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How do I download smilies?

Place the cursor over the smiley you want to download and right-click. Click on "Save Picture As..." from the pop-up menu.

Find or create a folder for the smiley, and click "Save".

To save all the smilies on a page at once, first click on "Save As..." under the File menu.

Select "Web Page, complete" as the Save as type and click Save. This will copy the web page and all the files it uses onto your computer.

How do I use smilies in email?

This example uses Outlook Express. Your email program may have similar options, but different terminology.

Create a new message, and make sure it's formatted as Rich Text or HTML.

Click where you want the smiley to appear in your message and select "Insert Picture". Find the smiley you want and click "OK".

The smiley will appear in your message.

How do I create smilies?

This example uses Paint Shop Pro 7. However, just about any graphics software can be used to make smilies.

Create a new image. Standard smiley dimensions are 15 x 15.

Use the zoom tool to make drawing much easier. First, draw a circle. Then add the face. I added the grid for demonstration purposes only.

I like to fill the smiley with a radial gradient (see below), but you can use a solid color if you want. Fill the area outside the smiley (the background) with a color not used in the smiley. This area, shown here in pink, will become transparent.

A gradient is a smooth transition between light and dark colors. It gives the smiley a round, three-dimensional appearance.

When you're done painting, save the image as a Transparent GIF. Set the background color as the area that will be transparent.

Congratulations! You've made your very own smiley!

To animate your smilies, first make a Transparent GIF for each frame of animation. Then you'll need to assemble those frames in a program that can create Animated GIFs. I use Animation Shop, which comes packaged with Paint Shop Pro.

Sometimes you may want to convert a photo into a smiley. Follow these three steps:
1. Crop and isolate the subject - 2. Scale it down - 3. Trace it with painting tools.

How do I use smilies on message boards?

Whether you are posting on an Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB), vBulletin board, or an ezboard, there are probably standard smilies set to appear if you use a combination of characters. For example, typing :) might produce a in your post. Check the message board's Help or FAQ to see what smilies are available and how to use them.

You may be able to use other smilies on a message board. When you click a smiley on my website, a line of code will appear in the red bar at the top of a page. Use the drop-down box to add the proper tags needed to link to the image, then copy and paste the code. This may not work on every forum, however.

When I try to save a smiley, it has a .bmp extension.

This problem ususally occurs when the Temporary Internet Files folder for Internet Explorer is full. Empty your cache and try again.

Another website uses your smilies without giving you credit.

If you spot my smilies on other websites and no credit is given to me, please don't spam the webmasters and accuse them of being thieves. There are a couple of reasons why they may be innocent of any malicious intent:

  • Like anything that gets posted on the internet, my smilies could be downloaded, passed around, and reposted so many times that by the time some people first see them, they honestly have no idea where the smilies originated.
  • Some websites build collections of images through submissions from their visitors. These sites rely on the submitters providing proper attributions or believing the images are public domain. They are often wrong on both counts.

If you see my work elsewhere and feel I should be credited, please let me know. I'll follow up on your tips.

Do you take requests?

Yes! I have received and fulfilled requests for smilies, many of which are in my collection today. You may submit an idea for a new smiley, but I can not guarantee I will create it. The odds of me making your smiley are greater if I feel many people would use it.

Requests I turn down usually fall into one of these categories:

  • The smiley applies only to them.
    • Their uncle Lou, adding someone's name to an existing smiley.
  • The smiley really isn't a smiley.
    • Blinkies, avatars, logos, etc.
  • The smiley can not be outfitted with clothing or props.
    • Since smilies are basically just heads with no bodies, only headgear such as hats, wigs, and glasses work well. Also, having a smiley hold an item may help enhance its identity.
  • The smiley needs additional body parts.
    • Besides the "head", the only other appendages I've used are disembodied hands and feet, and a few facial features. A smiley with arms, legs, chests, or waists would look more like a person than a smiley.
  • The smiley is too lude or crude for my tastes.
    • Use your imagination. I try to run a clean site.

However, I have made smilies that haven't appeared on my site, so it doesn't hurt to ask.