Create a Laughing Face Emoji Photoshop Tutorial

USE THIS TECHNIQUE TO CREATE ANY EMOJI WITH PHOTOSHOP! | We’ll take a look at building out an Emoji like you would find on a current iOS device using Layer Styles and Paths in Photoshop.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we will create a series of shapes and build the base of any emoji face that you would find on an iOS device at the time I made this tutorial. After creating the base that you can use for any emoji face, we will create a series of paths and convert them to shapes and use Layer Styles to make the whole series of shapes look like a real, as-you-would-expect iOS emoji. We will create the laughing emoji face.

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Site Exclusive Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. New document at 2560x1440px
  2. Grab Ellipse tool and click to choose to create a 1000x1000px shape
  3. Fill shape with #f5e325
  4. Add a gradient overlay transparent to white, Overlay, 90% opacity, and 90º angle
  5. Add the first Inner Shadow w/ color #e58a00, 70% opacity, -90º, and 250px for distance and size.
  6. Add another Inner Shadow w/ black color, Overlay, 80% opacity, 90º 20px distance, 10% choke, and 60px size
  7. Add another Inner Shadow w/ black color, Overlay, 40% opacity, -90º, 50% choke, and 150px size
  8. Add another Inner Shadow w/ the color #bf7300, Normal blend mode, 50% opacity, -90º, 50px distance, 150px size
  9. Add ANOTHER Inner Shadow w/ color #824100, Normal blend mode, 50% opacity, -90º, 10px distance
  10. Add a final Inner Shadow here set to black, 100% opacity, 90º angle, 10px distance, and 20px size
  11. Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate that original ellipse and right-click on the layer and choose to “Clear Layer Styles” to get this back to a yellow circle.
  12. Open the layer styles dialog and delete all additional Inner Shadows that remain
  13. Change fill of this new circle to any color
  14. Open the Properties panel and set width to 900px and height to 950px and then Cmd/Ctrl + click the layer thumbnail for the bottom circle to load it as a selection and align this new circle to the bottom and the center of the circle.
  15. Reduce the new circle layer’s Fill Opacity to 0%
  16. Add a Gradient Overlay to this layer using a transparent to white gradient and drag the transparency stop in the gradient over near the middle of the gradient, set to 85% opacity with a 90º angle.
  17. Find a copy of the emoji you wish to copy online and save that image to your computer
  18. Drag the emoji into Photoshop and use Free Transform to scale it up and place it over the base face we’ve already created.
  19. Use the Pen tool and trace half of the mouth and then use the Path Selection tool to duplicate and flip the mouth horizontally.
  20. Select both paths and create a new solid color layer and set the fill to #9e6a1c
  21. Trace one of the eyes and select that path and create another solid color layer and sample the color from the mouth.
  22. Trace one of the eyebrows and select that path and create another solid color layer and once more sample the color of the mouth.
  23. Duplicate the eye and the brow and use Free transform to flip these shapes to mesh with the other side of the face.
  24. Name all these layers to keep track of them!
  25. Create an ellipse that is 190x190px and drag and place it over where the tear is.
  26. Use the Direct Selection tool to select the anchor point on top and drag it upward until it is almost at the bottom corner of the eye.
  27. Grab the Convert Point tool hidden under the Pen tool and single click the top point that we just pulled out to make this a sharp point. Tweak this anchor point to add a little bit of rounded-ness to it using the Convert Point tool.
  28. Convert this to a shape layer with any fill color and then…
  29. Duplicate the tear shape and fill it with white (this will be the highlight inside the teardrop) and use Free Transform and scale down the tear shape and move it up near the point from where the tear is originating
  30. Next, select both shapes and use Free transform to rotate it over so the tip of the “tear” is near the bottom left of the eyeball shape
  31. Duplicate the both tear shapes and flip to the other side of the face
  32. Grab the Pen tool and trace the teeth shape in the emoji we’ve overlaid to create that final shape we need.
  33. Create another fill layer and fill this one with white
  34. Select one of the eyebrow shapes and add an Inner Shadow colored black at Normal blend mode, 65% opacity, 90º angle, 15px distance, 10% choke, and 40px size.
  35. Add a Drop Shadow to this eyebrow set to Linear Dodge(add), 30% opacity, 90º angle, 10px distance, 10px size
  36. Copy this layer style and paste it onto both eyes and the second eyebrow.
  37. Select the mouth shape layer and add an Inner Shadow, black color at 65%, 90º angle, 20px distance, 10% choke, 40px size
  38. Add a Drop Shadow to the mouth set to Overlay, 100% opacity, 90º angle, 10px distance, and 10px size
  39. Select the Teeth shape layer and add a gradient overlay that runs #c4c4c4 -> #FFFFFF -> #c4c4c4
  40. Add an Inner Shadow as well set to Overlay, 75% opacity, -45º angle, 5px distance, and 25px size
  41. Add a Drop Shadow to the teeth set to black, 40% opacity, 90º angle, 7px distance, 10% choke, 5px size
  42. Select the teardrop shape and add a Color Overlay of #26c9ff
  43. Next, add an Inner Glow at Normal, 20% opacity, -90º angle, 30px distance, 20% choke, 90px size
  44. Add another Inner Shadow to this shape set to Overlay, colored white, 80% opacity, -90º angle, 20px distance, 20% choke, 20px size
  45. Add one last Inner Shadow to this shape set to Color Burn, 50% opacity, black color, 90º angle, 40px distance, 40px size
  46. Select the shape layer for the teardrop highlight and reduce the Fill Opacity to 0%
  47. Add a Gradient Overlay to this shape running white to white, but set one of the transparency stops to 30% opacity
  48. Add an Inner Shadow set to Color Dodge, white color, 40% opacity, 90º angle, 10px distance, 10px size
  49. Add a second Inner Shadow to this shape, Overlay, white color, 100% opacity, 90º angle, 10px distance, 20px size
  50. Group all layers together and then scale down specifically using Free Transform and % points. Go into each layer and scale the layer styles by that amount for a better look.