If you enjoy online gaming, posting on forums or message boards, or chatting with friends through instant messenger programs, you’ve probably picked up an avatar or two along the way. Avatars are small graphical files used to represent you on the Internet.Most programs offer a pre-set collection of starter avatars, but they can feel generic or boring. Break the monotony by creating your own avatars by making use of a variety of software programs that may be available on your computer so you won’t have to spend money on pricey downloads. With just a few quick clicks, you’ll have a custom avatar you can use to introduce yourself to the web.
Things You'll Need
- Microsoft Paint
- Microsoft Publisher
- Adobe Photoshop
- Digital Image
Open Microsoft Paint and pull down the “Image” menu, then select “Attributes.” Avatars are very small files, so set your preferred dimensions such as 2 inches by 2 inches and click the “OK” button. Click “View,” then “Zoom,” then “Large Size,” which gives you the space to draw the avatar. Click the “Paintbrush” tool on the left side of the screen and select a color from the “Color Picker” at the bottom of the screen. Draw the outline of the avatar, such as a golf club, cocktail glass or cat's head. Click the “Paint Bucket” tool, then click inside the drawing, which fills with color. Click the “Pencil” tool and switch paint colors, then add accents to the design such as facial features or fire flames. Click the “Airbrush” tool, choose the largest whirl head below it and switch paint colors, then click around the white space of the avatar, adding a glitter effect.
Open Microsoft Publisher and click the “Blank Print Publication” link. Pull down the “File” menu and select “Page Setup,” choosing “Custom” from the “Publication type” scroll menu. Set your avatar dimensions, generally 2 inches by 2 inches, and click “OK;” the Publisher workspace automatically updates. Pull down the “Insert” menu and select “Picture,” then “Clip Art.” Type a word or phrase, such as balloons, shamrock or books, into the “Search for” box and click “Go.” Scroll through the results, then double-click a graphic to add it to the workspace. Grab a corner of the image and shrink it down into place on the avatar box. Click the “Insert WordArt” tool, which looks like a tipping capital “A” and is located on the very left of the screen, then select a style and click “OK.” Type your name or a phrase for the avatar, then choose your font and size. Click “OK,” then drag the word art into place on the avatar.
Create a new Adobe Photoshop file by clicking “File,” then “New.” Name the file “MyAvatar” and set the dimensions. Pull down the “Mode” menu and select “RGB Color,” then click the “White” button under the “Contents” menu and click “OK.” Open another file such as a picture of yourself or a pet, this one from your computer, by browsing to it and double-clicking it so it opens on the workspace. Click the “Lasso” tool on the “Tools” palette on the left side of the screen, then draw an outline around just the subject in the picture. Press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys together on your keyboard to copy it. Click back to the “MyAvatar” box and press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste in the copied area. If it pasted in too large, pull down the “Edit” menu and select “Transform,” then “Scale,” then shrink the image into place. Click the “Paint Bucket” tool on the “Tools” palette, then pull down the “Fill” menu on the top toolbar and select “Pattern.” Click the “Pattern” box, then choose a background pattern for the avatar, such as checkerboard or bubbles. Click once inside the “MyAvatar” box’s white space, which fills with the pattern.
Tips & Warnings
- Microsoft Paint is a free program included with your computer’s installation and may be used for basic drawing and sketching. Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing layout and design program, which may be included with your Microsoft Office Suite, depending on the version. If you have the Creative Suite sold by Adobe, you’ll have a copy of Photoshop, which offers detailed opportunities to edit, transform and enhance your photos and images through a large collection of tools and filters.
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