posted by Steven

Just about 2 weeks into the beta and we’re getting great uptake and comments from all of you.  Today I wanted to take a few moments and talk in more detail about a fun feature that we’ve added to Windows Live Messenger and how it came about.

When we were sitting around brainstorming ideas for new features in Messenger, some of the team was saying we have to do webcam display pictures. Everyone will want to use their webcam to make expressive video tiles. Makes sense. I need a picture of myself to put up in Messenger and there’s a camera plugged in facing me – seems like a no-brainer. Well this was just the beginning. The team started developing this idea that was based on dynamic display pictures which allow you to set a mood for an avatar.

Why do you need a mood tile? Lets say you are in a conversation with your best friend and they say: “Hey guess who is coming to my birthday party? and you say “Who?”, and he says: “Your ex-girlfriend” This would be a great time to have a mood tile. With mood tiles you can change your appearance of your display picture to react dynamically to the conversation.

Open the display pictures dialog by clicking on your display picture from the main window Click on the button that says “Tile with Moods” – you need to have a Webcam installed. Here is the one I use.

Here you are presented with a dialog that allows you to take five still frames or five, 4-second video clips that you can make into a dynamic Mood tile. Clicking on the camera or webcam button records the frame or clip. When you are satisfied with what you recorded, click on the next empty box and record/capture the next mood. Each mood has a corresponding emoticon. You can modify which emoticon is used for each mood. The default capture is what your display picture will look like most of the time.

When you are in a IM conversation with someone you can show your mood tile off by pressing the keystrokes for the emoticons.

Here is a quick video which shows off how this might play out for you.

Using a mood tile in Messenger


If you want to create a video display picture without the mood options you can do that too. Open up the display picture dialog, click Webcam Snapshot and either capture a still frame or 4-second video to set as your display picture. Put on your funniest expression and have some fun.

– Steven