Saturday, August 23, 2008

On the new 'manga' avatars. Sweeping blogs and social networks, they are! You can do yourself up as a cartoon character on this website, although the result doesn't look especially 'manga' to me. Virginia has been the early adopter here - it's been fascinating to see how the manga avatars spread through her networks to her Twitter friends, then through Sophie to the Oz Lit blogosphere. Now Laura has done one and challenged others to do themselves too!

I first did one on my birthday but never received it because I had it sent to my 'social networking' email address that I never check, and when I just checked now, it hadn't arrived. So I just did one up now.

There is a real art to making it look like the person. It's superficially easy to pick the right colour scheme, hairstyle, clothes and accessories, etc, but the challenge is picking the right interplay of features: are the eyes the right shape, the right size compared to the nose, and sitting in the right proportions? These manga avatars remind me of the Wii avatar, the Mii - when Jeremy got his Wii, his housemate John did up many Miis for all their friends. Some of them had uncanny resemblances (especially Helen), but then John is an animator by profession so this was his visual language.

I'm not sure I will use this avatar as an actual avatar, although its innocuousness makes it more attractive for that purpose. Yesterday I was going back through my MySpazz profile pics and was kind of uncomfortable with how many of them were faceless shots of various parts of my body. Back then I liked that because it was more anonymous, but given that Facebook is much more public (and the blurring of the personal and professional is more complete), I wouldn't want some of those pics to be the online representation of me.

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