Many times when people need to get a job done quickly they will go to their old reliable utility programs.  I have a few of those.  At the present time, when I need to get graphics done quickly, I use Paint.Net.  It is a lot like Photoshop, easy to use and, best of all, it’s free.  The only problem is it was developed for Windows.  I needed to create some Tab Bar icons for an iPhone Application I’m developing.  The task wasn’t too difficult, or so I thought. All I had to do was create a 32 x 32 pixel PNG file then transfer the file over to my Mac and import it as a resource into the XCode environment.

But it wasn’t actually the slam dunk I thought it would be.  The file that was produced was missing some information so it didn’t display as expected.

Fortunately, for iPhone developers like me who still use PCs for some of their graphics, the makers of Paint.Net had the forethought to provide a mechanism for plug-ins.  There is an extension for iPhone TabBar Icons that has saved the day.

To get the iPhone Tabbar Icon Maker extension:

  1. Visit the link  iPhone TabBar Icon Maker to see the forum discussion.
  2. Search for iPhone to find the iPhone Tabbar link
  3. Download the extension
  4. Unzip the extension
  5. Move the dll plug-in to the Paint.Net effect folder.  If you used the default install for Paint.Net, the path would be C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\Effects

To use the TabbarIcon Maker in Paint.NET:

  1. Launch Paint.Net
  2. Load the Image
  3. Select Effects menu
  4. Select “Advanced” submenu
  5. Select “iPhone TabbarIcon Maker Alpha From RGB intensity …”
  6. Save file as PNG

BTW:  If you have any suggestions for a good free paint utility for MacOS X,  I’d love to hear about it.