From 2008 on, I have been the Art Director for hi5.com. Hi5 is one of the largest socal networks in the world, boasting a global audience of over 50 million monthly visitors and a virtual currency supporting over 60 payment methods worldwide. One of the main projects I was hired for was to create an avatar system that would be streamlined enough to run through flash without requiring any additional application downloads by users. Collaborating with 3D engine programmer Jonathan Fischoff, we developed a low-overhead character system. I developed a cartoony style of avatar that would have broad appeal and require very few bones or extra geometry, instead relying on texture swapping for expressions and clothing changes. Models were around 1000 triangles apiece, and all textures features user-defined colors to allow for more variety.
The top row shows a selection of avatars while the bottom row shows them at actual size in our 3D engine on real users' profile pages. Users could choose form a wide variety of emotion animations to express their mood for the day. Here are some screens showing the avatar creation flow that I designed:
Michael Dashow - 4676 Reinhardt Drive, Oakland, CA. USA - 510-336-2666
mdashow_at_michaeldashow.com - http://www.michaeldashow.com/artdirection.html