How to Create a Windows Live Messenger Icon
Emoticons are a well established (even over-used) method of communicating emotion via electronic mediums such as email and instant messaging, and over the years they have evolved from simple combinations of characters and images into animated icons that actually wink, laugh, kiss and perform other gestures. Love them or loathe them, there’s no disputing that emoticons are here to stay.
If you are a Windows Live Messenger user (what used to be called MSN Messenger), you can create your own custom animated icons fairly easily using a graphics package such as Photoshop and a GIF creator. Follow the steps below to learn how to do this.
OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Additional URL: GIFninja
Select some images to use for your animated icon. These can be photos you have taken with a digital camera and uploaded to your PC, or images you have created yourself using a graphics package.
You should have at least two images to create an animation, and between three and five is recommended, for a better quality animation.
Place the images into a new folder on your computer so they are easily accessible. Using Microsoft Paint, or the graphics application of your choice (such as Adobe Photoshop), edit each image so it is suitable to be used as a frame in the animation. Keep the dimensions at 19 x 19 pixels, as this is the standard for Windows Live Messenger.
The animated icon will be resized to 19 x 19 pixels automatically by Windows Live Messenger, but it is preferable to create it natively in that resolution, if you can – the results will be better.
Launch your web-browser of choice and navigate to GIFninja.
Click Choose File and upload each image in the sequence of your animation from the folder created in Step 2. You can select a maximum of five images. When all the images have been selected, use the slider to select the speed of the animation (left for the slowest possible speed, right for the fastest).
You can tweak the speed in the next step if you need to.
Click Make my GIF. The images are now uploaded and processed into a single file. A new page appears with a preview of the animation. Choose from one of the following options:
Yes its fantastic – if you are happy with the animation, click this option and then Save My GIF on the next screen. The animated GIF icon is transferred to your computer.
No its too slow/fast – hover over this option to adjust the speed, using the same slider mechanism as in Step 4.
No – let me start over – select this option to begin building the animation from scratch.
Launch Windows Live Messenger by locating the shortcut in your Start folder or desktop, when the animation is complete and stored on your computer. Log in to the application using your normal credentials.
Click Tools and select My Emoticons. Click Create.
Click Find Image and locate the animated GIF created and saved in Step 5. Click Open.
Optionally, select a keyboard shortcut for the emoticon (up to seven characters). For instance, the default shortcut for a heart icon is (heart). Click OK and the icon is now ready to use – you can test it on one of your contacts by opening a chat dialog with them and entering the keyboard shortcut.
Tips & Advice
- There are other resources on the web for creating animated GIF icons – try also Picasion and Make a GIF.