices.
Cons
  • Does not have a command line option that automates the replacement of icons in program files and libraries.
  • Does not have many shortcuts to go to different brushes and etc.
  • Does not have multiple file history lists.
  • No support for Macintosh icons.
  • No support for Windows Vista icons with PNG compression.
iconforge1 iconforge2 iconforge3 iconforge4

IconForge can not export a .icl and then rename it to a .dll file in a file explorer to get a 32-bit icon dll in the version I reviewed only 16-bit. You would have to find a seperate program for converting an icon library to a 32-bit dll currently.

Overall the interface was written pretty good and should be pretty efficient for you. The gradients are plenty and should aid when you need an icon with a gradient. Allows more than one icon file to be opened at a time, which it puts into tabs. There is no way to make certain intervals of the grid to look darker than the other lines. One thing unique about CursorArts IconForge is the ability to create Windows CE icons, Palm, and WAP-type devices.

 

LiquidIcon XP 1.04
License/Price Free
Upgrades Last Free Version
Support Unknown
Supported OS's Windows 98, 2000, XP
Pros
  • Includes a gradient maker.
Cons
  • Can only create a multi-icon resource after you make each icon and save it.
  • Can only create/edit one icon at a time.
  • Does not include many filters that you can use on the icon.
liquidicon1

LiquidIcon has some basic icon editing tools such as oval, circle, square, and rectangle. Other tools include flood fill, eye dropper, selection, gradient, flip, rotate. The effects menu has add text, buttonize, and capture. You can also save as a windows cursor or bitmap. In the end it is a basic icon editor, but can get the job done for simple stuff.

 

SnIco Edit 2.2.8
License/Price Free for non commercial use.
Upgrades Free
Support Support Link
Pros
  • Can also create cursors and animated cursors.
  • Can use different palettes that is included in the program along with saving your own.
  • Has multiple languages for people in other countries.
  • Has a tabbed interface for quickly switching back and forth between documents.
  • Has the ability to do icons up to 32bit.
Cons
  • Can preview the icon at Scale 1:1 with only opaque or transparent.
  • Does not close icon when you click the icon window close button.
  • Does not include a gradient maker.
  • Does not include a completed/up-to-date help file in the initial download.
  • Does not include many filters that you can use on the icon.
  • Does not uncheck the menu items in the "Windows" menu when you close a window (e.g. the palette).
snicoedit1

Overall this product is written well and can create cursors and animated cursors. You can also use different palettes that is included or even save your own. It also has a multiple document inferface with tabs to switch back and forth between open documents. Can preview the icon at a scale of 1:1. Can create multi-icon resources without having to save each one first and load into a seperate form.

 

DISCUSSION

The commerical software packages will produce absolute top quality ICO files. Overall, each has a nice set of features in them with some being common to each one. It is worth downloading the trials of the commercial icon editors to get accustomed to the features and interface, because each will appeal to a certain type of user.

If you are looking to create only cursors and still want to be able to create icons if ever needed with just one product; then Axialis IconWorkshop is not the product for you. You would need a seperate Axialis product to be able to create a cursor. AWicons Pro, Microangelo Toolset, IconCool Studio, IconForge, and IconLover has this support built-in.

Axialis has a good thing going with Object Packs which allows novice users to create professional looking icons fast. Basically with Object Packs if you use the librarian and select one of the object pack directories you can drag and drop already created parts of icons into the project you are working on. If you do them in the correct order you will end up with a professional looking icon in a short amount of time. You can also do this with RealWorld Icon Editor if you use an explorer window that can drag and drop between programs to open them.

Axialis IconWorkshop and IconCool Studio has a feature that allows you to automatically create a snapshot of the icons in a simple or detailed view. This basically creates a image showing all the selected icons in a library or shows all of the icon formats in a icon file. You just need to specify some options then it creates it and you need to save it then it as simple as adding it to your website where you want to. People then can look at your website to see what the icons look like before they download them if you offer them for downloading. This feature is also a huge timesaver when you have a whole lot of icons that you need to show to people. The one in IconWorkshop however is a more customizable than the one in IconCool Studio from what I could tell.

As far as command line arguments go, Axialis IconWorkshop, Heaventools AWicons Pro, Newera IconCool Studio, CursorArts IconForge, and Aha-Soft IconLover appeared not to have any advanced command line arguments. Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset can modify/replace icons on the fly through the command line if you set it up in a programming language editor or you can even do it afterwards. This could be handy for software developers looking to do that also.

When you rename/export a icon library file (.icl) to .dll for use with windows or for other programs that can use icon libraries that has a dll extension the dlls made with Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset and Axialis IconWorkshop are the only ones that worked with a program that supported only 32-bit icon dlls. Heaventools AWicons Pro, Newera IconCool Studio, CursorArts IconForge, Aha-Soft IconLover from my tests only created a 16-bit icon library. RealWorld Icon Editor appeared not to have support for any icon libraries.

If you are looking for a good import and converting to the icon format RealWorld Icon Editor has a couple options for batch import and create icons from image files that may make it the best in the image to icon converting side. You can automatically get the program to optimize the icon output for light background, along with having a per-image edge enhancements like shadow-like effects. It also has a pre-XP image format optimization.

Axialis IconWorkshop, Heaventools AWicons Pro, Newera IconCool Studio, and Aha-Soft IconLover have a comprehensive getting started guides and should be helpful also. Axialis IconWorkshop has three topics they recommend you read about icons and then a step-by-step tutorial which has fourteen steps which shows you how you can do certian tasks. Heaventools AWicons Pro has one topic and then a step-by-step tutorial which has six steps. Aha-Soft IconLover has eight topics in their how to section of the help. Newera IconCool Studio has several faqs that should help you get started. CursorArts IconForge has ten How-tos, but most is not about icons. I could not find a comprehensive getting started guide in the help that is included with Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset.

Overall, both novices and professionals alike should be able to jump right into Axialis IconWorkshop, Heaventools AWicons Pro, IconCool Studio, and Aha-Soft IconLover. The lack of a comprehensive getting started guide in the help file for Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset could be a possible drawback to novice icon artists. RealWorld Icon Editor adds a new twist to icon editing with 3D stuff, which could also be a drawback to novice icon artists, but it does have basic icon creation ability without having to get into the 3D part for novices. RealWorld Icon Editor is geared more toward the professional icon artist who can work with 3D. Other than that they are all really great products and it was a very close battle. CursorArts IconForge might seem a little confusing at first to a novice also.

 

 


SUMMARY

 

It's hard to go wrong with any of these top tools. If I had to make a recommendation about a single best commercial tool, I might lean towards recommending Axialis IconWorkshop even though it does not have support for cursor files. Followed by Eclipsit Microangelo Toolset, Heaventools AWicons Pro, Newera IconCool Studio, CursorArts IconForge, Aha-Soft IconLover.

One very important note about Aha-Soft and their IconLover product: We tried a number of times to contact them with questions. They were completely unresponsive. We would be hesitant in recommending this company if you think there is a chance you might need to contact them for support.

If you are looking for a neat way to create icons with 3D or if you would rather design your icons with a 3d program that allows you to freely rotate your art to how you want it to look as an icon, then you should definitely give RealWorld Icon Editor a try. RealWorld Icon Editor also has some of the best batch image to icon creation tools.

If I had to make a recommendation of the freeware/donationware tools it would be SnIco Edit, but remember it is for non-commercial use only if you want to use it for free. Followed by LiquidIconXP which is a basic tool and has a long way to go before it can compete with the commercial products, but it might be a reasonable alternative for lightweight use (I understand that the next version may be a commercial product).


DISCOUNTS: Microangelo, RealWorld, and Axialis have made generous discounts available to supporting DonationCoder.com members (up to 50% off) through Novemeber 2006: Click here to access the discounts..

Review by HamRadio

 

GO BACK TO REVIEWS..

 

Disagree with this review? Discuss it in the forum section associated with this review.

DonationCoder.com | About Us