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Avatar Tutorial  (Read 1720 times)

Posted on 20 May 2013, 11:50:09
I spent a couple of hours looking for decent tutorials on avatar creation and felt that none did a good job of it, so I've decided to put together a small tutorial to help out anyone struggling to come up with something they like. I feel that the importance of a good avatar is often understated as it's a visual representation of yourself, and people tend to identify you by that little 100x100 pixel square more than your username when browsing through the site.

Instead of jumping into by-the-numbers guides on how to create an image in Photoshop, I'm going to cover the theory a bit to give you better foundations to build on. Don't worry, I'll be quick and try to make this as interesting as possible.

Starting Out

The first (and most obvious) thing you'll need is a good image to work from. This is where your personal taste comes into play and there's no set rule for picking something to work from, as it's your tastes the image will reflect - so hop over onto Google Images or any favorite image site and browse around for something you really like. For the sake of this tutorial, I'll be using the image on the right from the awesome artist Huke.

When scouting for an image, one thing you should note is that bigger is better - you can make a large image small while maintaining a high picture quality, but increasing the size of a smaller picture usually leads to some pretty ugly distortion. An exception to this rule is if you plan on resizing bitmap images like sprites from a game - you'll always want to maintain the aspect ratio and work in multiples of 8, though this is a bit complicated for those unfamiliar with graphics so I'll skip it for now.

Creating the Avatar

Now that you have an image, open up your favorite graphic application - I recommend Photoshop which you can get by following this link and will be referencing it for the rest of this guide.

Create a New Document (File > New or press Ctrl+N) and set the width and height to 100. This will create the template for your avatar - a common newbie mistake is using Photoshop's "Image Size" option to get the desired result which leads to messed up proportions and poor placement, which is something I'll get to in the next section.

Next, you'll want to have both the avatar template and your image open on the Photoshop stage - refer to the image on the right to see how I've done it. Working with your picture, use the Marquee Tool (hotkey: M) to draw a rectangular box over the part of the image you want in your avatar, making sure that you go over the desired size so that you'll have more freedom to work with. Once selected, switch to the Move Tool (hotkey: V) and drag the image across into your avatar template file. Don't worry if it's too large or if you can't see the picture well, we'll be fixing that soon.

Resizing the Picture & Positioning

Now for the fun part! With the Move Tool still selected, you should see the transformation tools around the image - it's the dotted line with squares along each corner and at midway points (hit Ctrl+H if you don't see it to toggle it on-and-off). When you hover your cursor over any of these points, you should see it change to the resize icon (). Simply clicking-and-dragging on any of these points will change the size of your image, but you should always hold Shift when doing so try to maintain the correct ratio and prevent distortion. Dragging anywhere within the dotted box will move it around, so play around with it to get the positioning right.

You could just resize the picture to get the head in, but that's honestly kind of boring. One trick I've found to be pretty useful is intentionally cutting off a part of the image to bring attention to a specific part - instead of fitting the head into the box, leave it larger and move it around to capture one of the eyes, lips, hair, or any other part that captures your interest. It's a bit hard to explain, so I've put together a few examples in the image to the right - which of the six you prefer is totally up to you, just as is whether you like any of them at all.
Last Edit: 20 May 2013, 12:24:50 by Outrack

Posted on 20 May 2013, 12:18:57
FINE, I'll upload a damn avatar!

Posted on 20 May 2013, 12:50:10
Nice tutorial Outrack! I'm still a fan of my method though:

Incognito to hide NDA'd work stuffs, not porn, I swear. :|

Posted on 22 May 2013, 04:41:04
Lexy made mine  :love: and either allu or lexy made my sig  :swt:

Posted on 22 May 2013, 12:06:11

Seriously though, if anyone does not feel they have the capability to make a proper avatar, send me your source images and a description of your desired outcome and I will be happy to provide.


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