You don’t go online to just be the ‘same old you’ – the virtual word gives you the chance to project yourself larger than life. So why not grab it? And a vital part of living a different digital character on the web – whether a ‘super-enhanced you’, or a complete fantasy – is the image you project. So out go the dodgy webcam screen grabs. In comes some fun-and-funky cartoon versions of yourself. Cartoonizing is what they call it, and there are a plethora of free sites which can rework – or create anew – an image to suit you and your online persona. Here are just to select a few:
Whether you want a cartoon avatar for MySpace, Google+ or Facebook, one of the quicket way to get that cartoon charater up-and-running is to use a site like BeFunky Self Cartooner . This website takes a photo or image you supply, and turns it into a digital painting with just a few clicks. From this, you can easily adjust your visage into a cartoon-like one. You can also transform a sequence of images into a comic strip. But what really puts BeFunky way out there is its ability to cartoonize a video clip. Anaminated avatars, using GIF files, really stand out on your blog or website.
If Japanese-stylings and ice-cool lines are your thing, you might want to try out FaceYourManga. Rather than trying to create a ‘digital painting’ from a photo, FaceYourManga puts you in charge of a drawing toolkit. This allows you to pick face shapes, eyes, nose, hair color and styles – the whole gamut of facial features – mixing and matching til you get the likeness you want. FaceYourManga may be a bit lacking when it comes to the variety of images and colors on offer. But it does make creating a fun Manga-style avatar a real breeze.
Zwinky was one of the first self-cartoon websites out there, and made big waves on the back of their cutesy and sassy looking character templates. Put yourself through Zwinky, and you’re bound to come out the other end with a cartoon that grabs attention. Like FaceYourManga, Zwinky makes use of libraries of facial features, so you can quickly paint out your face, makeup, hairstyle and clothes, until you’ve got that perfect little version of you. One thing to be aware of – Zwinky does require you to download and use its own search toolbar. So if that’s not your cup of tea, try another cartoonize website.
Another angle to take with getting yourself all 2D is to try a cartoonizer with a classic TV program in mind. And they don’t get much more classic (if bad-taste humor is your thing) than South Park. With SP Studio, you can morph yourself into a Kenny, Kyle, Cartman or Stan. The cartoon palette includes all of the usual features, styled, as you’d expect, to make you fit perfectly in an episode of South Park. The website is as easy to use as South Park is to draw, and involves none of the usual hassles of adware, registering or charges. A definite recommend for this one.
For those who’d like to tap into their creative-side when fashioning their avatar, Illustration Maker could be the just the tool for them. You’ll still be picking out from a range of pre-supplied facial features; but this website makes them look as if they have been drawn by hand. With Illustration Maker you can easily create something that is unique to you – there’s a pretty huge set to choose from for each feature. The main criticism is that the images are little on the bland side, without any of the twists seen on some of the more funky sites.
This free cartoonizer is another one focused on helping you create an avatar that’s more a lookalike than a radical transformation. The facial selection list is large, but subtly done – so you’re less likely to have to settle for something that isn’t really you. You can even move, shrink and swell the various bits of your avatar’s face, before emailing the design off. And the great thing with PickAFace is that you’ll get your image back pronto, without having to juggle with ‘optional extras’ like toolbars or in-your-face ads.
The name says it all. No, not ‘Meez’ , but ’3D Animated Avatar’. This website takes designing your own cartoonish avatar to the next level – casting it into three dimensions, and adding a little motion to the poetry. Meez has a pretty stylish approach to creating the new digital-you, with bucket loads of fashion accessories and clothing to choose from. There are literally hundreds of facial features and hairstyles too – some sensible, some pretty wacky – so no two meezes look the same. And if you’re having problems choosing from all that detail, you can make use of the meeze ‘themes’ to get you started. A fantastic cartoon-creator, which is totally free, and will get you ‘absolutely fabulous’ results.
Where Meeze lets you throw down a stylish and cool new look, WeeWorld aims more for the dweeb end of the market. The cartoonizer has plenty of options, for body, face, and look. And new personas can be whipped up in an instant, using the WeeWorld designer. But all the characters in WeeWorld have the same cutesy cross-eyed look that will either make you go ‘ahhh’ – or reach for the sick bag.
Finally, another cartoonizer that works with real pictures of you, so you don’t have to do the work of building one from scratch. Cartoon.pho.to is a website that offers up a whole range of online image editing, but it’s the ‘cartoon effect’ feature that grabbed our attention. You simply upload an image of yourself to the website, and Cartoon.pho.to sets to cartoonizing it. So the colors will be blocked out, facial features drawn over, with an end result that is recognizably ‘you’ – but ‘you’ gone all digital. You can download the new image, to further touch it up, or to use as your new avatar image. Cartoonizing doesn’t get much simpler.