While these animated designs are primarily focused across the 😃 Smileys & People, 🐻 Animals & Nature, 🍔 Food & Drink, and ⚽ Activity emoji categories, many 🚀 Travel & Place, 💡 Object, and 💕 Symbol emoji designs are also animated.
The Microsoft Teams set also includes a series of animated emoji designs from outside of Unicode’s recommendations.
These include a sacrastic clapping smiley, a brooding emo smiley with a prominent fringe, a cactus with a heart-shaped ballon, a older woman with maracas, and versions of the 🐶 Dog Face, 🐱 Cat Face, and 🐵 Monkey Face wearing 🕶️ Sunglasses (there's also a 🤖 Robot and 🐨 Koala that have donned some shades).
The 3D Fluent set also includes several designs seeking to encapsulate aspects of the work-from-home experience:
How does Microsoft Teams support these additions to the emoji keyboard? It's due to how they are implemented.
⬆️⬇️ Shortcode Ups & Downs
Microsoft Teams’ animated designs not featured in other emoji keyboards are implemented through text-based shortcodes such as (happy), (inlove), and (party).
Shortcode implementations are not a novel concept within the emoji space, though it comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
The main disadvantage relates to cross-app compatibility. Copying a sentence that contains emoji design not recommended by Unicode from Microsoft Team into another app that doesn't support the same shortcode system will display the shortcode instead of the graphic.
Whether such copying of messages from Microsoft Teams is a likely scenario or not is debatable, but this limitation of shortcodes is real.
However, the major advantage of shortcode implementation is the ability to swiftly add new additions to specific platforms' emoji keyboards without the need for a formal proposal to the Unicode Consortium.
Is it possible that the emoji designs found within Microsoft Teams could eventually make their way to other emoji keyboards across the globe?
While new flag emoji proposes aren't currently being considered by Unicode, it's entirely possible that the likes of (werewolfhowl) and (emo) could be argued for within an emoji proposal.
(Psst - want to make the argument for their inclusion yourself? The deadline for Emoji 16.0 submissions is 30th July 2022, so you better get writing up that proposal - as per Unicode's detailed guidelines, of course.)
With that being said, there's nothing stopping Microsoft from creating non-RGI emoji zero width joiner (ZWJ) sequences to support the likes of the 🐶 Dog Face and 🐱 Cat Face emojis wearing 🕶️ Sunglasses.
The 3D Fluent emoji set for Microsoft Teams began rolling out to select users from February 2022. It is expected to be available for all Microsoft Teams users across both Work & School and Home additions in the near future.