a lot of people don't understand the importance of a good and unique avatar. an avatar is your face on a forum, a chat room, or even on your own page. people in general look at your avatar before they check your name, i'm sure a lot of you know that because you've done it, just as i do. i want to talk about the importance of a unique avatar image and how to make or get a good one that you can use.
the most important part of having a unique avi is to tell you apart from others quickly. if a ton of people have the same avi then there's confusion at times to who's talking.
also i'd like to address a question i hear from time to time. "why do some people have those 'teeth' avatars?" if you see someone with an avi that has "those teeth", which is the lost zombies logo, it means they are a Moderator to the site. i'm also pretty sure that logo is reserved for the Mods only to prevent confusion.
how to make a good avatar
there are alot of ways to make a good avi, some are simple and some are complex. personally in a professional flash animator and i drew my avi on my computer, but for those who are a little less artistically skilled there's a much easier and simpler solution. for those of you on myspace and face book, you probably guessed it. take a picture of yourself and use that. if you browse the members section you can find tons for avi's that are just peoples photos, this works pretty well. if you want to be a little more creative with your photo you can do something like Nick here has done http://www.lostzombies.com/profile/nickthompson
he took a picture of himself in his mask (a great idea alone) and inverted the color. to make it even more unique he turned himself sideways. a lot of people recognize his avi from a mile away. oviously this would be a bad idea for you, because he already did each of those things, but doig one of them alone to you picture could help you stand out a little more.
finding an avatar
all i can say on this subject is try to be unique. there are a lot of avi's for free online but chances are in this rapidly growing website you'll find someone who has the same avi as you if you go with a cookie cutter avi. an easy solution can be finding a picture you like (from a shirt or a CD cover or something) and cropping out a section of it.
customising an avatar is another great way to be different. use text, change color, whatever! just make it say who you are.
buying an avatar
alot of artist out there can be commissioned to make you a custom avi for a fairly cheap amount of money (inclouding myself :D .... i take paypal... god i feel desperate... :| ). its always a good idea to shop around though, some artist can charge as much as $20 for a single picture for an avi! but some can be as low as $5 or less for a simple avi.
if your your going to buy one be sure to pick your artist carefully. make sure you like their style and make sure their for hire if/when you ask them! its kinda embarassing to ask someone for something they dont sell ^^; so make sure you know what your doing.
another important thing when buying an avi is to have some reference pictures and a description ready.
when you tell the artist what you want, say something like "i was thinking something like this (describe what you want), here's a few links to pictures i likes. something like in this picture would be great :D "
there's a lot of talented artist on this site believe it or not, also i can recommend going to deviantart.com to find some great artists.
so now that you understand the importance of a good and unique avatar and how to go about making or finding one go out and make yourself unique!... or you could just be one of those mindless "LZ" zombies...