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Microsoft is still bringing its popping 3-D emojis to Windows

If you are still interested in Microsoft’s promised 3-D emojis, we are here to tell you they are still coming. This is despite the company shipping only 2-D emojis in Windows 11.

One of Microsoft’s best designers, Nando Costa, explained in a blog post on LinkedIn that the emojis in Windows 11 will even be 3-D enabled. The design team is working on making this happen.

Costa had indicated the emojis are a work-in-progress at Microsoft by saying, “Thank you and agreed! We’re working on that.”

However, in his blog post, Costa revealed what went into making the emojis. He said the effort to enhance the emojis started “in October of 2020 during “Fix Hack Learn,” a week-long quarterly event aimed at creating space for Microsoft employees to explore concepts they are passionate about.”

The design team would collaborate with Studio Tendril and seek Windows users’ feedback. Costa admitted that the emojis currently in Windows 11 are in line with the now-discarded Metro UI design language as they are flat and simplistic, markedly different from the Fluent design Microsoft has been pushing.

The first attempt at creating the emojis yielded rough aesthetics inspired by wood carvings and clay sculptures. The team would discard the concept but retain the vibrant colors in their subsequent attempts.

The new design involved what Costa called the imperfect circle, and it was chosen for a purpose. “One of our most cherished qualities in the smileys set is the notion of an Imperfect Circle. To embrace a more human quality in our smileys set, we chose a wobbly shape to their silhouette, hinting at the imperfections in all of us, which added a personality character to the designs and yet kept them closely aligned with the aesthetic we extended to the rest of the system.”

The team also had to overcome the challenge of nailing a design that would universally represent humans. It took three attempts to include facial expressions while avoiding toy-like appearances. “It came down to our third, and final iteration for the people category to sing! We had reached an aesthetic balance between the graphical look and feel we wanted, and the utterly important human qualities we needed. In this final version, the head shape came in three different types: genderless, female and male (as seen below). Each creates enough space for variations of skin tone, hair, and facial hair to easily work as a connected system, while also standing apart.”

The final designs were “more inclusive and modular, enabling hair, facial hair, and accessories to be shared interchangeably. The materials and lighting were fine-tuned for each individual shade, celebrating their unique natural qualities. Diversity in hairstyles was a priority.”

All the emojis are available in all five tones on the Fitzpatrick scale.

Costa also revealed that the new set of emojis contains references to new realities of modern life. Some of them are inspired by the hybrid workplace. “Starting in the upper left we celebrate “No camera day”, followed by everyone’s experience of learning their mic is muted when they are trying to speak. Then, on the upper right, we acknowledge how much we are all juggling and multitasking while working from home.

In the lower row, we expand that idea of juggling personal and work lives with our kids and pets and finally in the middle a playful combination of pajama pants and a suit.”

Costa did not include when these 3-D emojis would appear in Windows.

Written by HackerVibes

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