How to make an avatar and add it to your profile.

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How to make an avatar and add it to your profile.

Postby tasadam » Tue 22 Nov, 2011 11:58 am

The steps covered here are
    * Choosing an image
    * Cropping it for content
    * Cropping it for aspect
    * Resizing the image
    * Making the file size small
    * Uploading the avatar to your profile
    * An online method of cropping, resizing and removing EXIF info.
Firstly, decide on an image you want.
I will assume you have the image on your computer as a .JPG file.

The first thing to do is to crop your image to the content you want, and the aspect.
What this means...

Content -
Your image might look like this -
Berries.jpg
But all you want is the berries. So using any of a number of programs that are available to you if you have a computer, you can crop the image to end up with the content you want.
Say, something like this -
BerriesCrop1.jpg

Because avatars are really small images, and most photos are really large, there is plenty of detail in most photos you have to allow you to select only a part of the image for an avatar.

Aspect -
The maximum pixel size for an avatar is 150 x 100 pixels.
That's a 2 to 3 ratio for height to width.
When cropping your photo, if you want to utilize the most amount of space in the image area for your avatar, you will need to crop it to that scale.
This doesn't mean you have to use that scale. You can stick with the aspect of the image you've cropped if you want.

Using the maximum image space - When cropping your image, your program may show you the resolution of the image in pixels. Using your calculator (or your head) you can see the width and height, try to crop so the height is 0.66 times the width, or so that the width is 1.5 times the height.

Resizing -
Now that you have the image looking the way you want it, you need to resize the image. The easiest way to do this, and to ensure minimum file size (which is important), is to use a neat little Windows add-in called Image Resizer, which is found HERE (under PowerToys).
Once it's installed, you can right-click on your image and resize, choose custom, and enter the numbers 150 and 100 for the width and height.
This will make a new image. If you want to over-write the existing image, there are check boxes that allow that, such as here -
resizer.jpg


The file cropped to the aspect 150 x 100 looks like this -
BerriesCrop2.jpg

But I think a tighter crop at the sides looks better with this image, like this -
BerriesCrop3.jpg


Making the file size small -
Images usually have EXIF information embedded in them.
My favourite way of viewing EXIF information is by using Opanda, found HERE.
To remove the EXIF information from a file, I use a program called Jstrip. It's found HERE.
You right-click on a folder and Start Jstrip on that folder, and it will remove all EXIF information from all files in that folder.
So I normally just make a folder called anything, copy my file into that folder, then right click on the folder and run jstrip, like this -
jstrip.jpg

For a file of 150 x 100 pixels, it was 15Kb in file size.
By removing EXIF data from that file, it reduced it to 6Kb, as seen here -
jstrip-results.jpg

So removing EXIF information and making the file as small as possible is really important for an avatar, as it gets downloaded each time a person opens up a page if it's not in the cache.
Makes pages quicker to load for everyone.

Uploading the avatar to your profile -
Couldn't be easier - click HERE.
At the time of writing this post, the maximum file size is 50Kb, however this is being reviewed and may be reduced, as there is no need to have the limit above 10 or 15Kb.

An online method of resizing and removing EXIF info -
Now that you have read all of that, here's something that will make it all too easy and make all but the upload step obsolete.
Click here - http://www.picresize.com/
Choose your photo from this screen -
pic-resize-upload.jpg

Crop your image using the button then drag over the image as it explains with a help popup.
Resize your picture using custom size, change the dropdown from percent to pixels, and make it 150 pixels wide, and optionally 100 pixels high. Experiment if you like.
(A note - I had a bit of trouble getting it to aspect square simply by specifying 150 pixel width, so I used the advanced editor button, it works well!)
Save as JPG and change the JPG quality to GOOD, it's the lowest setting and needs to be no better than that for an avatar sized image.
It should look something like this -
Crop2.jpg


Note that this online utility maintains the EXIF information - you will still need to manually remove that.
OR...
Here is a cool online exif remover I found, it works for files under 500Kb. Simple as...
http://onlineexifremover.com/
online-exif.jpg


That completes this exercise. Obviously written around a PC / Windows. People using a Mac or other may wish to contribute their own way of doing it, but the online utilities work well regardless.
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tasadam
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Re: How to make an avatar and add it to your profile.

Postby Liamy77 » Tue 06 Dec, 2011 10:21 am

Please note that in line with forum rules, only static (that is not animated) images may be used as an avatar. Cheers and have fun with them!
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knowledge's lighter than gadgets..but gadgets can be fun!
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