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Read posts_no very simple way to smooth round icons?

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Searching for how to simply, quickly smooth round edges, I learned a lot of other things I'd been wondering how to do in PDN.  But I didn't find a simple way to smooth round edges of non professional grade (not art) round outer edges.  Say, for a Windows icon.


Even drawing the circle on a 32 x 32 background, when saved as png then opened in Greenfish Icon Editor & converted to ICO, the real icon (say on desktop) is still a bit jagged in places.  The points at 0, 90, 180, 270 deg are obviously flattened & rest of circumference is a bit jagged (not terrible, but...).


I tried several tools to smooth edges a bit, but of course pixels are square...  Read numerous posts - like http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/12195-faking-soft-brushes-and-the-blurdodgeburn-tool/.

This WAY overkill for what I'm doing - right now.  Useful for later.  All I want is circles or rounded corners on simple objects w/o spending much time - not for this type stuff.  I learned good techniques useful for higher quality work.


PDN doesn't seem to have a simple, quicker way to half decently smooth circles / corners.  Everything I tried just followed the square pixel edges or is quite tedious.  Greenfish has some pretty decent tools - for making icons.  But, smoothing rounded edges for something in the 32 px wide range is still pretty time consuming.  Needs an algorithm to smooth circumferences.


Any suggestion for quicker methods for non demanding work like this?  Thanks.



Pixels are square, but Pi ®squared, too.

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The edges are pixelated. Use the basic antialias plugin to smooth it out.


Instead of using a different program to save a a .ico, download and install the .ico filetype plugin and save it directly from paint.net

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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Thanks - I'll give them a try.  There are a lot of plugins.  Like I said, no basic antialias effect built in.  I'd think far more people would use that than some of the other features.


Sometimes I would save directly from PDN to .ico.  Others, Greenfish & IcoFX have (quick) features just for icons that PDN doesn't.


Edit:  Tried Basic Antialias - didn't do anything on circles drawn in PDN.  I suppose because of author's description:


If the plugin seems not to work, verify that the shape to be processed doesn't contain any partially trasparent pixel. Basic Antialias works only when it finds a totally trasparent pixel (alpha=0) near a
not-trasparent-at-all pixel (alpha=255).


It may work in other cases, but all totally opaque pixels drawn by the ellipse tool, already have semi transparent ones next to them.  Even though some transparent ones are BARELY so, they have enough opacity to keep the plugin from working.  So the tool takes no action.  However, at 32 px, the jaggedness of a circle drawn by PDN (w/ no other effects) is still slightly visible. 


If I draw the circles at much larger than desired final size, then reduce it, doesn't seem to make much difference in pixelation.  If I draw it at smaller size - say 16 px, then resize to 32 px, it reduces pixelation but has a definite fuzzy look, w/o running the antialiasing tool.  In last scenario, antialiasing tool still has no effect.


Greenfish has a soft blur effect that somewhat reduces the pixelation.  Not perfect on a circle - which has continuous pixelation.

Edited by drawflies
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Thank you.  Looks like a very nice plugin pkg.  I saw it mentioned, but at 1st I was confused by your comment on Blur Selection Edge.


I guess your web page http://www.boltbait.com/pdn/ is a bit outdated - it doesn't mention the Blur Selection Edge effect, but is mentioned in the topic http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/8318-boltbaits-plugin-pack-updated-december-12-2011/


Posted 14 February 2008  I will be updating the other locations eventually, but if you want the latest versions, download my plugins from this post  :smile:

Like me,  running a bit behind?


Question:  When using your blur selection edge effect, if a drawn / cut out object is by itself in a separate layer, on a transparent background, do you have to physically select the object outline to apply the effect?

Or, since it's the only object in that layer, does it automatically select the object outline - even if irregular?

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  • 1 month later...

The problem is not with the tools you use. the problem is with your lack of understand of how pixels work. They are square. And the worst part is what you're trying to accomplish will be used for a computer display, which is basically a buildup of pixels.

So no matter how much you try to blur an image, jaggedness will still be present. And please do not ever dare resize a 16x16 to 32x32. That's just crazy. :P


Here's my tip: I know that it is frustrating when you can't accomplish what you want to do, but please stop complaining. Do your research not on graphics editing but on icon making. Study some icons that are circular. Even those iPhone types which has rounded corners. Do you notice how they manage to make those curves smooth? That subtle shadow. Optical illusion is the answer to your problem. Duplicate your image, desaturate, adjust opacity. That's the simplest way. And that's the only thing you have to blur. Good luck. :D

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Effects > Noise > Median with a low Radius is a simple way to round an objects corners.

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Thanks for replies.  I've gotten some better results - not perfect, but will give the additional suggestions a try.

Question:  For typical (well done) app icons that are shown on desktop, or copied from desktop to an Explorer folder, when you click the icon in Explorer & a larger image (thumbnail) is displayed at bottom of Explorer, what ORIGINAL size icon is Explorer using to display that thumbnail?


That may be one thing I DON'T understand - which original image is used for the Explorer thumbnail & if / how it's resizing or resampling it before displaying a thumbnail of icons.  It may be using the 256 x256 icon & down sizing it a bit.

Some apps' thumbnails that have round / rounded surfaces, look 100% smooth; other professionally ? done apps' thumbnails - not so much. 


When I look at all of the icons for those apps w/ Resource Hacker, import various sizes into PDN (or sometimes open an ICO file), few of those icons appear to use much (visible) shadows.  Not of one color, anyway.  Maybe they are, but I can't detect it.  But, enlarged a bit or a lot, they're quite pixelated.  I'm guessing for the ones that appear very smooth at normal size, they've used several shades & opacity of one or more colors, along the rounded / slanted parts, that give the optical illusion.  Other high $ programs may have more powerful shading tools that would do that "automatically." 


PDN does that to some extent when drawing rounded shapes - using various opacity of pixels along the edge.

the problem is with your lack of understand of how pixels work.

Drawflies wrote:

"but of course pixels are square..."

 but please stop complaining.


Huh?  is that really what you meant to say / for it to sound?


Do you notice how they manage to make those curves smooth? That subtle shadow. Optical illusion is the answer to your problem. Duplicate your image, desaturate, adjust opacity. That's the simplest way. And that's the only thing you have to blur. Good luck. :D



Ego Eram Reputo - thanks.  I'll try that.


Obviously, I've gotten different suggestions, which may all work under right circumstances & with right amount of experience.

Edited by drawflies
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  • 4 months later...

Labhouse, stop necroposting.


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Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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