A few days ago I was looking for a good picture to use for my twitter account. Trying to pick out a picture you think doesn’t look terrible is always hard, so then I turned to the Internet to solve this problem. I had seen a member of the SEO meetup I belong to that had a great avatar and thought that might be a smart solution.
I did a quick Google search for “create avatar”, and found a wealth of free/do-it-yourself sites that take the pain out of creating an avatar.
The first one I tried was DoppelMe. It was really easy, although they don’t actually give you the image, they allow you to link back to it. Having non-black/brown hair puts me at a disadvantage since the colors are limited, and as I would find out, apparently not a lot of old guys are making cool avatars.
The next one I found was Simpsonize Me, which was fun. Aside from the creepy Burger King dude that sponsors the site, it was easy to use and created a very high quality Simpson-like character. This was the only one I ran across that tried to age into account. Simpsonize Me also allows you to create a full body character, and select only the part you want.
Face Your Manga was my third stop. It offers a lot of options and is super easy. The site is hosted under an Italian domain, but is perfectly translated for us English speaking types. This was not my favorite avatar, it seemed more aimed at younger kids.
I also stumbled across BeFunky’s UVATAR. This site has you upload a photo and then uses that as a base. My final product was a bit sketchy, but I really liked the way they let you customize almost everything. I worked with other photos of my wife and kids, and it really depends on the quality of the picture you start with. So don’t take too much from my attempt here. Keep in mind, that this was my first attempt, and as I did more, my results became better and better.
Far and away the funniest site to build an avatar at is the South Park site. This site lets you choose from kids, boys, girls, adults, almost everything. Lots of fun stuff. If you’re a South Park fan, it’s worth the time just to see how you would look if you ever do anything dumb enough that you would get written into a script.
The entire process was fun and lets me have an identity that is me, without really being me. The other interesting part is to do this with a friend who can help guide you. We all see ourselves one way, and that’s not always the way the rest of the world will recognize us.