Photoshop-ing avatars

Via Raph Koster, I saw this interesting tutorial on how to use Photoshop to glamourize your avatar. I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it except for a random comment that criticized the desire to touch up even virtual appearances. Can we not even be satisfied with our natural-virtual human selves? Perhaps it’s just for those people who are ugly IRL and need to pretend they’re pretty elsewhere. Maybe, but that’s rather cliché and I think there’s more to it.

Creativity, certainly. Exhibiting one’s artistic abilities – yes. But also, touching up one’s avatar is a way to further identify our virtual selves. Rather than just being a Night Elf with green hair in braids like 30% of the rest of the Night Elf population (stats from my ass), I could instead edit the avatar for a signature, for example, that detailed her markings, changed her eye color, shortened her ears, etc. Instead of being generic, she is now me. She is now the identity I see in my mind.

Although this wouldn’t appeal to everyone as not all players connect themselves with their avatars, for many it would. Character customization is always a selling point in MMOs. Players continually ask how unique they will look – will there be different gear sets, will there be different hairstyles, body shapes, etc. Humans like to be individual even in a virtual world at the same time that they want to participate in a community and be a member of a recognizable social unit, such as a guild.

How would you change your avatar or would you even at all? Why?


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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. D
    Aug 08, 2009 @ 00:54:07

    As boring as it sounds, I would make my Avatar more like my non-virtual self. The build would be closer to the RL one and the face altered to how I see myself. Of course I would probably make my avatar a tad more buff and tiny bit taller, but the average person would be able to look at RL me and the avatar and draw the connection without any hints (maybe I am giving my artistic ability too much credit!).

    I want “me” in that virtual world doing all the fun stuff, not someone/something else.

    Reply

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