I'm thinking it's time to have me an avatar . .

. . . but I don’t know where to begin with creating one.

  • Do I need to have my image on-line somewhere where I can point Discourse at a URL to get it? Or can I upload it directly from my own computer?
  • What format does the image need to be? JPG? GIF? ICO? any?
  • What size/resolution does it need to be? Can it be any size and Discourse will scale it for me? (I did see some mention on a blog somewhere that it must be square.)
  • Can I download any picture I might find on-line and turn it into an avatar? Or use it as-is?

Some advice on the level of “Discourse Avatars for Dummies” would be helpful to get me started.

ALSO: There was a Doper offering to do avatars for people a few months ago, and I believe many Dopers here were pleased to accept his help. The one I specifically remember was @BigT who thus acquired his T-Palm-Tree picture. Can someone point me to the thread where that was happening?

(No, Discobot, my topic is not similar to “I think I might actually manage to finish my X-mas shopping a month early…” nor is it like “I’m in an area where mask usage has been minimal. State has decreed mandatory mask usage next Monday”.)

Count me as a happy customer.

Briefly, the avatar can be any standard image format (most commonly JPEG). Discourse will scale it but the proportions should preferably be square (same width and height). In fact it’s better to upload a larger image because in some contexts (like when you click on a user’s avatar to display user info) a larger version is displayed. If you only upload a 50x50 pixel image, the larger version will just be a blurry mess. If you click on my dog avatar, for instance, an actual larger image is displayed, not just a magnified thumbnail.

My personal advice is to keep the image really simple and avoid complex details, because they won’t be seen in the tiny thumbnail that is usually displayed. Think of it more as a trademark than a photo.

@penultima_thule : Thank you for the link. Perhaps I can re-animate that thread and get his attention.

@wolfpup : What size is good then? What size is your doggie image?

I’ve found a few pictures with a google search that more-or-less fit the idea I have in mind. They are fairly simple pictures. What do I do with them first?

A rule of thumb I use is to go about twice as big as the largest displayed version. This is mostly so that any resizing will stay high quality.

Also, if you don’t want your avatar to be a square, you’ll need to use a PNG with transparency. I note that this what both I and @wolfpup have done.

If you want, just post your pic ideas here, and we’ll look at them, and possibly make some adjustments. I may have let someone else pick this avatar (as I had conceptual difficulties in portraying a T as big on a tiny thumbnail), but I do know how to make avatars, too. Heck, one thing I like to do for fun is make favicons, those tiny images you see beside the title of a webpage (e.g. in the tab).

Hang tight a bit . . . I google them up again and post a couple.

Just link to any image you like, or tell us what kind of image you are thinking of.

There are several people here who would be happy to crop, resize, or otherwise manipulate the image for you.

Size doesn’t matter much as long as it’s big enough to show up well in the largest display format in Discourse, which is the one you see when you click on someone’s avatar. From the files I have lying around, I think the dog avatar is 228x210 and, as @BigT notes, it is a PNG with a transparent background. But it’s not necessary to do that, it just makes it look cooler.

Here are two images that I am considering for my avatar:

I think the first one would be hard to discern when reduced to 50x50 px. Even the second is barely legible in that size because the lines are relatively fine. I would suggest something bolder, and where the main object takes up most of the space.

Like this maybe?

If you have some simple method (like MS Paint) of scaling the image down to 50x50 pixels yourself, you can see what it will look like. That one I think is better than either of the first two, but it may be surprising how much detail you lose. The mistake that so many people make, I think, is just picking a picture that they like without considering all the loss of detail that will occur when it’s scaled down to 50x50, where the effect is often to create something that you look at and go, WTF is that??

Can you, or someone, do that for me? I am using a hand-me-down computer, and it’s not at all obvious if there is any kind of image-processing program here.

(You’d be amazed at how much software-savvy I’ve lost in the last 15 years, primarily because the world has changed so much and I haven’t kept up. Would you believe that I once wrote my own C program to read a (already right-sized) black-and-white BMP file and convert it to the proper codes to print on a supermarket receipt printer? I was doing this for a cash register dealer who sold the machines to lots of supermarkets.)

The size you need to upload here is 120x120, and then Discourse will scale it down to 45x45 for normal use.

The last image you posted is better, but still not entirely clear at 45x45.

Are you set on black and white? Something more colourful might be more immediately identifiable.

Ooops. Seems you’re right, I guess 50x50 was the old vBulletin standard.

Well, I don’t absolutely have my heart set on B&W. I do want something very simple. Could the reduced image then be bit-edited to sharpen it up? (Is that the kind of clean-up that Dr.Crap did?)

Note my above remark that I was converting B&W BMP images to be printed on receipt printers. That process typically entailed manually right-sizing the images with GIMP, then manually bit-editing them to clean up a little.

ETA: @GreenWyvern, your avatar is exquisitely detailed yet it’s perfectly clear.

@GreenWyvern – Could you post a 120x120 version that I could take right now, provisionally at least? I’m about to shut down for the night, but maybe it can be improved on, or another image chosen, another day soon?

Here are three, very quick and dirty. They could be improved on.

Okay, how does this look?

ETA: I’ll play with the others later. For now, I’m shutting down for night.


That looks fine.

Another possibility: