Talking Unicorns & Smiling Poop: How To Use iPhone X's Animoji

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an Animoji is worth as many as you can fit into 10 seconds — and then some. With Apple's new 3D take on the emoji, it isn't just about what you say, it's about how you say it. Do you smirk? Furrow your brow? Purse your lips? Whatever you do, it's going to come across onscreen.

This is the magic of the Animoji characters Apple has crafted on iPhone X, its most expensive smartphone to date. X has a new TrueDepth camera, located in the black notch at the top of the screen, which captures more than 50 facial muscle movements. This technology is used to create corresponding reactions on one of 12 animated emoji onscreen.

For those questioning Animoji's usefulness, consider this: You can say with an Animoji what you might not feel comfortable putting in words or recording yourself saying. Behind the mask of the unicorn (or poop), you can adopt whatever voice or persona you want to get your message across.

Animoji also serve another purpose: Clearing up messaging misinterpretations. It's hard to read tone in a text, but if you can hear the person's voice and "see" their expressions as they convey their message, questions of "what's she really saying?" won't factor in to your response. This is some truly next generation voicemail.

Ahead, your guide to creating and receiving Animoji.

How To Use Animoji

Creating an Animoji is as easy as sending a regular emoji, with just a little bit of extra effort. To access the feature, open a new message and tap the App Store icon to the left of the message bar. Along the bottom app toolbar, you'll see the monkey emoji. Tap that, and the 12 Animoji options will appear along the lefthand side of the screen. Scroll through these and select one you like.

A yellow square onscreen will show you where to position your face so the TrueDepth camera can see you. When you're ready to record a message, tap the red circle and make the most of your allotted 10 seconds. You can scrap your recording and try again, or send it. Although only iPhone X users can create Animoji, anyone can receive them as messages — even Android users. If you want to save your Animoji recording to your camera roll, just hard press on the sent message and select "save" from the dropdown menu.

Animoji work impressively well, mimicking gestures in fun ways that differ from one creature to the next. It can be a bit creepy to hear your voice coming through the mouth of an emoji, but it's not unlike what we're used to seeing in Disney and Pixar movies.

And now, Refinery29's takes on the Animoji currently available.
The Robot

Need a coworker to get something done? Send a daunting message in a way that says "I'm sort of playing around, but not really."
The Dog

Say what your pup would say if they could speak — or channel Dug from Up. (Warning: Repeatedly sending this sort of message to friends will annoy them and may prompt them to briefly block you.)
The Cat

Whining has never looked so adorable.
The Poop

Make the cheesy pun you know everyone is going to make.
The Rabbit

Turn yourself into a famous character.
The Pig

Delight family members under the age of five.
The Fox

What indeed did the fox say?
The Unicorn

Relive the year's most hyped trend (long live unicorn everything).
The Monkey

Show your cheeky side.
The Panda

Let out your midweek angst.
The Chicken

Not the most beloved emoji, but this one still manages to be cute in Animoji form.
The Alien

Steven Spielberg does not endorse this message.