For those who want to make a custom Avatar for the Q Joint, but don’t know how, here are some basic instructions. I used free programs or website, so there’s nothing to buy. If you have access to Photoshop or other graphic editing programs, you can use those, too.

1. Decide on a picture or graphic for your Avatar. Remember, these are small pics, so you don’t really want to use anything too detailed. For this example, we’ll use this pic, just cause the glasses are a nice touch:

2. Go to and upload your pic there. This website is a free photo editing site.

3. Click the Browse button to locate your image. This opens up a window to open images.

4. Highlight your file, and then click open.

5. The window will close and go back to the browser window. The location of your file will be in the box. Just click Upload Image and wait. It’ll load the image from your computer and get it ready for editing. Depending on the size of your pic, this could take a while.

6. From here, you can just resize it, or crop it to only include what you want. In this case, I don’t want the TV pic in the background. Click the Crop Image option. It’ll put a selection box on the screen. Drag the borders of the box to select the part of the image you want, and then click Apply Changes. It’ll crop the image and show you the results.

7. Now play around a bit with the settings. You can sharpen the image with the Sharpen control or change the tint, contrast, brightness, or saturation using the various controls. Just remember the settings you had so you can go back to them if you don’t like the results. The back button on the web browser doesn’t necessarily work, so keep that in mind. Here, I just want to sharpen the image. My current setting is 40, so I’ll enter 250, and then click Apply Changes.

8. Remember, the size limit on Avatars for the Q Joint is 80x80 pixels or 19.5 KB. This pic is too big, so we need to resize it. Enter the new size (80) into the New Size area, and then click Apply Changes.

9. We’re in luck! The new size is under the 19.5 KB limit, so we’re in! If it weren’t, there’d be a couple more steps to do. For now, we’ve done here, so we’re going to save it to the computer. Click the “download this image” link, and then click Save. Select the folder you want to save it to, or save it to the desktop. For now, I’m going to put it on the desktop. I’m also going to rename it to “Joint Avatar a”. (The “a” just tells me it’s the first version of the Avatar.) Click Save, and you’re there.

10. I decided I don’t like that splotch of Red in the upper right of the Avatar, so I’m going to edit it in Paint. Open Paint, then go to the File menu and click Open. Find the Avatar file and open it. (It’s on the Desktop, remember?)

11. From here, edit however you like. Spray paint, erase, brush to your heart’s content. Me, I want to get rid of that red splotch. Once you’re done, you can save it under the current name, or go to “Save As …” and save it under a new one, like “Joint Avatar b”.

Going back to step 9, if the file were still too big, you can fix that, but it involves jumping through some hoops.

1. Open the Avatar file in Paint. Chances are the Avatar is a JPG file.

2. Go to “Save As …” and save the image a bitmap file (*.BMP). This erases the layers common in JPG files.

3. From here, it might be small enough now. If not, close Paint, the reopen it. Open the BMP version, then resave it as a JPG file. I always use a new extension (Like “c” or “version 2”) to tell me where a file is in this process. Also, saving different steps helps me if I need a previous version, say if these file conversions didn’t work.

You now have a custom Avatar for forum use.