Icon Make-It. (Windows icon animation software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
Thanks to the efforts of third-party software makers, the Windows environment is slowly loosening up and having fun. Moon Valley Software's Icon Make-It is a perfect example The program puts you in the director's chair of a full-featured icon animation studio.
Like a mini movie studio, the program is divided into several modules, each specializing in various stages of production. Visit the icon editor to design your own 16-color creations on a 32- x 32-pixel grid, or import 1 of the 200 icons from the built-in clip art book. You can create or modify icons with a full set of standard drawing tools plus effects such as image shifting, borders, and frame advance. You can also create animated cursors, but I found them to be more annoying than entertaining. The editor interfaces directly with the animation studio, where you script your moves with up to 20 icon frames using VCR-style controls, variable-speed play-back, and a preview screen. Choose from 19 special visual effects such as zoom, dissolve, shatter, melt, colorize, rotate, mirror, and paint. Still want more? Try combining two movies - one in the foreground and another in the background - for a complex, multilayered effect.
Once assembled and recorded, animated icons are easily assigned to programs via a scaled-down version of Moon Valley's Icon Hear-It, which allows you to attach sound samples to your icons. Also included is a handy working demo of MCS Stereo Digital Recorder, a component-style Windows WAV sound recorder, player, and editor from Animotion Development.
Icon Make-It's greatest limitation is its incompatibility with shells other than Windows' Program Manager. It has limited success with Norton Desktop - animated icons must be reloaded with each new Windows session - and it doesn't work at all with such proprietary shells as Vitesse's Salvation. These are problems Moon Valley should quickly address, since alternative Windows shells are becoming more popular.
While it may not improve your productivity, Icon Make-It is undeniably fun to play with and adds some needed motion to a static Windows workplace.
Moon Valley Software (800) 473-5509 (602) 375-9502 $69.95
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