Smart Launcher makes one hell of a launcher, and it just stepped up its theming game in a big, big way.
Smart Launcher released Icon Pack Studio last week, giving ordinary users with zero experience the ability to create icon masks that will evenly and beautifully apply to all of the apps on their home screen and app drawer. Even better, the way Smart Launcher made this move lets its victory come to other launchers as well, giving users a win and giving Smart Launcher a new way to try and coax users away from their long-time launcher.
I just wish they'd given it a name that wasn't a lie.
See, icon packs like Whicons, Glim, and S_Eight leave gaps. There are millions of apps in Google Play, to say nothing of third-party app stores, and it's impossible for icon makers to make specialized icons for them all in their packs. That's why we have icon masks, to help smooth over the gaps an icon pack can leave in your app drawer. Some masks are better than others, depending on how well the developer codes them, but there's no such thing as a seamless icon mask.
Icon Pack Studio is a mask-maker, allowing you to set your mask's shape color, and size; you can add strokes and shadows and lights. You can even pay to add fun textures and angles. The packs are easy to make, although the color picker can be a little odd, only letting you choose from a few basic colors during the initial mask creation and then letting you tweak them later in the advanced editor.
It's also not initially apparent, but even though you have to begin with a shape on your icon pack, you can make that shape invisible in the advanced editor, allowing you to make an icon mask that themes the original icon in its original shape rather than slapping it inside a circle, or a pentagon, or one of those squircles everyone's so in love with. You can also get more detailed with the FX on your icon mask, though things are still a bit sparse for now.
If you want to apply the pack within Smart Launcher 3, it's easy to set right there, but if you want to use it somewhere else, you need to export your finished icon mask as an APK, install it the way you would any other icon pack, and then apply the icon pack in your launcher of choice. Because different launchers apply icon packs differently, your icon mask may work differently or not work at all. The icon masks worked perfectly in Action and Nova … but not in Aviate. That's not Icon Pack Studio's fault; that's long been a problem of Android, and will continue to be so long as icon masking isn't standardized across launchers.
Icon Pack Studio is an excellent start, and whenever they add more metallic and chrome textures for their masks, I might stay on it for most of my themes. Until then, Icon Pack Studio is a handy, if incomplete, tool ... but please don't call what it makes an icon pack.