How To Make an Emote for Twitch & Best Twitch Emote Makers

Now that you’ve successfully come up with concepts and ideas for your emotes and you want to them to come to life, there’s a few things you absolutely need to know before you can get them approved and uploaded to your channel. And whether or not you created your own emoticon, or others made them for you – there are some important things to remember:

The emotes must adhere to Twitch’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, so you need to be sure to follow them. Check that your emotes comply at the planning stage – you don’t want to end up commissioning or drawing an emote which goes against the terms of service. They will get denied and you’ll waste a ton of time or money.

Content Guidelines

Examples of content prohibited from use in emotes by the Community Guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Hateful conduct, such as offensive slurs 
  • Threats of violence towards others or yourself 
  • Nudity, such as nude torsos 
  • Sexual depictions, such as gestures and attire  
  • Illegal drugs of any kind
  • Harassment, such as insults and bullying  
  • Politics, such as phrases and symbols 
  • Vulgarity, such as explicit words  

In addition you should only create emotes for which you have all necessary rights. It’s a violation of Twitch’s policies to create emotes that include unauthorized uses of another person’s content, brand, image, or other rights. Failing to do so, may expose you to a takedown request or legal liability.

Technical Specifications

As well as conforming to content guidelines, emotes must also follow the technical rules set out by Twitch. Every emote submitted must be:

  • A .png file
  • Less than 25kb in size
  • Submitted in 3 sizes, 28px x 28px, 56px x 56px and 112px x112px
  • Have a transparent background
  • Easily readable
  • Clear and sharp

You will also need to choose a unique code that’s added after your emoticon prefix. Every emote has a prefix which relates to your channel name, which then gets followed by a suffix which describes the emote. This unique code is what your viewers will be typing in the chat so it will show up.

Best Practices For Creating Your Own Emoticons

  • Before submission, make sure that you are checking the emoticon at 100% resolution. The art work should be crisp and clear without blurring. If you have any words, the letters should be easy to read.
  • Put your own face on some of the sub emotes, as they are more engaging and have a higher demand.
  • If you do not mind investing some cash, consider finding a digital artist to create them for you!

Making the Emotes

Outsourcing the Work

If you don’t feel comfortable using any of the free tools available or you just haven’t been blessed with the required skills, there’s no shame in hiring a professional artist to make your emotes for you! There are plenty of places that you can find artists who are looking for freelance work, so don’t be shy about searching for the perfect artist and getting it just right. After all, this is your money and they are working for you! Additionally, using some of these sites will also guarantee you monetary security as the payment isn’t transferred until you get your desired product and if there is any problems you will have someone to talk to if things go south. So where do you find these artists?

  • First of all, if you have any friends who stream and have quality emotes – why not ask them where they got them from? if everything worked out for them, you’ll definitely be happy to have found a trustworthy source and if not, you’ll know not to use that artist yourself.
  • Head over to Twitch’s very own Art Section and browse the thousands of artists who are currently online! maybe one of them might be interested in some commissions and would love to have their art showcased on your channel.
  • Find an expert at Upwork – whether it’s illustrators, graphic designers or brand advisers, you’ll find whatever you need there!
  • Behance is a great place to not only look for inspiration but to also find some talented artists to make you your dream come true.
  • Another great place is Fiverr, so head on there and find yourself someone great to make your emotes for you!

Do It Yourself Emotes

If you just want to doodle a bit before you make up your mind, can’t afford to hire a professional artist or just want to make them yourself there are a ton of different options for you to choose from – so pick your favorite one and get cracking! Whether it’s the most basic program like Paint and going up in complexity to Photoshop – whatever your skills, there’ll be a program for you to use! In no special order, here’s a list of what we recommend you try out: 

  • Paint.Net

    This emoticon online maker has a simple design with a small number of options, which allows for a faster and easier emote creation for beginners. 

    Key features:
    • Free to use 
    • Intuitive tabbed user interface for easy navigation
    • Instant 10MB download 
    • Has an online forum community with tutorials and plugins
    • No design skills required 
    • Easy size customization for each sample to meet Twitch’s requirements 
    • Only available on Windows 
    • Uncomfortable manual transparent background creation
    • Mainly targeted at the beginner level users without advanced customization  
  • GIMP

    A more sophisticated Twitch emote maker, GIMP is a cross-platform editor with dedicated graphic design elements and programming algorithms for high-quality image manipulation.

    Key features:
    • Free to use 
    • Diverse customization options 
    • Support of third-party plugins 
    • Powerful photo enhancement for face emotes 
    • Speed up the workflow by binding your scripts to keyboard buttons 
    • Available on Linux, macOS and Windows  
    • Takes time to grasp all the useful features 
    • To arrive at a decent end design, a high number of interface interactions is required 
    • Suitable for individuals with some artistic skills 
  • Clip Studio Paint 

This is a software for drawing and painting. It offers the best capabilities of digital painting that allow for the art creation as it would occur on either canvas or paper, and could serve as a free Twitch emote maker. 

Key features: 
    • Customizable pen sensitivity for controlled strokes 
    • Line shapes and thickness editing with vector layers 
    • Decoration brushes for the fast creation of complex patterns
    • Available on macOS, Windows, iPhone and iPad
    • Sophisticated customization features enabling to bring any creative ideas to life
    • Free high-quality technical support, even during the trial version 
    • Costs $49.99 for the standard version and $219.00 for the advanced one (iPhone version is always free and iPad one has a 6 months free trial)
    • Time-consuming to create a decent emote, due to a high versatility of features 
    • Geared towards digital artists and not everyday users of conventional programs
  • Photoshop:

Known and used by many, Photoshop is an answer on how to create professional digital art and a paid alternative to the free Twitch emote maker options. 

Key features:
    • Any work is automatically saved to the cloud 
    • Centralized properties panel for an easier navigation  
    • Professional design capabilities 
    • Rich degree of image customization that allows for a creation of high-quality designs
    • Cross-platform availability
    • Globally trusted and reliable creator 
    • Not user-friendly interface 
    • Expensive full version of the program  
    • Mainly suitable for people who do not mind investing time in understanding the advanced program features and professional graphic designers 

How to add Custom Emotes to your Channel

Finally, once you’ve designed your emotes and have them ready to be uploaded to your Twitch channel – here’s what to do: 

  1. Go to your Dashboard
  2. Go to the Affiliate/Partner Settings tab
  3. Click Emotes, and upload your emoticons in the sizes specified for each tier
  4. Click Save Changes

Twitch Affiliates receive 1 guaranteed sub emote slot and up to 5 unlockable in total. Meanwhile, Partners are granted 6 automatic slots, and are able to open a total of 60. The potentially unlockable emotes are subject to the accumulation of a certain number of subscriber points. For instance, a 2nd emote tier gets unlocked whenever an Affiliate reaches 15 points. While Partners get emotes of the 7th level upon having at least 65 subscriber points. Tier 1 Twitch subscription is worth 1 point, Tier 2 gets you 2 points and finally Tier 3 grants between 5-6 points per subscriber.  

To see the current status of emoticon slots available to you, navigate to the Affiliate/Partner Settings tab for the Chat Emoticon dashboard and once there you will see:

  1. Current emoticons: This is a display of all the emoticons currently offered via your channel.
  2. Emoticon slot count: The total number of slots currently in use, over the total number of slots available. If you have empty slots available, then you may upload more emoticons. If you have no slots available, your active subscriber total will need to increase before you can upload more emoticons. You do not lose emoticon slots once you have unlocked them.
  3. Current Mission: This shows the next tier to reach in your subscriber count in order to unlock more emoticon slots.
  4. Reward progress bar: This bar shows the current progress towards the next tier, and explains what the reward will be once the progress bar is filled.

Now that you know what are the requirements and guidelines that you have to follow, how to make them and finally, how to upload them to your channel – you are ready to upgrade your stream and bring it to its next level!!! Don’t forget – whether or not you end up paying an artist or creating your custom emotes yourself, always remember to follow Twitch’s guidelines and rules so you don’t end up wasting your time.


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