Talking Tech Friday on Monday – Avatars

So, as a Halloween Treat, I was going to post a column about various ways to create online avatars, but I was Tricked out of actually accomplishing anything productive on Friday by a sugar overdose.  I really need to start writing these columns in advance!

What is it?

Avatar is just a fancy name for a virtual representation of yourself on the web.  It’s often used in reference to computer games – when you create a character in games like Second Life, World of Warcraft, or even a Mii on the Wii, that’s an avatar. You can try to make it look like you, or something completely different.  Avatars are very useful to have for various social networking sites, especially if you don’t want to slap a real picture of yourself on the web.  Making an avatar gives you a personality online, while still preserving a sense of privacy.  I’m pretty comfortable online, obviously, but most of the time I prefer to put up an avatar rather than a real self-portrait.

How does it work?

There are several different services you can use to make an avatar – most of them are very similar, so I’m just going to show a few examples and let you know my own personal preferences. You can experiment and decide which service you prefer.

  • The Simpsons Avatar: probably one of the most popular avatar generators, this site allows you to portray yourself as a resident of Springfield.  You have to register if you want to save and print your avatar, but otherwise, you can create it without registering and still download it to your computer.  Like most generators, you can cycle through a variety of choices such as gender, body shape, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, accessories, etc.   Once your avatar is done, you can download it to your computer, or register to save it or print it from the site.  Here’s my latest: Image Hosting by Picoodle.com
  • Face Your Manga: another popular site, Face Your Manga lets you create an anime-themed “Mangatar.” After you’ve customized your little heart out, you must enter in an email address in order to download the finished product to your computer. Here’s my Mangatar:
  • MyMe: Here’s a new one for me. You do have to sign in with a username and password in order to choose a MyMe avatar. There is no customization, however, you just get to choose from a selection of premade avatars.  Good for those who like quick and easy, bad for those of us who like to customize.  Here’s my chosen one:
  • DoppleMe: Another free site, with customizable avatars.  If you sign in, you get more choices, such as more accessories and fun costumes – you do need to sign in to save your avatar, you might as well register at the beginning in order to get the advanced choices.   After you’ve saved, you have several choices of code to use for various purposes, such as just a face, or the whole avatar.  Here’s my creation: I’m not a fan of this one.
  • Digibody Caricature Maker: this one is pretty fun, and maybe a little more mature.  You can customize a caricature, though there aren’t a lot of options – I, for one, would have exchanged the variety of face shapes for some glasses and a better hairstyle, but I do like the concept.  No registration required.  Here’s me, sans glasses:
  • HeroMachine 2.5: This one’s a personal favorite – you can create your superhero self!  There are tons of fun options, and no registration required.  The only downside is that it’s difficult to save your finished product.  I recommend taking a screenshot and altering it in Paint.  If anyone has any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
  • Meez: a 3D animated avatar generator.  This one is kind of fun, though a little flashy.  You do need to register in order to save your avatar, which you can do in a variety of sizes, or by getting code to paste.  Here’s my quick avatar, with an important message:

Possible Library Uses

As libraries and librarians increasingly insert themselves into social networking sites and other web 2.0 applications, having an avatar is a fun way to fit in.

More Sources

Let’s hear about YOUR favorite avatar generator!

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~ by Anali on November 3, 2008.

One Response to “Talking Tech Friday on Monday – Avatars”

  1. Thanks, keep up your great post !

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