So i herd u liek interviews? - Nillemotes/Zachriel

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Synfull's avatar
By Synfull
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Welcome to the latest edition of So i herd u liek interviews??. This is the 19th volume in a series of interviews aimed at finding out about emoticonists from the deviantART community.

This series links with the weekly volumes of 'so i herd u liek emotes??' which have now been running since October 2008

:bulletgreen:The emoticonist</u>:bulletgreen:

This article’s featured emoticonist is nillemotes. More commonly known on her non-emote account zachriel she has been a part of the community for a good number of years now. As she focusing purely on chat friendly emotes she has a gallery full of highly useable emotes, some of which are well known throughout dAmn and via the legend/mood system. I managed to find some time to interview her.

:bulletblue:The interview</u>:bulletblue:

:interview: by Synfull

How and when did you get into making emoticons?

I made my very first emoticon in March 2005. I wanted to use an :innocentwhistle: emoticon, but there was none in the Emoticon Legend. I figured it was a common enough emotion/action and thought it would be useful to have one made.

When you first started making emotes, did you use any tutorials?

Nope, I've never used emoticon tutorials. I was already a pixel artist so I was used to working on a tiny canvas, and I had learned how to animate by asking my friends.

Are there any particular tutorials you have found/created since that you would like to suggest?

I will make a tutorial eventually, covering all the things I feel most tutorials miss out on. Until then, I would love for more people to read CookiemagiK's journal on frame rates (animation speed) because it seems the information hasn't spread far enough yet.

Are there any particular qualities that you feel can make an emote stand out from any other?

Yes, yes there is. Short animations. I really hate it when I have to actually spend time looking at an emote to figure out what it's trying to say. An emoticon animation should take no longer than half a second to get its point across, because people should never have to pause their chatting only to find out what's going on. Emoticons should be instantly recognizable as the emotion/action it is portraying, and a short animation will win my admiration over a long and complex animation any day.

Where do you get your inspiration / ideas from?

Gaps! My very first emoticon was created because there was a gap in the Emoticon Legend, and it's still my number one motivation. If I want to use an emoticon that doesn't exist, I make it. I have also remade several emoticons because I like their idea but feel the art itself is lacking in some way.

Which programs have you used to create your emoticons? Are there any you can suggest?

I've used GraphicsGale, MS Paint, Krita, Imageready and Photoshop. Personally I'm so used to animating in Photoshop that I can't stand animating any other way anymore. It's only a matter of personal preference though, and I think it depends on what style you learned first. If you have never animated before it doesn't matter where you start - it will always be complicated in the beginning but you will get used to it. All of the free programs listed on Emotication are great programs, but GIMP probably has more tutorials on how to use it so that's what I'd suggest you start with.

What methods have you used for shading? Do you have a preference?

I pixel. I use the pencil tool of 1px and put the pixels exactly where I want them. Recently I have been experimenting with using layer transparency in Photoshop to make editing colors quicker (shading with black and white only, letting one base layer decide what color it gets), but I still haven't found a setup I'm satisfied with so it needs more work.

Do you try to stick to one particular style and technique, or do you prefer to experiment?

Since my only motivation to create emotes is to use them, it means I always try to have them made as quickly as possible. Experimenting takes time, and time is what I don't like spending. That's why you might be able to tell that my style and techniques haven't changed much at all in the 4-5 years I've been around, and it probably won't change much in the future either.

Roughly how long does it take you to go from concept to finished emoticon?

Hardly ever more than an hour. I think I can count the amount of emotes that took me longer than an hour on one hand. And I'm pretty sure those ones took me long to make because I was chatting at the same time.

Are there any particular effects you've found difficult, or have been unable to create?

I've always struggled with jumping and/or flying emoticons. I once started making a :kickinthebutt: emoticon, but the time it took me to try and make the kicked emoticon fly across the canvas in a nice and even arch put me off and I still haven't tried finishing it.

Which are 3 of your favourite emotes from your personal gallery?

:dance: revised by nillemotes is so much prettier than :dance:

:omgomg: by nillemotes is the right amount of hyper and looks really funny when used together with the two slower ones I made.

._. by nillemotes because the coloring is delicious and I like how it actually feels like a real ._.

Is there a particular emote in your gallery you would you like to see get more attention. If so, why?

:dance: revised by nillemotes
I'm really proud of what I achieved with this, because to me it feels the same way as :dance: but it looks a whole lot better. It is two years old but still the best emoticon I have ever made, in my opinion.

Are there any particular emoticonists you would like to see get more exposure?

I can't not mention how I worship the goddess called blunaowl for her range of incredibly gorgeous and so usable emotes. She's always been my number one emoticonists and will probably always be. Her best emoticons are permanently featured in a box on my userpage if you want to have a look.

I'm currently also impressed by the new-comer FuriousCephalopod who might need some cheering on to make more.

How did you come up with your emoticon character?

Swedish Hi by nillemotes

After chatting with foreigners for several years I've become known as "The Swede" in different version, since I'm from Sweden. zikes in particular has called me SleepySwede and SuperSwede and GrinnySwede and all kinds of variations. During a SuperSwede phase I decided I wanted a super-hero emoticon, and a Swede should be recognizably Swedish, so it ended up being the Swedish flag in a super-hero pose. After that emoticon "she" evolved to be a flirty little bugger instead, because that's my main super power.

Do you feel like the emoticon gallery has progressed during your time as an emoticonist?

Yes, it has. There used to be only a handful amazing emoticonists, and it now hosts several dozens. I don't approve of many of the current fads and trends, but I can't deny the fact that there are many great artists in the emoticon gallery now. Some of them are no longer active, but their emoticons are still available for viewing and using in chatrooms, and we should all be thankful for what they've given us.

Are there any trends or styles you'd like to see less of in the gallery?

Haha. Oh my. Don't get me started. If everyone could just make short and simple useable animations I'd be in Heaven. What really pisses me off are when the canvas size is larger than 25px, especially if it's only transparent pixels (wasted space).

Where would you like to see emotes go in the future?

I would love to see more forum packs on deviantART. Everyone's made a :la: and a :woooo: but how useful are those really? We have so many amazing emoticonists here on dA, but the rest of the internet will never notice us because we only make dA related emoticons. With more forum packs made by dA emoticonists we will bring more attention to both dA and our artists, and all I see from that is a happy ending. More dA-made forum packs for the interwebz! :la:

Is there any advice you would like to give to new emoticonists?

• Don't animate with frames quicker than 0.07 seconds
• Don't ever save your emoticons as JPG.
• If you can't make transparency in your program, go to
• If you need a tutorial or a mentor, go to Emotication.
• If you need live emoticon help, go to WeEmote.
• Always give credit where credit is due ("inspired by something zachriel said" or "copied the arm movement from Synfull").
• Don't start a project or a club, but join the ones we already have instead and help make them better - Emotication lists them all.
• Don't bitch about people stealing your ideas. We should all strive for a diversity in emoticons and if they like your idea but want to make it slightly different - let them!
• To really embrace the sharing spirit, license your emoticons with Creative Commons (if you don't know how, note me) and let others use them wherever they want as long as they credit you.
• Practice really does make perfect, and you can never reach the top unless you spend time practicing. Trust me.

if :| and :B went for surgery, what surgery would they have and what would be the result?

Well, they obviously have something wrong with their smiling muscles, so they'd both go for a facial surgery to fix this unfortunate flaw. After surgery both :| and :B would be smiling more than any emoticon has every smiled before, even brighter than both :lol: and :D, and the world would have no more :| or :B to throw in people's faces. The interworld would be a happier place and everyone would live happily ever after with rainbows in their pants.


:confuzzled: by nillemotes
I simply adore :confuzzled:. It’s a simple but highly effective emote and the detail with the crooked eyebrows just really emphasises the confused feeling

furious wave by nillemotes
Furious wave is another highly usable emote from her gallery with a brilliant use of expression and very smooth motion

:drink: v3 by nillemotes
With the winter months approaching :drink: V3 is a perfect emote to use during the cold period. The awesome colour change combines with some great expressions and top notch drinking effect to make another awesome emote

:bulletblack: Previous volumes</u>  :bulletblack:

So I herd u liek emotes??

Volumes 1-45
Volume 46 - 13th September
Volume 47 - 20th September
Volume 48 - 27th September
Volume 49 - 4th October
Volume 50 - 12th October
Volume 51 - 18th October
Volume 52 - 25th October

So I herd u liek interviews??

Interviews 1-15
Interview 16 - Sinister-Starfeesh - 16th September
Interview 17 - Marc-pHX - 30th September
Interview 18 - BlissfullySarcastic - 16th October
© 2009 - 2021 Synfull
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SparklyDest's avatar
What a great read! :nod:
kezbabybabe's avatar
Fantastic interview, very down to earth!
blunaowl's avatar
Goddess? Oh shucks... :glomp:

Awesome interview!
KimRaiFan's avatar
"• Don't start a project or a club, but join the ones we already have instead and help make them better"


Epic interview as always!:clap:
Gomotes's avatar
This interviwe is like a emoticon bible. Perfect! Thank you both for this!
ebilartista's avatar
:D Great interview. :la:

Helpful points tooooo!!!!
JulienPradet's avatar
"• Don't ever save your emoticons as JPG"
I laughed at it :la:

"Yes, yes there is. Short animations. I really hate it when I have to actually spend time looking at an emote to figure out what it's trying to say."
I'm quite goot only at those things :iconsadtardplz:

Again a great interview :iconwoooplz:
zachriel's avatar
Wow. I never thought I came across to people as Jack Black. :slow:
stevanov's avatar
:lol: your'e wierd :la:
in a good way
zachriel's avatar
Why thank you, good sir. :bow:
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