Wetten, dass..? vom 5. November

Many internet forums allow you to use an avatar, an image representing yourself. In my opinion, the best image for representing yourself... is an image of yourself. This tutorial shows you how to make a good one.

Start with a decent picture like the one below (click on it to get the original 1280x1024 version). I tend to get the best results at a distance of 1 to 1.5 meters from the camera, with the eyes appearing at about the same height as the top of the ears. Might differ for you, of course.

Find out the allowed size for avatars in the forum you want the avatar for. Should be something like 100x100 pixels. If it's not mentioned in the forum, look at the sizes of avatars of other people (right-click on the picture, then "Properties"). Or upload a large picture (200x200 or larger) yourself, then the forum should shrink it to its maximum allowed size. Note this is automatic and usually results in bad quality, which is why you should make and upload a small high-quality picture yourself which the forum can keep without further processing.

Get IrfanView. It's a free (though you can donate a bit if you want to) lightweight image viewer and editor perfect for our task. If you don't use Windows but Mac or Linux, sorry I don't know a program for that, but you're smart so you'll find something equivalent. You might still benefit from this tutorial, though, so keep reading.

Open the original image in IrfanView. Most likely it's larger than your display, so press "-" a few times to zoom out enough. Then mark a rectangle roughly around your head by clicking with your mouse at the estimated top left corner and dragging the rectangle to the bottom right. Then move the cursor over a border to adjust it. I put the top and bottom borders fairly tight above/below my head and then adjust the left and right borders so I appear centered and get the correct height/width ratio (I assume we want 100x100 pixels so I go for a 1.000 ratio, displayed in IrfanView's title bar).

Press CTRL-Y, this cuts out the marked part and throws everything outside away. Then press CTRL-R and the resize dialog pops up. Enter the new size you want (e.g. 100x100), then click "OK" and the picture will be resized. Then click SHIFT-S to sharpen the image. Now you should have something like this:

Now press SHIFT-G and the "enhance colors" dialog pops up. In my example, I made it a lot brighter, increased the contrast accordingly, reduced blue quite a bit to make me look less pale, and reduced the saturation to make me look less red.

Quite a difference, huh? Alright, click "OK" to apply the changes, then press S and the "save as" dialog pops up. Enter a name, choose JPG as "type", set the quality to 80% (if you don't see the "options dialog", enable it with the checkbox at the bottom), then click "Save" to save. That's it, you can now upload your new avatar to the forum!

Stefan Pochmann
Last modified: May 05 2007, 23:13:33