Introduction: Make an Avatar

Picture of Make an Avatar

This Instructable describes how to make an avatar with original artwork.
In simple terms it is a square image which represents a user on an internet site.

One Instructables member was asking for contributions and I thought I'd have a go for something to do on a Bank-holiday weekend.

Step 1: Theme

Picture of Theme

Here, the community has been invited to design an avatar for a member, but the same methodology would apply to yourself.

The member seems to like K'NEX, and there's some kind of "Jam" element, evidenced at least by the Forum Topic.

I thought of "K'NEX jam"

Step 2: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

I used:

A clean and empty jam-jar
Some blackcurrant juice drink
A digital camera
Adobe PhotoShop
MS Paint

Step 3: The Subject

Picture of The Subject

The purpose of this make was to create an original image of "K'NEX jam".

Pieces of K'NEX were arranged in the jam-jar, with thought for colour-balance and general aesthetics. I did not just toss K'NEX in a jar. (OK I did just toss K'NEX in the jar, but it didn't look good so I tipped it out and started again)

To create a jam-like effect, I simply filled the jar with juice-drink.

Step 4: Photography

Picture of Photography

I don't have a great camera, it's an old Fuji FinePix 2300, but it works well enough.

A basic light box was assembled from, a box. Placed in a well-lit area the white interior served well enough.

The jam-jar was placed on a plinth (double-sided sticky-foam tape) to lift from the base with a view to making the final image clean-up easier.

I took eight shots of the jar, from various angles, either without flash or with slow-shutter flash. This gave me a choice - some were better than others and I've posted all of them only to show the value in having a selection.

Step 5: Image Manipulation

Picture of Image Manipulation

Having chosen my preferred image, I tweaked-it a bit with Adobe PhotoShop. This is what I used, but there are many other pieces of software which will do the same.

First, Image>Adjust>Auto Levels.
This makes the colour balance nicer, and the white whiter.

Second, Image>Adjust>Levels.
The R channel was moved to 2
The G channel to 1.2
The B channel to 1.4
This made the image brighter and more colourful, with an emphasis towards jammy-red.

Third, a bit of painting with a white paintbrush, removed the box background. The box being white-ish in the first place made this very easy.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

I used the select tool to copy a rough square.

Within Instructables all avatars are displayed as 48x48 squares, if your image isn't square it will be cropped - meaning bits will be cut off it to make it square.

Pasting into MS Paint (I just find it easier) I just needed to check Image>Attributes and adjust them to be square (400x400)


(Although the rules said "Deadline for entries: 2009-04-12 11:59 PM PST" entries for Burning Questions Round 7 had already closed by the time I published this)


FRANCESCA45 (author)2012-04-18

gys im going to be making somthing realy cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FRANCESCA45 (author)2012-03-15

nice job man

lemonie (author)FRANCESCA452012-03-15

That was a long time ago, but it's nice to be reminded.


dog digger (author)2011-12-05

I think that if you used the lasso tool (polygonal) to remove the subject and paste it onto an empty canvas, it would be easier than using the white brush

lemonie (author)dog digger2011-12-05

It might, but I have a wobbly-hand and can never do the whole loop right...


dog digger (author)lemonie2011-12-05

what about the magnetic lasso tool?

lemonie (author)dog digger2011-12-06

I don't know what that is, but I'm interested - where do I find it in PhotoShop 6.0?


dog digger (author)lemonie2011-12-06

When you use the lasso tool, there shoupld be about 3 or 4 types when you click on the lasso in the side panel. There should be one there with a little magnet. It basically detects areas of high contrast and highlights the subject. I use a combination of magnetic and polygonal.

knex_mepalm (author)2010-04-06

 Pickled Knex?

DJ Radio (author)2009-10-24

So some of the knex I will be getting was in a jar full of jam?  =P

lemonie (author)DJ Radio2009-10-24

Juice-drink, yes I will post it next week.


DJ Radio (author)lemonie2009-11-12

Lolz, what's taking so long?

lemonie (author)DJ Radio2009-11-12

To be honest: there was a series of days of industrial action in the postal service (instructables postcard too a long time to arrive) - I decided to wait until we were clear of that (not to get "lost"). Then I've just been a bit slow - I''l tell you when it's been dispatched.


Kryptonite (author)2009-10-18

Any ideas for a Camel and Kryptonite?

lemonie (author)Kryptonite2009-10-18

Not yet, that's an interesting idea...


Kryptonite (author)lemonie2009-10-18

When bored I doodle down a camel with a Superman sign and a cape, but it's hard to get that into a thumbnail size image.

lemonie (author)Kryptonite2009-10-19

Hmm yes. Did you see this:


The Jamalam (author)2009-04-13

So this is how you did it! Good idea, i like the jammy effect! Well done!

Lowney (author)The Jamalam2009-09-13

lol YOU could use this! Why are you called "Jamalam" anyway?

The Jamalam (author)Lowney2009-09-13

Yeah he made it for me a while back but it wouldn't let me save it. And Jamalam is just a nickname from IRL.

Lowney (author)The Jamalam2009-09-13


The Jamalam (author)Lowney2009-09-13

In Real Life.

Lowney (author)The Jamalam2009-09-13

Ah OK. Yeah that's like "Lowney" but why Jamalam?

Lowney (author)2009-09-13

I like mine. It shows what country I am from, which tells people why I don't use American terminology, why I normally seem to be on at weird times (time zone difference of like 5-8 hours) and to show pride in the pile of poo britain has become. Also it shows the first letter of my surname.

sharlston (author)2009-08-08

i uploaded a new avatar today

will421 (author)2009-06-30


crestind (author)2009-06-23

K'nex = 5 * by default.

DrWeird117 (author)2009-05-05


lemonie (author)DrWeird1172009-05-05


lemonie (author)2009-04-18

How about posting 'The Jamalam an avatar, he's still short of the 10 he was aiming for?


lemonie (author)2009-04-18

Yes, very. But still in one piece. L

DJ Radio (author)2009-04-13

how much knex do you have? make a knex gun!

lemonie (author)DJ Radio2009-04-13

Not a lot of K'NEX really, but I thought I'd see what I could do with it, so far not much L

DJ Radio (author)lemonie2009-04-14

Hmm, can I have a picture of all the knex you found around your home? I'll go check around and see what guns you can make with it.

lemonie (author)DJ Radio2009-04-14

I found it in a charity shop...

>green 17mm 61x
>white 32mm 45x
>blue 55mm 23x
>yellow 85mm 12x
>red 130mm 6x
>grey 192mm 5x

>grey 0o (1 connection) 23x
>grey 45o (2 connections) 9x
>red 90o (3 connections) 21x
>green 135o (4 connections) 25x
>purple 135o (4 connections) 16x
>orange 180o (2 connections) 9x
>yellow 180o (5 connections) 11x
>blue 315o (7 connections) 10x
>white 360o (8 connections) 5x

18 blue spacers

7 grey gears, 1 blue, 1 big yellow, some wheels, black and brown bits and a couple of red triangular things


DJ Radio (author)lemonie2009-04-14

I think you can build a few guns then.

DJ Radio (author)DJ Radio2009-04-13

ps nice ible!! 5*, and faved.

Tom Buckey (author)2009-04-14

how do you get photo shop?

lemonie (author)Tom Buckey2009-04-14

A friend of mine left PhotoShop on my machine when I was sharing it with him. But there are alternatives, a lot of people use GIMP.

And yes, the jar is cracked, I was hoping the flash might highlight it in a nice way, but it didn't - that's quite observant of you.


Tom Buckey (author)2009-04-14

there seems to be a crak it the jar?

iectyx3c (author)2009-04-13

Bravo, wizard 'ible. Nicely done.

lemonie (author)iectyx3c2009-04-13

Thanks - it wasn't actually that hard to do, so I hope that shows. L

gmjhowe (author)2009-04-13

Great work! I was planning on taking this route, as most people when it comes to design, just sit infront of a computer and make something up. Creativity lies in the captured photo, the creation of art using paint, and paper, though a physical medium in the real world.

lemonie (author)gmjhowe2009-04-13

You know, I only really thought about posting this when I considered that someone might ask where I got it from. Thanks for the comment L

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out ... More »
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