In case you didn’t already know, I love customizing my Windows environment. Any little trick or technique to change the look and feel of my system, I’m on it. Changing up themes, boot up splash screens, icons, wallpaper changers cursor libraries and even alternative toolbars and browsers.

I hope you like changing things up as well, because today’s Download of the Week article is going to give you the tools to completely create your own icons, as well as, animated cursors. I know I have run a free icon creator in the past, but IconArt v2.0 just came out and has really put the screws to any competition. It’s hard to believe that this is a free program.

IconArt created by ConWare Pro is a great program that will blow you away from the first icon you make. The tools are laid out in a similar way to any other printing or image editing program, with a complete set of common editing tools. This will allow anyone with any sort of experience with these types of programs to whip out icons from the word “GO!”

Even creating cursors couldn’t be easier. Basically, all you have to do is choose “create cursor” and then choose whether you want it simple or animated. If you choose animated, simply create a number of icons to represent the different animation frames (very easy). There is a preview button, so you can see how the whole thing plays out and where additional editing may be needed.

IconArt has a few really cool features. One being that you can extract icons from .dlls and .exe files, which means that it can extract icons out of programs, which is really cool. Within 10 minutes of having this program installed, I made three icons: one from a Web site, one from a program in the Programs folder and the other from a large image I had taken. By the time another five minutes had elapsed, I had created a fully animated cursor and saved and loaded it. I’ve never made a cursor in my life.

Here is a complete list of IconArt v2.0 features:

· Gradient color tool
· Detailed color pallet options
· Icon Assimilator – save multiple icon images in the same *.ico file
· Full animated mouse cursor support
· Full static mouse cursor support
· Take icons to the max with sizes from 16² to 64²
· Extract icons from .exe and .dll files.
· Web based update program offering instant updates and icon packs
· Simple layout – Microsoft Paint style drawing tools
· Multiple color depth options for different applications
· Import images from picture or clipboard
· Assign icons to folders
· Add text
· Move, rotate and flip icons
· Scale image between grid sizes
· Full icon transparency
· Easy access to reference file
· Free for personal use

Don’t have a ton of experience with image editing programs or maybe feel that this is going to be over you head? Well, don’t fret. The program has an abundance of technical resources that include Support Pages, Reference Guide and a contact e-mail. Not to mention, once you see the interface and play around with the program for 20 minutes, you’ll be getting around it like it’s your old neighborhood.

Give IconArt a try. I think you’ll be amazed at how easily and quickly you can drastically change the look and feel of your system. This program has gotten rave reviews from a number of reputable sites, which include positive review after positive review from end users, such as yourself.

I hope you enjoy IconArt. It’s a fabulous program and think how cool you’ll be with an icon that looks just like you!

You can download this fine program here.

~Chad Stelnicki

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