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> Newbie guide to emoticon sizes in Messenger
post Oct 11 2009, 08:26 AM
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This is one of the most frequent questions in this forum, so I decided to make a definitive guide instead of answering the same question over and over again. If people find this useful, could a moderator please pin the topic?

======Emoticon sizes======

There are two main sizes of emoticons in Messenger. One is the small (19x19 pixel) emoticon, such as msn_lipssealed.gif . Then there are the big emoticons (50x50 pixel), that look like . It's easy to make small emoticons, but many people don't know how to make the big ones.

======The problem======

Let's say you found an image that you want to use as an emoticon in Messenger. For example: . It's 50x50 pixels in size, so you expect it to look big when you send it to a friend. But that's not what happens. When you use the emoticon, it looks like this: . Messenger made it small, even though the original was big.

======The solution======

To make an emoticon appear big in Messenger, it has to be in a very specific format:
  1. 50x50 pixels in size
  2. a .GIF file
  3. animated

Notice that the emoticons has to be animated, even if it is not an animation. If we want to make a big emoticon out of , we have to turn it into an animation that consists of two identical frames. This way, Messenger accepts it as an animation, but it still looks like a static picture to us.

Now, some people will tell you that in order to make it an animation, the two frames must be slightly different. This is not true. The reason why they say this is because almost every animation program will optimize the picture when you save it. If the program sees that there are two identical frames, it will automatically remove one of them. So even if you try to make it an animation, the program will not allow you to do it. If you make the two frames a little bit different, it will make the program keep both frames. This is a bad solution, because it makes you do extra work and the little differences can be seen in the emoticon. The real solution is to use a tool that will not delete the frames.

I made an online tool that converts any image into the correct format, without having to insert slightly different frames.
You can find it at www.emoticonize.com.

This is the original image: , and this is the one converted to the right format: . They look exactly the same, but only the second one works in Messenger.

Hope this helps,
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