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How To: Making an Avatar

by Victoria Medley (Age: 29)
copyright 06-25-2004
Contest Winner

Age Rating: 1 +

You will need Paint Shop Pro 7 and no skills with it to be able to accomplish this. It's easy.

Today we're going to cover making an avatar. This will be a simple avatar with some transparent properties. This is the image I'm going to use:

Open Paint Shop Pro and open the image that you are going to use. You may have to resize it (Go to 'Image' and 'Resize') to get what you want into the avatar.

Go to 'File' and 'New' and make the width and height 60. (It should be in pixels) Now, go to your layer palette. (To open your layer palette go to 'View' 'Toolbars' and check 'Layer Palette' before clicking 'OK'.) Once on your layer palette right click on the layer labeled 'Background'and click 'New Raster Layer'. Name it 'drawing' and click okay.'

Select your paintbrush tool and pick a color that matches your image. (I generally use black since it's a universal color). Go to your 'Tool Options' (To open go to 'View' then 'Toolbars' and check 'Tool Options Palette'). You want your brush to be square and a size 1. It should look like this:

On this New Raster Layer (that we named 'drawing' earlier) we are going to draw the pattern we shall use for our new avatar. Just paint some sort of design on yours using your paint brush. Mine looks like this:

Once that it finished, go back to the picture you are planning to use. Select it and then go to 'Edit' and 'Copy'. Once you have done that, select the image you just painted your design on and go to 'Edit' and then 'Paste as New Layer'. Your image may be on top of your drawing. That's okay for right now. Just position your image to what you want showing on your avatar.

When you have it positioned, then go back to your Layer Palette and click on 'Layer 2'. Hold it down and drag the layer underneath 'drawing'. Once you have done this, you should see your drawing on top of the image like this:

Got that much? Good. Now select your Paintbrush Tool and pick a very bright green color. (The more neon and uncommon, the better. If your picture has a lot of green in it, try using another very bright, uncommon color). We are going to use this color to mark what we want to be transparent. Make sure that on your Layer Palette 'Layer 2' is selected. Now, paint the parts of the picture you want to be transparent. (If you make a mistake, don't erase. Use the undo command 'Ctrl+Z') When you are done painting, it should look something like this:

Now, go to your 'Color Palette' and click the little arrows to make the color you used to paint with the background color. It should look like this:

Now, go to 'File', 'Export', and 'Gif Optimizer'. A dialogue box will come up, talking about what should be transparent. Make sure that you have selected "Areas that match this color" (and the color of the paint you used to fill in is shown) and that the Tolerance is set to 1. Press Okay.

That's it! Now you have a finished, transparent avatar. Pretty easy, ne? If you have any questions, feel free to ask. ^_~

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        09-20-2004     Paula Tsvayg        

Usagi looks very pretty, I'm going to print this picture out at the library.
Thanks for the explanation, I loved how it was step by step.

        09-04-2004     Gregory Christiano        

This is very useful and informative. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the procedure and walking us through step-by-step.

        07-01-2004     Victoria Medley        

The only image that is not original is the picture of Usagi. The templates were made by me, and PSP allows its users to use screecaptures to demonstrate how to use its program.

As for the picture of Usagi, I got it from many years ago. This site is not currently up, which is why it was not credited.

        07-01-2004     Kevin (Buddy) Ales        

I would like to know where your image credits are. I checked the links on the images and they don't link to PnP so I would think image credits would be needed? For this reason I lower the points I give you. Are the images at the website copywritten? Well, that would be breaking a federal law if they are and you give no credit.

        06-28-2004     Sam Hackel-Butt        

Awwww I don't have Paint Shop Pro :( I have Adobe Photoshop. I personally find it easier to use. (I did try the painters... free 60 day trial:D) Maybe find a way to do an avater using photoshop?


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