Rather than focus on totally free, this time I’m talking a paid, but totally worth the money application.

Art Text by BeLight Software is a cheap application that can give you the glossy, 3D icons and text you expect in an iPhone app with fairly little effort. (Apple Mac App Store link: id404180306)

There is no replacement for a graphic artist, but sometimes you need to make things yourself for practical reasons. And this little app can build some nice little icons that you can use (without embarrassment.)

I’m sorry that I don’t have much time to finish this post, so I’m resorting to some shorthand to list the things I like about this app for iPhone development:

  • You can make your graphics a specific size and fit things to that size.
  • It maintains layers and transparencies nicely.
  • Text and shapes can be filled with color, 3D effects, or images.
  • 3D effects can have multiple light sources. Light sources can be rotated in each item.
  • Shadows and strokes are easy.
  • Can save to PDF for full vector size changes.

Most of all,  with this little app, I can make an icon that looks decent in a few minutes.  If I tried the same thing in Photoshop or Pixelmator, I’d be working for hours to get the same look.