Make an Avatar

About: 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 what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ...

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

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

I used:

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

Step 3: 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

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

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

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)



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    44 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 4

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

    dog digger

    7 years ago on Step 5

    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

    4 replies
    lemoniedog digger

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

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


    lemoniedog digger

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

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


    dog diggerlemonie

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    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.

    lemonieDJ Radio

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    The JamalamLowney

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.