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PE: How to Make a Large Emoticon

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 8:10 AM


How to Make a Large Emoticon



Massive emote bump by DroneguardOM NOM NOM by prosaixBIG tardgrinn FanArt by Krissi001

I have been asked many times how I make my big emoticons. How I shade it, dither it, etc, so I am going to make a step by step tutorial on how I make large emoticons.:D Even if you already know how to, you might find something useful in this.;) Be aware that I am using photoshop elements 3.0, so this technique can be preformed in almost any program that has layers and custom pencil brush sizes and or a hollow and filled circle tool. If your program doesn't have layers or adjustable circles of any kind (whether it be the pencil tool or the circle tool), you should be able to get around it somehow, but if you can't figure it out, I would recommend gimp. It works on Macs, Windows, or Linux computers. You can get a free download at gimp.org.:nod:


Step 1
Start by making a hollow circle. The color of it should be a really dark shade of the color you want the emote to be. I'm making a blue emote, so I'm making the outline dark blue.:D This circle is 149x149 pixels tall and wide total. I did it by making a solid circle with the pencil tool by making it 149 pixels. After that I set the eraser tool to pencil, and made a 147 pixel crater in the 149 pixel circle I already had. If you do it this way, always make the crater with the eraser tool 2 pixels smaller than the colored solid circle you made with the normal pencil tool. Like if you're going to make a 80 pixel circle for the emote, put a 78 pixel crater in it with the eraser.:nod: When the circle goes hollow after you erase the middle, make sure the lines are only connected diagonally at "turns". If you end up with some pixels connecting vertically or horizontally, simply erase them from the inside. You should come up with the image above.

This circle can also be accomplished with the circle tool. If you do though, again, make sure all the turn points are connected diagonally only.:)

Step 2
Make a new layer and put it under the outline. Now, using the pencil tool, make it the same size as you did for the outline (or just use the circle tool again, only make it solid.). Color the whole outline the color you want the emote to be (I call this a "base" color). Like in the animation above, keep the circle the same size and make it a tiny bit darker as you move up to the direction you want it shaded. Make it more dark, keep it the same size and move up. Then make it lighter, keeping it the same size, and light (same size again), and then lighter, only now make the brush smaller while you still move up. Keep going more and more light as you decrease the brush size each time, until you get down to 10 pixels or so.:la:

Step 3
Remove the unnecessary parts.

Step 4Big emote 4 2 by IceXDragon

Now for the dithering!:dummy: If you already know how to dither, you can skip this part, but if you don't, please proceed.:aww: start by taking the light color on the bottom (on mine it's the bottom right), and making a "checker board" pattern on the next color (see the image above). It doesn't have to be perfect pixel for pixel, but try to make it the best you can. Now make a few random pixels like I did on top of the checker board pattern using the same color. Then take the color on top and make random pixels below the checker board pattern. I made the contrast higher on the one to the right, so you can see my dithering pattern a little better.;)

Note that as you get more experience, like any art form, try to establish your own dithering style.;) We wouldn't want all of our big emotes looking the same, would we?:giggle:

Step 5
Continue dithering until you have dithered all the colors. Should look something like this.^

Step 6
Highlight the top and bottom corner, like in the picture above.

Step 7
On a new layer, make the pencil brush 10 pixels (or whatever size you find most appealing), and put a circle somewhere on the emote.

Step 8
Set the pencil tool back to 1 pixel, and make it black. Set the opacity to 20%, and shade like I did in the image above. Now, make the brush white, and change the opacity to 16%-18%. Again, shade like above. Now finally make it black again, set the opacity to 7%-10%, and shade like I did above on the top left of the eye.:meow:

Step 9
I like to add a little pupil in there, but you don't have to if you don't want to.:giggle:

Step 10
Copy the eye layer, and then arrange the eyes to where you want them.:dummy:

Step 11
Add a mouth if necessary, shade it much like you did the eyes.c:

Step 12
Now make some hands!:dummy: Make the hand just like how you made the big emote base, only on a smaller scale.:giggle:

Step 13
Just copy the hand you made, adjust them, and you're done!:iconlawooplz:

Massive c: Tutorial Included! by IceXDragon

I hope you found this tutorial helpful!:la: If you have any further questions please ask below.:aww:





Ever wonder how people make big huge emotes?:omg: Than read this and find out how!:la:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsweetcreeper132pl:
SweetCreeper132PL Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014
1st Massive Emote by SweetCreeper132PL
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:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome sauce!:la:
Reply
:iconshadowflashdabearded:
Shadowflashdabearded Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
Nice
Reply
:iconeightence:
Eightence Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't get how I should make such a huge circle :saddummy:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What program are you using?
Reply
:iconeightence:
Eightence Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
GIMP.

Wait...

You mean I have to use the 149 pixel brush? Sorry for bothering you but I am not english and I don't get things easily some times >.<
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes.:D
For gimp though, since it doesn't size it's brushes as pixels, set it to about 7.5 to 8.:nod: Also, make sure it's set on the pencil icon, instead of the paint brush.
Reply
:iconeightence:
Eightence Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much :tighthug:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome.:meow:

Good luck!:la:
Reply
:iconkibapandaro:
KibaPandaRo Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ok i did this [link] uhm how shhould i save it (save for web and devices) to not have those white spots there:) also some sincere feedback would be nice if you have time^.^ and thanks for the great and easy tutorial:)
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm, What program do you use? With programs like gimp and newer versions of Photoshop, I usually press "Save As" (if you use gimp 2.8. or newer, press "Export" instead), and then put .gif at the end of the file name when it asked you to rename it.

Did that make any since? XD
Reply
:iconkibapandaro:
KibaPandaRo Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
photoshop cs3
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So yeah, whenever you save it as a gif. Ether put .gif at the end of the file name when you save it, or if your photoshop has that little drop down tab under the save as file name part, make it so it saves as a gif.:) That might be why all the white dots are there.
Reply
:iconkibapandaro:
KibaPandaRo Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
after dithering is using the transform-> scale action to make the dither a little smotther a good or bad move? its not cheating right? but does it look better?
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's not necessarily a bad move, but it makes it look a little fuzzy.:nod:

You can do it that way, I just prefer to dither even more of it's not looking too smooth.:meow:
Reply
:iconkibapandaro:
KibaPandaRo Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I didnt understand this part "Set the pencil tool back to 1 pixel, and make it black. Set the opacity to 20%, and shade like I did in the image above. Now, make the brush white, and change the opacity to 16%-18%. Again, shade like above. Now finally make it black again, set the opacity to 7%-10%, and shade like I did above on the top left of the eye", where did you use these actions cause i cant really notice them:( is it around the eye? or where else?
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, they are around the eye. Notice the dark and lighter spots inside and out side of the eye? Shade right there.:)
Reply
:iconanyluck:
AnyLuck Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
Awesome article/tutorial! I found it very helpful, detailed and clearly written. Thank you!
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome, glad you found it useful.:D
Reply
:iconyilin123456732:
yilin123456732 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Coooooool very helpfulllll
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, I'm glad you found it so!:la:
Reply
:iconyilin123456732:
yilin123456732 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Student Digital Artist
no problem. have a great winter break :)
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, you too.;)
Reply
:iconyilin123456732:
yilin123456732 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
hehe :D

The year is going to end soon. Happy New Year!
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It is! Happy New Year, have a good 2013!:D
Reply
:iconwdwparksgal:
WDWParksGal Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
Very helpful! Thank you for sharing :nod: :aww: :hug:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! And you're welcome, glad you found it so.:D
Reply
:icondully101:
dully101 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks this will help me make my first big emote! :la:
Although it will definately not be the 'average' big emote ;)
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome!:dummy:
Reply
:iconhappy-gurl:
happy-gurl Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
Now I can steal your dither style :mwahaha: I mean, cute emote :shifty:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:evileye:
Reply
:iconpix3m:
Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Sorry if I made a mess in the comments. I mistook this as more authoritative than what was intended. ^^;
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's fine, no hard feelings.:hug:
Reply
:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
D'awww, so cute~! Great tutorial! :D
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:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks!:dummy:
Reply
:iconpix3m:
Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
I sincerely disagree with this tutorial =p

Large emotes like this are probably more practical to make with vectors. I find super thin outlines to be really lifeless compared to the proportionally thicker outlines on smaller emotes. Dithers are usually very rough especially if you use random noise and probably not the best thing to have on a 'cute' emote, don't you think?

Plus, there is probably a shading style that is just as convincing but doesn't require so much fancy dithering to smooth out... like concentrating the areas with color differences around the areas that border the midtone and shadow.
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
True it's easier just to make a vector, but this is a pixel art tutorial. I made this tutorial in pixel art style as pixel art goes well with emoticons.:giggle:

Well if you dither it right, it doesn't have to look rough. There are many different dithering styles besides the "random" style.

True, there are ways to shade it without requiring fancy dithering, but if you use too many colors it ultimately becomes digital art rather than pixel art as the point of pixel art is to use as little colors as possible.
Reply
:iconmiontre:
miontre Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconpix3m:
Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
I thought this was a large emoticon tutorial :shrug:

It's not that pixels go well with emoticons, but any tiny image of any kind will go well with pixel art. Pixels go well with emoticons because they tend to be very small. Images that are so small will be heavily confined to a pixel grid. To best create a quality image in a small size, it helps to have a pixel artist who knows how to work with a grid to convey said image with said grid.

The point of pixel art isn't necessarily to use as little colors as possible, but even then you're not following your own advice. Why can't you just have emotes that are a solid color instead of having this sort of uber-dithered shading then? ;p There is no color limit thanks to recent technology, but it is more preferable that you use just enough colors to be able to draw exactly what you want, but use each and every color as much as you can. If anyone is keeping to a color limit of 4 (or 3 excluding transparency), 8 , 16, or 32, they're just giving themselves a fun challenge and nothing more.

Smooth dithering IMO is an oxymoron. If there can be smooth dithering, you probably need to leave it to some real masters at dithering to show what smooth dithering looks like. Unless you're dealing with low-light photography or something, an object will NEED a texture to produce little semi-visible dots like this.

IMO, probably better to leave this as a tutorial on your particular way of doing large emotes instead of making this look like the only way of doing large emotes.
Reply
:iconmiontre:
miontre Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think dithering is an important aspect of pixel art. It's what makes it unique. You don't see any other art form that gives you results like that. I think it looks really interesting, myself. :shrug: Especially when you get into really unique dithering styles.

The whole point of pixel art is spending a lot of time and effort to make the graphics yourself. Not using things like vectors/gradients/etc which do it all for you. Part of the fun is being patient and spending time to place each pixel more or less individually to create a work of art.

Anyway, he didn't claim this was the only way to do large emotes. Obviously, it is his way of doing it, since he wrote the tutorial. Re-read the introduction. The very first lines say "I have been asked many times how I make my big emoticons. How I shade it, dither it, etc, so I am going to make a step by step tutorial on how I make large emoticons."

Also, this is a pixel art tutorial; just it's focusing on large emotes. Why don't you go and write a tutorial on making big emotes with vectors so that people can pick which style they prefer themselves? :aww:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconpix3m:
Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Sorry if I missed the key word in the introduction. I looked at the title, noticed it was submitted to a group called 'project educate' and jumped in to the juicy parts that are most relevant.

I find there are other qualities to pixel art that gives it is unique look. Dithering can add to this, and can be pretty awesome if skillfully done, but it's never a necessity. The thing about pixel art is that because it's drawn with the very pixel grid used to display an image in mind, it will always have a much sharper appearance than other digital media. If you ever zoom very close to a non-pixel work versus zooming very close to pixel art, you'll see a huge difference in crispness.

Besides, you can find half-toning in comic books (manga comes to mine) which works similarly like dithering - faking a gray shade when all you have is black ink (lol printing restriction) by using very small dots. The dots used in half-toning tend to be proportionally smaller than the usual pixel dithering though, so half-toning with comic strips seem a bit more effective with blending colors than pixels in a smaller scale. Then, there's low-light photography which seems to naturally get us a noisy quality.

Besides, I am no vector artist, just a pixel artist who has an idea of which pieces are more practical to make with this medium. I have had a bit of fun doing less practical stuff though, but I don't lie that it's a bit impractical sometimes ^^;
Reply
:iconidjpanda:
iDJPanda Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
YAYY!!! I'm totally gonne use this!! THIS IS A GREAT TUTORIALL!! :dummy:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you found it helpful!:la Can't wait to see what you come up. with!:eager:
Reply
:iconidjpanda:
iDJPanda Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
:dummy:
Reply
:iconiamoret:
iAmoret Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I love you now! :hug: I have looked high and low for a big emotes tut that actually MAKES sense to my small brain! Thank you! Now I can finish my ESS entry.... :mwahaha:
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you found it useful!:dummy: You're welcome.:giggle: Can't wait to see it!O3O
Reply
:iconmiontre:
miontre Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
This is such a wonderful tutorial! It's written really well, and inspired me to give it a go. :heart:

Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconicexdragon:
IceXDragon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you.:giggle:

You're welcome, and like I said, glad you found it useful!:dummy:
Reply
:icon4everyoungkid:
4EverYoungKid Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
:meow:
Reply
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