If you want to create your own base, typical emoticons are designed in 32 x 32 square .png files so their background is transparent. This transparency is how the circular look of the emoticon is established, since the corners of the image are not displayed. Only .gif and .png image formats support transparency, so remember to save your work in these formats regularly.

Setting the palette color for transparency usually is not necessary if you are starting on a transparent background, but if you are not, you will need a bright color that is not associated with any color you will be using in the actual emoticon. The hex colors #33FF00 and #FF00FF are recommended for your background colors because lime green and hot pink are very rarely used.

In order to set one of these colors as your palette transparency, you will need to follow these steps:

Click: Adjust > Palette > Palette Transparency > Background Color

In the box, input the hexadecimal color code you’ve decided to use as your background. This will set everything in the image that uses this code as transparent.

After setting up your transparency, all that is left is to draw your base you want to use for your icon set. The typical emoticon base is yellow with highlights to give the set some depth, but feel free to be creative with your set. Creating green or black, or even themed emoticons is entirely possible

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How To Create Your Own Emoticons

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