What the heck is an avatar, and how do you make one in Photoshop? If you're asking these questions, then you're in the right place! An avatar is a small graphic that's used to represent you online, most often on a blog or forum, within user comments, or on various social media sites. In fact, if you're a Facebook or WordPress user, then you probably already know what an avatar is -- it's that tiny graphic that's set as your profile image. In this tutorial, we'll learn how to create 'em.
Avatars are usually 40x40 or 50x50 pixel images. You can even create them a little bigger too if you like. Often, they'll be a photograph of your mug, a cartoon, or an image of something that represents your interests or your personality traits. Really though, you can use whatever image you'd like.
Go ahead and launch Photoshop, then choose File > New. In the New Document dialog box, set your document's dimensions to 50 pixels wide by 50 pixels in height. Set the Resolution to 72 and the Color Space to RGB. When you're done, click OK.
Choose File > Open; then go and find the image that you'd like to use within your avatar. Again, this can be a photo, a piece of clip art, a cartoon...whatever you'd like. We're going to drag this image into the avatar file, and then scale it down.
Select the Move tool from the Toolbox and click and drag your image into the avatar file. Obviously, the image is going to be much bigger than our avatar, so we'll need to scale it. Choose Edit > Free Transform to scale the size of your image down to fit within the avatar. In my example, I didn't want to use the whole cartoon, just the face. So, I scaled down the cartoon quite a bit, but then also positioned the face within the boundaries of the avatar file.
Get deeper into Photoshop with the Photoshop CS5 105 tutorial.