How to Create an Avatar

by on December 1st, 2014
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Instructions Step 1 Open an image

Open an image in XNView. You can do this in one of three ways:

If you have XNView set as your default image editing program for the type of graphic you are trying to edit, then you go to the picture on your computer and double click on the picture. You can right click on the picture and select “Open with” and then choose XNView. Or “Choose another program” if XNView isn’t listed and select XNView. You can open XNView, go to File->Open, navigate to the image, select the image, and click open.

Step 2 Select the image area
After selecting the crop tool, make a rough square around the part of the image that you want to use as your avatar. The dimensions do not have to be exact at this stage, just get as close as possible. You want to make sure that the crop lines take out as much of the background as possible.

Step 3 Click on Edit->Crop

Select Edit and then select Crop, which is located underneath Background image and above Import Clipboard. The computer will do its magic and you can move onto the next step.

Things Needed
A free photo editing program like XNView or IfranView. A picture that is the same size or bigger than the size that you need.

Tips & Warnings
Always shrink and never blow up a picture unless you want it to look blurry or distorted. Set pixels/inch to 72. It wills save you some file space and anything higher isn’t really needed. Always use JPEG, PNG, or GIF images for avatars. When you are using the re-size command, make sure that keep ratio is checked or you will stretch and distort your image. When you are using the Canvas Size command, make sure that keep ratio is unchecked or you will only be able to specify either the height or the width and not both. Make sure to create an avatar that matches both the height and width specifications that you are given so you have full control of how it looks.

Step 4 Click on Image->Re-size

Select Image and then re-size, which is below Extract Channel and above Canvas Size. In the dialog box, you will see two areas, Screen Size and Print Size. Print Size can be ignored except for the Units, which should be set to 72. Screen Size on the other hand is where you will tell the computer what size to make your image.

When you try and upload an avatar to a site, they will give you maximum height and width specifications. Tall pictures never look good at really small sizes, so it’s better to re-size them, so their width matches the maximum width allowed.

Conversely, wide pictures should have their height match the maximum height allowed. You can then use the canvas size canvas to “trim” the other side to match the allowed dimension.

Of course, if you want to keep the whole picture, you would make your long side match the maximum allowed size for that side and then add pixels to the other side so that it fit the allowed size. That is, height would match height and the canvas size command would increase the width or width would make width and height would increase.

Click Ok to tell the computer to make your changes (don’t worry, there is an Undo command in the Edit menu) or click Cancel if you change you mind.

Step 5 Click on Image->Canvas Size

Select Image and then Canvas Size, which is below re-size and above Automatic Crop. Canvas size allows you to fine tune what you did by selecting the crop area and then using re-size command because it doesn’t affect the image, but the area that displays the image. With this command, you can add pixels or take them away from that area. Think of a picture frame, sometimes it overlaps the picture because its open area is smaller than the picture. Other times, you see the cardboard backing because it’s bigger,

The Print Size section of the Canvas Size dialog box can be ignored, since you set what you needed to set with the re-size command. The Screen Size cuts or expands the canvas to the height or width you specify.

Image position tells the computer where to add or subtract from the canvas. If you select center, the canvas will be adjusted equally depending on how you specify the height or the width. Center is probably the most common and least confusing of the choices. With everything else you have to think backwards. For example, if you tell set the canvas to trim pixels and select top left as your image position, it will take the pixels from the bottom right. If you set the canvas to add pixels to the bottom left, it will add them to the top right.

Background color can be ignored if you are only trimming pixels. But if you are adding them, then you want to select a color that is as close as possible to background of the website where the avatar is going to reside. This is especially true if you are using the JPEG image format.

Click Ok to move forward or Cancel to start this step over again.

Step 6 Save and upload your creation

Once you are satisfied with how the avatar matches the size specifications of the website, then you can save the image by clicking on File->Save As. File->Save As allows you to make a copy of the image with a different name in a different location on your computer, so you do no harm to the original. You would then upload the finished avatar to the site by using whatever file upload system they have.

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