Friday, May 23, 2008

Having Fun with Skype Avatars

Why limit yourself to a static picture if you don’t have to? Skype allows you to create many ways to represent yourself visually. Among these are images called avatars.
The Hindu God Vishnu loved to change shape and appear in the form of a human or an animal. These forms are also called avatars. Because the personality is the same but the form is different, avatar became a handy word to describe images representing (and being controlled by) real people in a virtual environment.
However, computer avatars are not limited to human or animal forms. Some avatars are cartoon characters, robots, talking trees, teapots, smiley emoticons, and whatever your imagination can invent.
Skypers have taken avatar creation to a new level by making use of various avatar software tools. Your new Skype contact may come to you in the form of an image that moves, talks, expresses emotion, and generally reflects, in real time, what the “hidden” personality is saying and doing. You may find yourself talking to a little character that has been custom built to have green hair, violet eyes, a ten-gallon hat, and a golf club. (Sometimes our avatars say more about us than our real looks!) You may even see a dog talking while hearing your friend’s voice in a Skype conversation. Oddly, the avatar concept has come full circle. You not only can appear in the form of dog, cat, or coffee cup but also can take your own photograph —your real image — and turn that into a talking avatar. So, the real you takes on your own avatar form!

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