Monday, April 14, 2014

Creating beautiful drive icons. Simple and easy on OS X.

I've been asked how do I make such beautiful desktop drive icons on my mac. Pretty simply, I find a picture I like, remove the back-ground and copy-n-paste into the drive I want.

I've been doing this since 1996. 18 years now. NO need for .icns, .ico,  autorun.inf,  hidden text files, or folder.jpeg files. On Mac OS, it is copy-n-paste. With the advent of HiDPI Retina screens, my icons are usually 500x500 pixel high resolution and they look amazing.
Sure, it is skeuomorphic but I like it.

My technique and steps are pretty simple. Google the image (preferably high-res) and remove the background. Then copy-n-paste.

Here is a visual walkthrough.

Google/find your image. Preferably, get one with a solid color background.

Use your favorite image editing app. In my case, Photoshop. I select the white color range, then inverse the selection.

I then make a new 500x500 canvas and copy in the selected outline of the image.

Here, I have the new image in my new canvas and I save it out as a transparent PNG in case I need to use it again.

In some cases, when you google an image, you might be lucky and already find a transparent PNG. If that is the case, you can skip the whole Photoshop/Image editor step entirely.

Lastly, open your icon image. Copy, then paste over the drive. 

Get info on the folder, file, network share, or external drive. Then simply copy the contents of your clipboard image into the drive. See the highlighted blue outline in the "Get Info" of the icon on the top upper left. That is where you copy-n-paste your image into.

When you are finish, you'll have something like this.

I often like to have visual representation of what I'm connected to. For example, the actual product image of an SD card, USB stick. For server mounts, I'd sometimes like to see the computer like my Thinkpad "Z" samba share pictured. Its is all fun and good.

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