iPhone Developer Resource: Preview Application Icon 3D Effect

TipTotaler IconMy friend Dave Peixotto is in charge of coding and software repository work on our iPhone application development.  I am in charge of the marketing and business aspects of our software company, Neutrinos, LLC.

One of my tasks with the release of our recently submitted iPhone application, TipTotaler was to select an icon for our app.  As you may be aware from Apple’s iPhone application submission guidelines, you must include a flat 57 x 57 pixel and 512 x 512 pixel image for use on the iPhone and iPod Touch home screen and for the iTunes store.

alien_icon.gifThere are a couple of challenges for iPhone Application icon graphic designers:  First, it isn’t always easy to tell what will look good at both 512×512 and 57×57.  Second, having the developer rebuild and send updated screenshots is laborious as is monkeying around in Photoshop to eyeball how the images look at lower resolution with 3D effects.

In order to speed up the process, I put together an Adobe Photoshop macro aka ‘action’ that will quickly take any square image and apply similar 3D effects that Apple uses.  The 3D effects used on buttons on the iPhone home screen and the iTunes store application pages include rounded corners and a light sheen over rounded across the top third to one half of the button.  My macro automatically transforms any image into a 3D iPhone Application icon with these characteristics.

spider_icon.gifI’ve recorded a screen cast demonstration of how to use the macro using Jing.  You can view the screencast here.  Click the link below to download a zip file containing the Photoshop action macro and iPhone gallery image to test out your 3D button on.

Remember, your starting image must be a perfect square of any size prior to running the macro.  Questions? Watch the screencast above or post a comment.

->  Download iPhone Application Icon Preview Macro


  1. Wow. That saved me a lot of time. Can you also create an action for the 512×512 store display? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Absolutely amazing. Thanks so much! The funny thing is I think we used the same flag for the background for our Congress and California Applications.

    1. Chrystal, you are right. The rounded corners and shine may alter the look of the icon in an unexpected way. This is to allow you to see what the icon will look like live in the store.

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