Tony Kuyper Photography—Snowflake Avatars

T o n y   K u y p e r   P h o t o g r a p h y

snowflake avatars



Snowflake Avatars

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All snowflakes ©Tony Kuyper

Many web forums allow members to have an avatar—a picture that is associated with that member that makes their posts a bit easier to find. Generally, avatars are downsized jpeg images that that have been uploaded to the forum's server.

Avatars that move and change are also possible. Unlike static jpeg images, these "animated" avatars display a series of images that run in succession. If properly constructed with the difference from one similar image to the next being small enough and the "flicker" rate for the animation being fast enough, the avatar appears to move, like a short movie.

This tutorial is about using Photoshop to construct, save, and display animated avatars. Intricate designs are first built very easily with Photoshop and then these designs are subtly changed from one frame to the next to create the sense of moving shapes, colors, and patterns.  The animated avatars at the top and bottom of this page were produced using this technique.

No two are alike, so these are called snowflake avatars.  Each is individually crafted by a person using Photoshop.  There are infinite possibilities for unique snowflakes because even small movements of the computer mouse will produce new and sometimes unexpected patterns.  However, since slight nuances can create completely different designs, snowflake avatars, like their precipitation counterparts, are also somewhat ephemeral. A file containing the animation sequence needs to be saved in order for the design to be preserved. If not, it's unlikely that the same snowflake could ever be created again.  But that's OK.  Rather than attempting to remake a previous version that's melted away, it's usually more fun to just click a few times with the mouse and make something totally new and even more beautiful than the one before.

The download for the snowflake avatar technique is available for $5.00 USD using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below.  It contains a PDF tutorial that describes how the patterns and animation are created, saved, and displayed. There are also four Photoshop files (.psd format) in the download that have everything arranged in order to generate new snowflakes with a few mouse clicks.  Additional controls are discussed that add even more variety and complexity to snowflake avatars, and some advanced techniques are presented for users who want to take things to an even higher level. As an example, rollover the "Buy Now" button to see the snowflake effect applied in a slightly different manner.

Buy Now button

The Snowflake Avatars tutorial and the Photoshop files are also included in the complete catalog of tutorials and actions on the  Special Offers  page.

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All snowflakes ©Tony Kuyper