Many communities on the web, including message boards, LiveJournal or other blogs, last.fm, and even this site allow you to have an avatar, or an icon. You can search for icons that other people have already made, or you can take pictures of your own, and make them yourself. If you don’t know how, well, I’ll help. This is a tutorial to make a basic icon using Paint Shop Pro9. If you are using other programs, feel free to follow along, but some steps may be slightly different.
How To Make An Avatar
1. Choose Picture
Find your picture. Higher quality picture are better to use when making graphics, so when choosing your avatar picture, keep that in mind and try to use clearer pictures.
Now that you’ve got your picture chosen, you can crop it using the cropping tool (third button down on the tool pallet). If you do not have the tool pallet open, click view gt; Toolbars gt; Tools. When cropping, you want to make sure that you create a perfect square – all sides need to be the same size. When you click the cropping tool, another toolbar will appear at the top. In this, you will see a box that says height, and one that says width. To make sure your boxes are the same size, you can type what size you want each side to be in those two boxes. Also, when cropping, think about what effects you want to use. Often times, a picture where the subject is off center is more interesting than the focus being dead-center. Double click the area you want to crop once you’ve got the box around what you want to be cropped.
Avatars are generally 100×100 pixels. To resize your picture go to Image gt; Resize. If you want a border around your avatar, set the sides to Width = 98, Height = 98. If you do not want a border around your avatar, set the sides to Width = 100, Height = 100, and skip to Step 5. Make sure that it is in pixels, and not percent.
4. Add Borders
This is optional. If you’d prefer to not have a border on your icon, resize it to 100×100. Otherwise, click Image gt; Borders. Click the color box to pick what color you would like. Make sure there is a 1 in each of the number boxes, and then click okay.
5. Finishing touches
You now have a 100×100 avatar. You can play around with the colors, effects, et cetera to make it more of your own work. To add words, simply click the “A” on the tool pallet and type in/play around with different texts.
To save, click File gt; Save As. Put it in a folder, make the name whatever you would like it to be, make sure you have the format you want (.jpg, .gif, etc) and then click save. Upload and enjoy.