Computer Vs Man
When it comes to creating a Cartoon Avatar, you really have only 3 options available.
- You can hire a professional illustrator.
- You can go online and either use or download a free profile maker.
- You can use a design suite, like Adobe’s Photoshop, and do it yourself.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to leave it as a give-in that you’re not a graphic designer and that Photoshop looks as alien as the surface of Mars. If, you are a graphic designer, then, by all means, turn this blog post off and get cracking.
The Difference between hand-drawn avatar and an App
The main difference can be summed up in a couple of buzzwords, dingy, tacky, gaudy, kitschy, crude. Apps are designed to get the task done and offer a fast-food franchise experience. Your “unique” cartoon avatar will look like a carbon copy of everyone else that used that service. This is how apps manage to keep their cost down and make a profit.
Hand-drawn avatars not only tell you about a person, their physical attributes but about their narrative. An artist can project characteristics onto a cartoon avatar. They can highly extrovert qualities, single out key features, really dig deep into that person’s quirks and assets.
Remember when you were little at the country fair? You’d go up next to the cartoonist and with some luck, if the artist was worth their salt, they could capture something about you in that painting. Something that even you had been unaware of. That’s the main difference between a machine and an actual artist, one just analyses bits, shadows, gradients, the data from an impersonal POV, the other actually takes their time and tries to connect with the subject.
Differences Between Hand-Drawn and Free Profile Picture maker
The main goal of both processes is to create an avatar. To have a representation of you that allows you to connect, one way or another, with your digital ecosystem. It’s your calling card, be it as a representative of a company or simply as a digital-naut braving the social media highways.
Nonetheless, one differs from the other in the way it approaches those goals. A hand-drawn avatar is made to be distinguished and unique, to tell the person you are interacting with something besides what you look like, a fee-profile picture maker simply tells them about your physical attributes.
To keep the cost down most free-profile picture makers offer limited functionality. They have one or two big selling points and then the editorial capability of a 4 generation iPhone.
Meanwhile, hand-drawn illustrators take the bull by the horn and offer their clients key functions that their AI peers don’t. They don’t just analyze colors, and patterns and bits of information scooped from a photo, but what the person wants their avatar to say. This is a person, one who can interpret, bot just a couple of predetermined subtasks that allows you limited control over your avatar. Try telling an app, one download off the net, something like “I look grumpy on that photo. Can we tone it down? Less ‘Everybody Hurts’ more ‘Shiny Happy People’.”
Free profile picture makers offer standard nothing to mind-blowing avatars. To be honest, there’s a reason why it’s free. As they say, be wary of whatever is free. It’s not to say that a profile maker is bad, no, it’s just to say that they have limited capabilities and they can’t scale up the functions because they aren’t exactly Google, they have little to no investing power. Most are made from pre-fabricated programs or downloadable filters. They analyze patterns and color schemes in a picture and then adapt them to their parameters – the one their engineers programmed into their algorithm.
One pic’ to them is the same as any other, the only thing that changes is the grouping of pixels. A color, for example, can only have certain amounts of hue. A shadow can only be dimmed to a certain degree. This gives them zero originality and after a while, they start to suffer from “mirror syndrome”; your picture looks disturbingly familiar to that of your neighbor.
The final and most important factor is that an artist is just that. There are no two ways about it. This is an expert that studied the profession. Although machine learning and AI has increased in the last few years, and we are getting closer and closer to that point where we won’t be able to differentiate between a song composed by a musician and one by a machine, we are still years behind acquiring that level of quality in illustrations. We still need operators, and we still need the critical eye of a human being to ultimately lend any artistic expression something machines are immune to— humanity.