What is an Avatar
What is an avatar? This is a question asked by many people upon hearing the term “avatar” used frequently on the internet. Chat rooms, online gaming venues, and social networking sites are just a few of the many web arenas where avatars may be found.
The term avatar is based on an ancient Sanskrit word. “Avatara” is the Sanskrit word for “incarnation” which accurately portrays what an online avatar represents. Your avatar is your incarnation, your identity, on the internet. You can personalize your avatar’s looks, actions, and personality on some web sites, especially sites that host virtual worlds. An avatar is used to make communication more interesting, more fun, and more personal in a largely impersonal environment – the internet.
What is an Avatar? It's The New You!
When answering this question, you must first determine what the avatar will be used for. Avatars for social networking are different than avatars for virtual worlds or online gaming. Once the purpose for the avatar has been discovered you can begin to create the “new you”.
The question, “What is an avatar,” is also answered depending on who is creating the avatar. Avatar users come in all shapes, sizes, and ages but the main age group using avatars to represent themselves on the internet is the 22-49 year old age group.
Younger avatar users, including elementary school and high school children, create avatars for entertainment and usually create fantasy characteristics for their avatars. Older users typically choose a more literal representation of themselves when building their alternate virtual image. Some users like to change their race, sex and appearance when choosing their human avatars while others prefer non human creatures to represent them in the virtual world.
Your New Dimension
Avatars are created in two different forms, 2D or 3D. 2D avatars are used on most social networking sites such as Yahoo Chat or AIM. A 2D avatar is a picture that you choose to represent you as you communicate with others. 2D avatars normally do not move and are flat representations, such as a photograph or image. Some 2D avatars are animated but they do not take on human qualities or movements.
3D avatars are used in virtual worlds such as the popular Second Life. A 3D avatar is a complete representation that you build to interact with others in a virtual world. For example, your avatar could be a literal representation of you–tall, dark, and handsome with blue eyes – or a fantasy character such as a half man, half horse mythological or strange creature. 3D avatars are capable of moving and interacting in a virtual world.
The majority of avatars created on the web today are for use in social situations. Social networking, online gaming, and virtual worlds all allow a person to recreate themselves, to create the life they wish they had or add excitement to their current existence.
What is an avatar? As seen above, an avatar is you. It is created by you, to represent you. Your avatar is a creative expression of who you are and who you would like to be as you communicate with others around the world.
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