It’s right before our eyes but we hardly give it a second’s thought. The humble cursor, that goes flitting about the screen doing what our thoughts command it to do. Could it be the most neglected aspect of our computer’s personalization? After all, it’s the desktop and the icons that get to be the eye candy.
The cursor, though the most animated of all Windows objects is like Cinderella before she lost her glass slippers.
The RealWorld Cursor Editor promises to change all that. It hands us some customization power to make a free cursor.
The freeware cursor application helps us create beautiful cursors ““static or animated from image files. More importantly, one doesn’t have to have a degree in Fine Arts to design the cursors. A friendly wizard takes us through the steps. The drag and drop interface like any good graphic editor also gives it another point on the scale of user friendliness.
With our minds reassured that the RealWorld Cursor Editor wouldn’t be a puzzle for most of us, let’s wade in and see if we can translate our latent creativity using it.
The RealWorld Cursor Editor comes as a 6.6MB download bundle and also has the option of a 7.2MB portable version. For the sake of simplicity, let’s work with the portable version.
Firing up the cursor editor reveals the wizard which gives us a few options to start off our first cursor project. We can make a free cursor from scratch or use an image as the starting point instead of drawing it out on the canvas.
For the first time user, it would be preferable to catch the online tutorials by clicking on the large Online button on the left panel. Six tutorials cover the scope of this cursor program. The first (Animated water drop cursor) or the second (Create resizing cursor) would be the stepping stone to learn all the tools in the program.
The tools are intuitively arranged around the raster image editor. The RealWorld Cursor Editor comes with a full complement of drawing tools (Pencil, Line, Curve, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, Flood Fill, Text, and Projected Shadow) and a few tool presets and filter effects. Effects like Drop Shadow, Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, Transparency, Motion Blur, Bevels etc can be run on the cursor image or a selected area. The program comes with a full color swatch and support for layers. (See main screenshot too)
A cursor is different from an icon in the way it interacts with the screen. In both static and animated cursors, the hot spot is the vital area. The hot spot is an intended pixel that fixes the clicking point. So cursor editors should have features that can handle these actions.
Cursor hot spots can be selected with a click of the hot spot tool. The Test Area is where the cursor can be previewed. If the cursor does not move correctly, the hot spot can be changed accordingly using the tool.
Similarly, the animated cursors can be created frame by frame. Sequencing the animations takes a few seconds with the left right shifting arrows. Frames can be selected for applying effects one at a time or by all. Setting the speed of the animations is a cinch with the slider. The time between frames is a matter of setting the seconds using a dropdown.
This is basically an overview of the RealWorld Cursor program. Being a graphical application, the proof of the pudding will lie in the user experience. What I liked about the software was that it didn’t diverge much from standard graphical applications. The learning curve is further shortened by the numerous tutorials and a few assisting features like the tooltips, context help and the What Now? button. The online tutorial includes video instructions along with text.
For inspiration or to inspire someone, you can share your creation in the online Cursor Library for the program.
It will take me a few runs to get the absolute hang of it. But even now, as a newbie I am going as straight as an arrow.
Do you pay attention to your cursors? Would you take the pains to make a free cursor for yourself? If both the answers are yes, let us know your comfort level with RealWorld Cursor Editor.
RealWorld Cursor Editor ver.2009.1 is a free download and is supported on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7.