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In this rather unmusical tutorial I'm going to show you how you can create some custom track icons for Logic Pro. There's also a nice Logic Pro Icon giveaway too!!
It's scientifically proven that a cool track icon can improve audio quality by up to 67%. Ok, so I made that up, or did I? In this tutorial I'm going to show you three ways to create some rockin' icons for your Logic Pro sessions. OK, so this may not have much to do with making music but sometimes (as you probably aware) it's just all about image right! Plus they just look nice!
Logic has supported custom track icons for many, many years. It ships with a pretty cool set of pre made icons that can be assigned to and track or environment object. Here's the default icon for an audio track.
To switch the icon for another one just click the 'Icon' picture in the Inspector. You'll be presented with a list of available icons. Just pick the one you want and off you go.
Here's a nice Amplifier icon that ships with Logic.
You'll find that all native Logic objects and Software Instruments have their own icon assigned by default. But what about all your other third party Software Instruments? How do you get an icon for them? And what about Rewire Apps like Reason and Ableton Live! Maybe you want an icon for them too. We'll here's how you do it! First off let's look at what an icon is.
Some Info On The Logic Icon Format
To make an icon for Logic Pro you need to follow a couple of rules. They are as follows:
Icons have to be saved in the .png (Portable Network Graphic) file format. The file needs to include an Alpha (transparency) channel.
The .png image can be no bigger than 128 x 128 pixels.
The file must be given a numerical name. An example would be '351.png'. All Logics icons have a number like this so you'll need to find a number that isn't taken. Logics icons stop at 325 so any number above that is safe. Not every number between 0 and 325 is taken though, they've left some gaps for you in case you'd like to place an icon in a certain place in the list.
Icons need to be placed in the following directory. Applications -> Logic Pro -> Contents -> Resources -> Images -> Icons. Now this might seem a bit confusing as 'Logic Pro' is an 'Application'. So how do you get inside the application? Just navigate to your Applications folder, find Logic Pro. 'Control' click on the icon and choose 'Show Package Contents'.
This will open a new window. Inside this window is a folder called 'Contents'. Open this folder and open the 'Resources' folder. Inside this folder is the 'Images' folder. Open this and open the 'Icons' folder. This is where your new icons go.
A word of warning! When navigating inside Application package folders for Pete's sake don't delete or rename ANYTHING!!!!! Doing so could cause your program to break!!! You have been warned!!!
Method 1 - Application And File Icons
Every application and file type has an icon built in. These are the nice little pictures you see in your folders and Desktop etc. The beauty of these icons are they contain multiple sizes of the same image so the icon is scaleable on your desktop. One of these sizes will be 128 x 128. These images also contain the transparency (Alpha) channel so are perfect icon fodder! So how do you get to these files.
Find the icon you like. In this case we'll do Reason. 'Control' click on the app or file type and choose 'Get Info'.
In the Information window click on the icon at the top. You'll see a blue glow around it.
Press 'Control+C' to copy the icon to the clipboard.
Open Preview. Choose File -> New From Clipboard
The icon will now be available to you in Preview. Some icons are quite big (512 x 512), scroll down in the sidebar and choose the 128 x 128 image.
Go to File and choose 'Save As'. Give the file a number that's safe. Choose 'PNG' from the file type and make sure the 'Alpha' button is checked.
You can save the file where you like.
You'll see the image in Preview as the saved item.
Navigate to the Logic Pro 'package' folder and find the 'Images' folder. Copy the file into the Icons folder. When you start Logic the icon will be there waiting for you in the list.
Choose a track and assign the beautiful new icon!!
You can use this technique to convert any icon on your Mac to a Logic Pro track icon.
Method 2 - Free Stock Icons
There are literally tens of thousands of icons out there in Internet land. Probably the definitive destination for Logic icons is the Logic Pro Files which has a large collection of downloadable goodies. You'll need to register to download but it's worth it. From every conceivable piece of audio hardware to some more obscure instruments (Alto Domra anyone?) this site has you covered!
These could be handy for remembering that Mic you used!
Other sources for icons are stock icon websites. There's quite a few out there. While these don't cater for music all that much you can find the odd gem. One good site is Icon Archive. Here's a nice turntable I found. You'll see the icon is downloadable as a 128 x 128 PNG file. Just click the link, copy the image to the clipboard by 'Control' clicking it in your browser and choosing 'Copy Image'.
Just open Preview and do New From Clipboard.
Save the file out with a number and copy to your Icons folder. If you can't find the image in 128 x 128 it will more than likely exist in a larger size like 256 x 256. Just resize it in Preview using Tools -> Resize Image.
Method 3 - DIY Icons
You can of course make your own icons in image editors like Photoshop or Gimp (which is free). Whether you want to go this far is up to you I guess! If you want some tips on how to make your own graphics head over to Psdtuts+ which has many great tutorials on icon design.
This can be a lengthly process which I'm not going to attempt to go into here. As there are probably a lot of Logic users who use Photoshop, try giving this a go.
I'm giving away some icons that I've made for all you lovely readers of Audiotuts+.
Included in the download is a set of lovingly handcrafted Ohmforce "Ohmboyz" funky skin icons. I made these a while ago for myself (all 125 Photoshop layers!!). I'm pleased to say they have been approved by the actual 'Ohmforce' for download here at Audiotuts+!!!
Incidentally, it's actually quite possible that Ohmforce plugins can improve audio by 67%!!! :) Enjoy!!!
- Custom icons
- Ohmforce “Ohmboyz” funky skin icons