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Submitted on
March 20, 2013
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Outsider Looking In: Emoticons

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 7:44 AM
ArtHistoryProject: Customization March

Customization is a diverse category, that because of its diversity shares many rumors, myths and general questions about parts of the gallery and their uses.  I do not claim to be knowledgeable of this gallery, in fact, when writing this article, I decided to approach this through my own perspective as someone who has no experience with the gallery and has never submitted to it before.  I set out to answer my own questions that I've wondered about and was greeted with a tremendous amount of help from the community as well as a variety of answers for me to chew on.

This Wednesday, I will present to you three of the amazing people who answered my questions about Emoticons and their responses. For those who are seasoned emoticonists, feel free to answer the questions in greater detail in the comments. Here are some questions for everybody to participate in answering!

  • What's your favorite default deviantART emoticon?
  • What emoticon or PLZ account do you use the most?
  • Does your user icon use an emoticon?
  • Is there an emoticon you wish existed?

The text below is unedited and represents the views of those interviewed. :dummy:

1. What are the differences between an emote, emoticon and an icon?

Krissi001 Emote is simply the short version of Emoticon. :boogie:

I am not too familiar with "icons" it would be better to ask ValaSedai about it , since she is the CV for Icons :noes:
Here is an Article on Wikipedia about icons:…

Mirz123 Emote and emoticon are the same thing. Emote is just the slang word.

Krissi may not know this being younger, but back in the day when smileys were text-bases, the advent of graphical smileys was a big thing.  To differentiate between them, text-based ones were still called smileys, and the graphical ones were called icons, since they were essentially the same size and style as windows icons at that time.  So, many of us old-fogeys continued to call them icons.  However, as the graphics became more sophisticated and were used more often, and people started depending less on the text-based versions, people started calling them "smileys".  Though, I will note that the name "smiley" is said to come from the smiley face (simple yellow ball with eyes and mouth) which was created by Harvey Ball.

Piirustus Well, the word 'emote' is just a nickname for the word emoticons. The emotes used in dA are simply pixeled balls that are used to convey emotion (hence the word "emoticon"). Icons are very different. You know the little pictures that we have next to our comments and at the top of our page? That is an icon. They can be anything, as long as the image is 50x50.

2. I've always admired the pixel art of emotes/emoticons/icons; what programs are used to create them?

Krissi001 There are many programs out there to create Emoticons.  A list of some of them can be found at Emotication…

Mirz123 There is a wide range of programs to make them.  However, most modern day graphic programs have the capability to make emoticons--the difference being the ease.  Many people use simple programs like MSPaint, while others use Photoshop.  Gimp and are other popular and widely-used programs. I personally use an old discontinued program called Paint Shop Pro.

Piirustus Emotes can be made in any art program that allows you to lay down 1 pixel by 1 pixel squares. Personally, I like to use photoshop elements, but I know some people who us MS Paint, or SAI. As long as you have a tool like the "binary" tool or "pencil" tool, you can make an emote.
Considering the fact that icons can be ANYTHING (even stolen images off the web :paranoid:), there is no limit to were you get them or how you make them.

3. What is a chat-friendly emote?

Krissi001 A chat friendly Emote is an Emoticon that has been created to get used within conversations.  They normally show specific Emotions or Actions.

Mirz123 Chat friendly emotes are generally created on a very small canvas. They are used to express an emotion or other mood that is often useful when chatting. The key element of a chat-friendly emote is that they are small enough to not terribly break up the line of text.  Such as :) is small enough that it doesn't create a gap in the text.  Something like this ---> Fella Birthday Balloons by Mirz123 would break the flow and make a huge gap in the text.

Piirustus Emotes that you might use while having a chat with someone. Things like :) :( ;P :giggle: are chat friendly emotes. That doesn't mean all emotes are chat friendly. Something like this: Emote Baker by Web5teR would not be.

4. What is a visual purpose emote?

Krissi001 A visual purpose Emote is an Emoticon that has been created to be looked at.

Mirz123 It is simply an emote to look at. It serves no purpose to convey an emotion or add you in voice or tone in a chat. It can be static or animated, but again, it's main purpose is just to look at.


Lament for Icarus by Mirz123 Emoticon Amusement Park by Mirz123

Piirustus I'm going to skip this one because I'm not 100% sure that my answer is correct.

5. What are emote/emoticon packs used for?

Krissi001 Emoticon packs are "collections"  of many Chat friendly Emotes, they usually have been created so others can use them in messengers or forums. (If they have asked for permission to use them.)

Mirz123 There are two kind of packs.  The first type contains blank bases and pieces (like eyes and hands) which can assist a new emoticonist in creating their own emotes.  The second type contain a wide variety of emotes in the style of the artist and are meant to be used by them on their forums, MNS, etc.

Emoticon Starter Pack V 3.0 by Wooded-Wolf Smiley Eyes Emoticon Pack by Mirz123

Piirustus Also skipping this.

6. Looking at the emoticons category I see different styles of emotes/emoticons other than pixel art, such as vexel/vector. Is this still considered an emoticon/emote?

Krissi001 I wouldn't count Emoticons as real Pixel Art, since in Pixel Art you place every pixel by yourself.   You have much more freedom when you create Emoticons.   You can use gradients when you create the body of the Emoticon (which is a taboo in Pixel Art).
There are Vector/Vexel, 3d and also painted Emoticons.   There are many different opinions about what is considered to be an Emoticon and what not.    The most common form of an Emoticon has a 15x15px base. :dummy:

Mirz123 Purists to the form will say no. Traditionally an emoticon is pixellated using one of a few set base sizes.  However, as with many things that have evolved, such as the use of the word "icon" originally, non-pixel pieces like that are accepted as being called emoticons.  Whether they truly are or not is still up for debate. ;)

Piirustus The pixel-ed ball its self is the emoticon. As long as there is an emoticon in the scene it is consider emoticon art, though the whole scene is not considered an emoticon. Just the little ball xD (If that makes sense?)

7. Is the difference between a digital doll and an emote/emoticon that one is anatomically shaped as humans are while the other is not?

Krissi001 I think so. :lol:  

Mirz123 Yes, that pretty much sums it up.

Piirustus They are really two separate things. Emoticons seen as this: :) have nothing to do with digital dolls.

8. What is a sprite?

Krissi001 I don't know, it us mostly used in Pixel Art.  You might want to ask ClefairyKid about it, since she is the CV for pixel art.

Mirz123 A sprite is essentially a small character or object that is traditionally created for a video game.  Think of Mario from the old Donkey Kong game.  An emoticon can be a sprite, but a sprite is not the same as an emoticon, if that makes sense.

Piirustus A miniature, pixeled version of an object.

Thanks to our interviewees for their insight!

:spotlight-left::iconkrissi001: :iconmirz123: :iconpiirustus::spotlight-right:

Three emoticon artists clarify myths and address general questions about the emoticon gallery for #ArtHistoryProject's Customization month.
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Windklang Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This interview-thing really works out extremely well! You should do this again.
I am absolutely convinced, that asking the right questions is the pure key to everything :)
Great job - really enjoyed reading :)
Looking forward to
mimose-stock Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for this great article :aww:
Beltaneh Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Thank you very much for this :D (both the interviewer and the interviewed)
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:D Welcome!
Izzi1313 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Hobbyist
This is very useful, answers some questions i had..

To answer your questions:

-My favorite is =p second and third :squee: :nuu:
-I use :XD: way too much
-Obviously does :iconizzi1313:
- I wish there were a better :) and :( emotes, i hate those two..
Waluigi-Prower Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
T'is a very nicely written article, sir. Choice people to be interviewed. :dummy:

For the question of wishing for an emoticon to exist, it's my personal view as an "old" emoticonist to get rid of the Emote Legend and replace it with the once thought of Emote Dictionary, which can allow for new emotes to be added to the site upon community approval, much like the dAmn Greasemonkey script emoteCLOUD does now. Of course, there'd be some kinks to work out, but I think that it could work a lot better than the Legend ever could if some work were to be put into it.
Strudel--Cutie4427 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013   Writer
•What's your favorite default deviantART emoticon?
I have a few... :la:, :D I use often, :library: I love but never get to use, :sprint::couch::iconhideplz: I often use together (though I know the third doesnt count I don't always use it), I also like :sadangel::stab: together. I also find :points: and any colored :bulletblack: useful too... I have really no one favorite...
As for plz accounts... :iconplatyglompplz: I love and use every chance I get, :iconholaplz: I also love, and I love putting these two :iconzillyplz::iconklunk-plz: together for the shippyness. I also like :iconmuttleyschuckleplz:

•What emoticon or PLZ account do you use the most?
Deffinately :D

•Does your user icon use an emoticon?

•Is there an emoticon you wish existed?
There's so many I wish existed for so many different emotions and characters. Off the top of my head I REALLY want a plz for Edward platypus.
Fairy-Nature-Lover Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
Well, I love to use any emotes, or plz accounts it depends on the situation, perhaps for spring I would use.
Skrillexia-TF Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This was a great article :D

My favourite default emoticon is this ---> :la:

My favourite plz emoticon is this ---> :iconyayzplz:

My icon doesn't use an Emoticon :)

I wish there was a 'pout' emoticon :)
Contraltissimo Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
Great article! :clap:

What's your favorite default deviantART emoticon?

Oh my gosh, too many to name. Probably either :la: or :tighthug:. Though I also like :meow:, :XD:, :giggle:, :noes: and :cries:.

What emoticon or PLZ account do you use the most?

Again, probably :la: But I've always found :iconscreamingemoteplz: to be useful. And other la variations, like :iconlawooplz: or :iconexcitedlaplz: or :iconepiclaplz:

Does your user icon use an emoticon?

Nope. :)

Is there an emoticon you wish existed?

There needs to be a :wince:. ....Hm, maybe I'll stop wishing and just go make one already. :XD:
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