Deviation Actions

Synfull's avatar

Syn's Emote Hints + Tips

(Yes i know this technically isn't the correct category for this, but the tutorial section wont accept the .gif preview file, and more people are likely to see it within the emoticon section, and the image is technically an emotiated emote >.> )

As I often browse the emoticon gallery, I’ve started to make a list of simple things that people could do to improve their emotes. After some time, I’ve decided to compile them into a list of useful emoticon tips :aww:

:bulletred: Basics :bulletred:

- The ‘normal’ emoticon size is 15x15 pixels as it gives you a good circular shape. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t create them of different sizes. Just keep in mind a 15x15 emote usually looks best.

- Just like humans have skin, emoticons have a border. This is a one pixel line that goes around the outside of the emote. It helps to show where the emoticon stops and where the background begins, which makes the emoticon clearer and more defined

- Emoticon eyes come in many different sizes and styles. Just experiment to find a style you like. Try not to make them over 3 pixels tall. Otherwise they look too large for an emoticons face

- Not all emoticons require hands, but when they do, there are a few things to remember. The average size of hands is 2x2 pixels. The shading inside of these is usually a range of the colours used in the body, however as they are so small the shading doesn’t really matter too much. 3x3 pixel hands can be used, but it makes them look a little bloated.

- The file type you save the emoticon as is also very important. Do NOT save it as a .jpg (jpeg). This often causes the edges and colours to become blurry and damages your emoticon. If you are making a static (non moving) emoticon, then you can save it either as a .png or a .gif. For animated (moving) emoticons, it should only be saved as a .gif

- Transparency is very important in emotes. If your emoticon is not going to have a pixelled background, try and give it a transparent background. If you place a white or grey background behind it then it can look very out of place. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but most of the time it stands.

- 99% of emoticons don’t have legs. It is very rare to give an emoticon feet, so personally I try to avoid it unless they are essential for the action. They often look out of place if included.

:bulletgreen: Shading :bulletgreen:

- Some shading on an emoticon is always a positive thing. By using a base with only one shade of a colour makes it look rather flat.

- Experiment with your shading. When first attempting it, it’s easy to make the contrast too large or too small. Just keep trying and you’ll be sure to get it right after a few attempts. Once you’ve made one emote that looks alright you can always change the hue and saturation to make several different colours

- By making the border of the emoticon a slightly darker shade of the emoticon colour, it usually gives the best effect. This helps to make the border stand out, but not too much. When a black border is used it often makes you focus more on the features than the emoticon itself.

- Similar to the border, the eyes should be the same colour as the border. It makes them stand out from the emoticon, but also blend well with the colours

:bulletblue: Animation :bulletblue:

- Animation can come more naturally to some people than others. It may take you a little while to find your feet, so don’t give up if your first attempt doesn’t look great.

- You have to try and find a balance when animating emotes. Too few frames and the action can look choppy. Too many and the animation looks a little weird. There is no set answer to say how large these movements need to be, but always keep this in mind.

- One important thing to look at is the speed of the animation. Different actions take place at different speeds and you need to appreciate this. The speed of the animation can be altered in two ways. Firstly, you can add or remove extra frames. If a movement is too slow, one of the middle frames can be removed to make the action take fewer frames and less time. Alternatively, you can alter with the frame rate. The average frame rate is around 0.07-0.1 seconds but don’t be afraid to experiment. However remember frame rates under 0.07 usually slow down on most web browsers.

- Try to give the face some sort of movement within your animation. Even if you just make the eyes do a small blink it really add to the emoticon.

- Try to avoid making emoticons cut off the edge of the canvas. I know in some cases this is unavoidable, but if you can contain them within the edge of the canvas it can make the whole animation look smoother.

- Wherever possible, try and make the emoticon loop. This requires the emoticons to return to their original places at the end of the animation, so it can happen again without there being a clear end point. If you don’t make them loop, it can make the emote look really rather choppy. If you have a case where this isn’t possible, the most common ending it to fade it to black.

:bulletpurple: Things to remember :bulletpurple:

- Whenever people ask me about how an emoticon moves, I use the phrase ‘think of an emoticon as a person’. Emoticons are designed to represent people, so they act in a very similar way. If you are ever stuck on a movement, try acting it out by yourself. Break down your movements into different stages and then create these as separate frames.

- Similar to people, emoticons have forces that act on them. Gravity is the main one, however there are many more. However, unlike in our world, these forces and restrictions can be bent. Time can be paused, gravity can be inverted, an emoticon can jump to the moon. However, always remember to bend them and not break them completely. If a human jumps from 3 foot, they have to bend their knees on impact. If an emoticon was to drop 30 pixels it looks really rather weird if they don’t squish or bounce at all on impact. Always try and add some realistic effects, even if the action they are doing is physically impossible for humans.

- Squishiness is your friend. To make up for the limiting features on an emoticon, use the body to the full extent. Where a human would bend down, make an emoticon squish. Where an emoticon would run, make it squish. Where an emoticon would sit, make it squish. Just because it’s a 15x15 pixel circle doesn’t meant it has to be solid shape.

- The face on an emoticon can be very important. It’s not always trying to display an emoticon in such a small space, so a slight smile, a change in eyes or a movement of the face can really make a difference.

- Don’t be afraid to ask things. From my experience of emoticonist, 99 out of 100 are always willing to help. If they themselves don’t know the answer, then many will try and help the best they can or point you to a person or account that can help. We are all new to the art form at one point.

- In the case that you are struggling with an idea, projects are a brilliant place to look. Emoticon projects are large collaborations of emoticons along a certain theme. They range from project to project, some animated some static and some with bases you must use. However they are great places for starting, as you can look for inspiration within a limited area. It’s also a great place to get exposure and to meet other emoticonists.

- On occasions you might get stuck on a certain movement. There is no harm in taking a look at how other deviants have done it before. However, never copy the motion frame for frame without first gaining permission. Studying great emoticonist’s work is an excellent way of picking up new skills and knowledge. Another way to do this is to read tutorials. Even if they don’t focus on the specific movement you are looking for, knowing how other emoticonists work can give you a better knowledge of emotes in general

- If you’re struggling with certain things, don’t think there isn’t anywhere to ask for help. #Emotication is an emote based tutorial club with over 160 different tutorials that cover a number of different skills and programs. There is also a mentor system in place to try and pair up deviants with more experienced emoticonists to give them a hand and some advice. There is also an emoticon based chat called #WeEmote. If you pop in there, there’s usually someone about to give you a hand.

My last hint is to never give up. There is always likely to be someone better than you. It’s rare to start emoting and suddenly be up amongst the top emoticonists. It’s never easy taking up a new art form, but stick at it and it’s easy to see the improvements. If you get stuck on something, leave it and come back to it in a few days. Just take your time and practice :D

You can find all of my other tutorials on this page: [link]
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© 2009 - 2022 Synfull
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MaevynGlenn's avatar
what i want to know is how large you can make the image, i need to know this. 15x15 is to small. do they at least have to be a perfect square? what if i where to make it 25x25?
Synfull's avatar
The canvas size can be any size and doesn't have to be sqaure. For example:

Guitar-Emote-Hero revamp by CookiemagiK    :powerpoke: by LeoLeonardo      country hop by Krissi001
MaevynGlenn's avatar
thank you! :D so there just GIFs, right?
Ultragamer564's avatar

I made a emoticon, which is  :kawaiiface: , but it isn't working, and isn't showing up on comments! HELP!!!
Synfull's avatar
You have to use the 'Add Media' button and search for it - only a small selection of emotes can be used with those codes
CrazyPieChick's avatar
:hug: Thanks it helped a lot. :3
CrazyPieChick's avatar
Ok-we-get's avatar
Ok-we-get's avatar
Shadow-Gardens's avatar
Just letting you know, if you use MS Paint to make it 4x4 works too. Just to let you know ^^
Shadow-Gardens's avatar
(I mean for hands)
Shadow-Gardens's avatar
runningsquirrel7's avatar
Nice job on the tutorial, it's very informative :).
Synfull's avatar
rd649's avatar
y u devil ?_?
runningsquirrel7's avatar
TheOwl68's avatar
Another superb tutorial, so much detailed info =D thank you so very much for this!
Synfull's avatar
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