How do we make our mark in this vast network? How do we represent ourselves when we communicate from a distance?
We need an online presenceto be able to personalize our online space. We want to be instantly recognized by our posts and responses in wikis, blogs, Nings, Twitter, and other digital spaces.
Slideshare. . . .Blackboard. . .
Twitter. . . .SlideBoom. . . .
An avatar is an online character that you can personalize and use when interacting online. These avatars may be an image or an animated character that actually speaks. By using avatars we can personalize our online presence and be instantly recognized by our posts and responses in wikis, blogs, Nings, Twitter, and other digital spaces. It is how others visualize who you are. Your avatar is your digital presence!
The avatar sites I’m going to share with you are for creating our professional presence. However, many of these sites are also great to use with students. As we go along, I will point out the positives and negatives associated with these sites. Please keep in mind these avatars are created for web use, so there will be blurring if you are trying to use one in PPT, Publisher, or other documents.
The first site we’re going to look at is Bless This Chick. I learned about it from Kevin Honeycutt, the keynote speaker at the Northeast Louisiana Technology Fair last week.
Use this site to create really cute female only avatars. There are plenty of choices for clothing and accessories.
Build Yourself Wild was created by the Conservation Society of New York Zoos and Aquariums. Great for elementary or middle school students. The site does not require registration. You or your students can build your “human” avatar, then add animal features. There are also links to the New York Zoos and Aquarium, the Conservation Society, and similar links for children. I especially like the scroll bar on the right that briefly discusses the characteristics of each animal part you have chosen. Imagine using this site with Immogene’s Antlers, by David Small as an extended activity.
This site allows you to email your avatar to a friend, use it as a desktop wallpaper, or print. I right-click to “Save as.”
DoppleMe, is a very uncomplicated easy to use site. The Avatar default character wears a fig leaf in front with arms crossed over the top whether character is male or female. Select clothing, hair, accessories, and props to create and personalize your avatar.
DoppleMe may be used with or without an email account, which is good for students. Copy your avatar by doing a right-click and “Save As.” This site also creates embedding code if you wish to embed this on a website or wiki. There is also a good Q & A area.
The Dream Avatarsite creates a much more sophisticated site with lots of choices. There are almost too many choices in faces, clothing, wings, costumes and accessories. Backgrounds are also available. This site has a lot of appeal for Sci-Fi, Manga, or gaming fans because of the many options for creating characters.
Begin with a basic female or male body outline. There are some who may have a problem with the body outlines if using it with children. At times, I found it difficult to remove or change items (pants, clothing) once they were selected. There is some advertising on the site, including a body fat advertisement. This would be a wonderful site for a teacher or librarian to create a personal avatar. I don’t know that I would recommend this site to use with students.
Face Your Manga is another site that creates a nice, clear, easy to see avatar. It also offers a small but useful variety of backgrounds to go with your avatar.
As much as I liked the site, I don’t recommend this site for students. There are some examples of other mangas (created by others) of characters smoking, extending a middle finger.
Hero Factory: Create a hero avatar using Hero Factory.
Choose male or female hero with costumes, hair, belts, gloves, boots, weapons or props, and superpowers.
“Mr. Picasso” is an unusual site that allows you to build an avatar “Picasso-style.”
All features, which are styled after Picasso, may be added to the drawing canvas and adjusted by size and placement. And added touch adds your name or signature “Picasso” style. Good for students & will introduce them to Picasso.
To use mywebface it does require a small download which includes a toolbar. As you install, you also need to uncheck two checkboxes that will make mywebface your default screen. Creates realistic avatars, many choices for features, etc. Although it is supposed to allow you to create an avatar from an uploaded a photograph. I did not find that feature. There is an option to download the final product to your computer. The program does not create html code to load to a website. You would have to insert the avatar as an image. Site does contain some advertising. There is also an area on this site to upload images to create special effects.
Small sample of special effects for images.
The Simpson avatar is a part of The Simpson Movie website. Choose “Create Your Simpsons Avatar” to get started. This is a very easy-to-use site. There are not a lot of options, which can be a good thing.
You may choose which Simpson character you want to use, then choose skin coloring, features, hair styles and colors, clothing. Voila!
This site does require sign up for a free account. Creates a very nice-looking realistic more grown-up avatar.
Positives:Character wears bikini before selections are made. Avatar may be used as a cell phone background or used with Skype, Yahoo, or AIM. Allows three views: full body, mid-body & close-up. Site produces embedding code, Negatives: many of the clothing choices are low-cut—showing cleavage, most pant styles are low cut, also. Optional accessories for avatar include a cigarette and alcoholic beverage glass, bottle and wine glasses.
This is a very easy to use site. Good for teachers and students.
It is easy to use and requires no email registration. It is supposed to save the image to your computer. I tried many times, but continued to get an error message. I saved my image using a screen shot, then cropped it. There are now “work-around” directions for saving your image, available on the site until the site has been “repaired.” On WindowsOnce you've set up your avatar, click the 'prntscrn' button. Open an image editor (ie MS Paint, or Photoshop.) Press (ctr+v) to paste the image into your editor. Crop the image to your liking and save! On MacOnce you've set up your avatar, press (command+shift+4). Your cursor will change to crosshairs - you can click drag to crop to the size you want. You should have a new file on your desktop called (Picture 1) which has your avatar.
The Mini-Mizer site creates cute, lego-like avatars. The site is easy to use and requires no registration. There is a “Regular” version and a “kid-safe” version. The only difficulty I had was actually getting to the site. It is important to use the entire URL listed on this slide to go directly to the Mini-Mizer avatar site.
Minimise-Me.com was created by Microsoft to use with Windows Live Messenger or the image may be downloaded as a JPEG. As you can see, the JPEG quality is not great for a PPT, because it was created for web use.
Must have a Yahoo account. Really nice selection of clothing, including plus sizes if you want them, casual clothing, super hero costumes, foreign country costumes, etc. Also, avatars have many, many accessories, including choice of crutches, wheelchairs, etc. Unbelievable number of accessories, backgrounds, etc. There isn’t an option to download the avatar or create html code. It is basically to be used with Yahoo applications. It can be copied by using a screen shot and cropping.
Zwinky is another easy to use site.
Choose from two different styles of characters—”hottie female & male” or “cute female & male. There were plenty of accessories, clothes, etc. You may create your Zwinky without an account if you take a screen shot of your image. Or, you may create an account and save your Zwinky as a wallpaper, or to Facebook, twitter, and many other applications.
Voki is my favorite free avatar site. You must create an account which requires an email confirmation to use voki. The only additional item that you need to create a voki is a microphone, although you may use a telephone or use text-to-speech. (Voki is a combination of "vox", which is Latin for voice, and "Loki", which, is a prankster character in Norse Mythology.)
Register for an account, check “I agree” and click “Finish.”
Activate your account by clicking the link in your email verification. Login to Voki. Click “Create a New Voki.”
Select “Head” to choose a basic head shape. Click the arrows to view the styles and scroll through the head shots to choose a face. There are many styles, such as anime, cartoon, political, animals, holiday, etc.
Select the (head) icon to customize hair shape. Use the color chart to adjust the colors of mouth, makeup, eyes, skin, and hair.The Lip icon will allow you change the shape or style of your avatar’s mouth. There are also mustache and beard options for male avatars. This option is grayed out if you are using female avatars. There is also small selection of hair styles.
The “Clothing” tab will allow you to select clothes for your avatar as well. You may choose from sports, casual, dressy, and other styles. The “Bling” tab has a selection of sunshades, jewelry, etc. Click “Done” when finished.
Select the “Tree” icon to view the background menu.
Scroll through the images to make a selection or click the folder to the right of the “Tree” icon to browse to an image on your computer. Click “Done” when you have selected a background.You may select a ready-made background or browse to an image on your computer such as a photo of your school, a photo of the White House, etc. Click “Done” when complete.
Click the magnifying glass icon at the right bottom corner of the avatar box to open a small box with icons to change the size and/or position of your avatar in regard to your background. Avoid clicking the “die” on the left-hand side. It is a roll the dice icon that will randomly choose everything for you.
Give your avatar a voice by using a telephone, text to speech, or a microphone. You may also upload a previously recorded sound file on your computer.
Plug the microphone into your computer and select the “Microphone” option. A small window will open asking you for permission to allow the program to access your camera and microphone. Click “Allow” and “Remember” and “Close.”
Prepare a short message, no longer than 60 seconds to record. Click “Record” and begin speaking. Click “Stop” to end the recording. Test your recording. You may record it again if you do not like it. Click “Save.”
Click “Publish” to email or create the html code to embed on your wiki or website. The publishing window will open. Use the drop-down menu by “Embed” to choose “Other.” Next, choose large or small.Click “Get Code” at the bottom of the window.
A window will open that reads “Embed this Voki on your webpage.” Click once inside the box. Then right-click to copy the code. Click “Close.” Paste the html code into the appropriate location on your wiki or website to embed.
Use voki to:Welcome students and other library users,talk about new books,broadcast news about upcoming events,invite faculty members to inservices and trainings, update parents. It will not download to your computer, so it cannot be inserted “live” in a PPT. However, you can using a screenshot to hyperlink to the voki on your website.
A webcam is a digital camera designed to take digital photographs and transmit them over the internet. The easiest webcam I have used is a logitech webcam. Webcams come in several price ranges. If you goal is to create avatars, you are looking at an upper end webcam. Be sure to buy one that specifically says “Avatars,” not just “Special Effects.” In local stores, they run about $90.00. Amazon has them for around $75.00. It comes with installation software. Again, due to lack of time, I’ve included some instructions on how to create your webcam avatar.
Open the webcam software to pull up the menu Activate the QuickCam to the Quick Capture screenCenter the subject on the screenChoose “Avatars” or “Face Accessories” from drop down box
I have a detailed handout on setting up and using a Logitech QuickCam available on Slideboom, along with this PPT.
1. Click “Record Video” to begin recording2. Click “Stop Recording” to end the recordingTIPSLook directly at the cameraEnunciate clearly & distinctly with lots of facial motionHave really good lighting
Your video will appear in “Gallery.” Double-click to view video.Your Avatar video is saved in My Documents > My Videos >QuickCam Folder
Insert avatar into PPT using same procedure as inserting video into PPT Go to > Insert > MovieNavigate to your QuickCam folder and select video.A screen will pop up asking if you want the movie to play automatically or when clicked (I choose “When Clicked”)
Embed avatar video into glogs, wikis, or other web applicationsUse avatars to record oral reports, editorials, make announcements, give instructions for assignments, create messages, etc.
Hi, this is Morris the CAT. I just want to thank you for coming today.
Mini-Me: Creating A Digital Presence Online
“Mini-Me”<br />Creating a <br />Digital Presence Online <br />Jan McGee, LMS, Technology Coordinator, WMHS<br />Coordinator of Library Programs<br /> Ouachita Parish School System<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />
With the click of a mouse<br />Information is available at our fingertips<br />
With the click of a mouse<br />Connectivity: Anytime, Anywhere<br />
Making our Mark<br />SlideShare<br />LA DOE: <br />BLACKBOARD<br />
Making Our mark. . . .<br />Twitter<br />SlideBoom<br />
Avatars as a digital presence<br /> AnAvataris an online representation of yourself that you can use when interacting online. <br /> It is part of how others visualize who you are.<br />Your Avatar is YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE!<br />
Mini-Mizer Lego Avatar<br />Has a “Regular” version & a “Kid—Safe” version<br />Which eliminates guns, cigarettes and other potentially nasty stuff<br />http://www.reasonablyclever.com/mini/flash/minifig.swf<br />
Minimise-me.com<br />Microsoft Product<br />Created to use with Windows Live Messenger or image may be downloaded <br />as JPEG<br />http://www.minimise-me.com<br />
Register for account<br /> Fill in the account information, check “I agree” and click “Finish.”<br />
Create a Voki<br />Activate your account by clicking the link in your email verification. <br />Login to Voki. Click “Create a New Voki.”<br />
Head shape & Face<br />Select “Head” to choose a basic head shape. <br />Click the arrows to view the styles and scroll through the head shots to choose a face. <br />
Hair styles & Color<br />Select the icon to customize hair shape.<br />Use the color chart to adjust the colors of mouth, makeup, eyes, skin, and hair.<br />
Clothing & Bling<br />The “Clothing” tab will allow you to select clothes for your avatar.<br />The “Bling” tab has a selection of sunshades, jewelry, etc.<br />Clothes<br />Bling<br />Click “Done” when finished. <br />
Set Background<br />Scroll through the images to make a selection or click the folder to the right of the “Tree” icon to browse to an image on your computer. <br />Click “Done” when you have selected a background.<br />Browse to an image on computer<br />Click “Done”<br />
Change size and position<br /> Click the magnifying glass icon at the right bottom corner of the avatar box to open a small box with icons to change the size and/or position of your avatar in regard to your background. <br />
Give your avatar a Voice<br /> You may do this by using a telephone, text to speech, or a microphone. <br />
Using the Microphone<br />Plug the microphone into your computer. <br />Select the “Microphone” option. <br />A small window will open asking you for permission to allow the program to access your camera and microphone. Click “Allow” and “Remember” and “Close.”<br />
Recording a message<br />Prepare a short message, no longer than 60 seconds to record. <br />Click “Record” and begin speaking. Click “Stop” to end the recording. Test your recording. You may record it again if you do not like it. Click “Save.”<br />Press button to play<br />
Publish - Email - Embed<br />Click “Publish” to email or create the html code to embed on your wiki or website. <br />The publishing window will open. Use the drop-down menu by “Embed” to choose “Other.”<br />Choose large or small.<br />Click “Get Code” at the bottom of the window.<br />
Get Embedding Code<br />A window will open that reads “Embed this Voki on your webpage.”<br />Click once inside the box. Then right-click to copy the code. <br />Click “Close.”<br />Paste the html code into the appropriate location to embed.<br />
Enjoy your Voki<br />Use voki to:<br />Welcome<br />Talk about new books<br />Broadcast about upcoming events<br />Invite faculty members to inservices and training<br />Update parents<br />
Logitech Avatars with Webcam<br />A webcam is a digital camera designed to take digital photographs and transmit them over the internet<br />
Creating Avatars with a Webcam<br />Open the webcam software to pull up the menu <br />Activate the QuickCam to the Quick Capture screen<br />Center the subject on the screen<br />Choose “Avatars” or “Face Accessories” from drop down box<br />
Applying Video effects<br />Click green button to turn on video effects<br />Button will allow you to calibrate your face <br />Press Control-C to calibrate<br />Position your face within the red box<br />Look straight into the camera. Do not smile<br />Make sure the red dots line up on your eyes and mouth<br />Press Calibrate <br />Accept or Retry<br /> <br /> <br />Select avatar or choose Get more Video Effects<br />Get More will take you to the Logitech website for more choices<br />Choose avatar<br />Select “open” to install avatar to your program menu<br />
Making a recording<br />1. Click “Record Video” to begin recording<br />2. Click “Stop Recording” to end the recording<br />TIPS:<br />Look directly at the camera<br />Enunciate clearly & distinctly with lots of facial motion<br />Have really good lighting<br />
Viewing your Video Avatar<br />Your video will appear in “Gallery.” Double-click to view video.<br />Your Avatar video is saved in: <br />My Documents > My Videos > QuickCam Folder<br />
Avatars in PowerPoint<br />Insert avatar into PPT using same procedure as inserting video into PPT<br />Go to > Insert > Movie<br />Navigate to your QuickCam folder and select video.<br />A screen will pop up asking if you want the movie to play automatically or when clicked (I choose “When Clicked”)<br />
Web applications<br /> Embed avatar video into glogs, wikis, or other web applications<br /><ul><li>Use avatars to record oral reports, editorials, make announcements, give instructions for assignments, create messages, etc. </li></li></ul><li>Create your own Mini-Me!<br />
Works Cited<br />“Mouse.jpeg” Image. Kingston University 2009. Kingston University, 2009. 29 August 2009. http://www.getfurther.co.uk/includes/img/10-11/benefits/mouse.jpg<br />“Information Super Highway.” Image. Piedmont Photo’s photostream18 May 2008. 28 August 2009. http://static.flickr.com/2209/2504627486_d2e46c06c6.jpg<br />“Picture-2.png Makeourmark.pn.g” Image. The Vent Space 23 July 2009. 5 September 2009. http://www.theventspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Picture-2.png<br />“Web2.0 591163479_d35f7b50d7.jpg.” Image. Flat Classroom Project 2008. 30 August 2009. http://flatclassroomproject2008.wikispaces.com/file/view/591163479_d35f7b50d7.jpg<br />“143x141_woman_daydreaming.jpg.” Image. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. 30 August 2009. http://www.wyndham.com/cms_content/specialoffers/images/143x141_woman_daydreaming.jpg<br />“superlibrarian-799090.jpg .” Image. Tompkins County Public Library News Superhero Saturday 30October 2009. 30 August 2009. http://www.tcpl.org/news/uploaded_images/superlibrarian-799090.jpg<br />Kelly, Kevin. “question-mark.jpg.” Image. The Technium11 November 2007. 30 August 2009. <br />http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/question-mark.jpg <br />Arndt, Chris. “bullet-apple-s.jpg.” Image. Apologies Demanded Blog 13 May 2004. 4 September 2009. <br />http://graphics.stanford.edu/~levoy/images/bullet-apple-s.jpg<br />