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Poll of the Month: Avatar 3 - The Awards Version


How do you choose your avatar for your PC/PNPCs?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you choose your avatar for your PC/PNPCs?

    • I think of the actor who fits the character
    • I think of the character who fits the actor
      0
    • Both!
    • Neither!
    • Something else (let us know in the comments)


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Well hello there! It’s been a while since we’ve run a Poll of the Month, and we thought our 30th Anniversary month would be a fantastic time to come back from the dead (a Star Trek speciality). A huge thank you to @Gogigobo Fairhug for giving me the nudge needed to get this ship back online.

Soooooo, with it being our thirtieth anniversary (!) and also the month of our beloved awards ceremony, we thought we’d ask you an interesting question about our avatars. Obviously at this time of year, we get our characters all dressed up in their finest black tie/prom dress/weird outfit that the actor wore to the Met Gala in 2017… you know who you are. And this raised an interesting little question for me this month. 

How did you select your avatar for Starbase118? I myself started off using my own image for Genkos (hugely embarrassing I know, but I was young…ish) and then moved to the beautifully angular Ben Whishaw when I got more of a handle both on simming and on the character of Genkos. I’ve also made more of an effort to try and include POC in my PNPC characters list (okay, I have three, but it’s a start!).

So that brings me to the question of the week - how do you select the actors/models/random strangers that you’ve picked for your avatars?

Do you develop the character and then think “who do I know who plays characters like that?” or do you think of an actor that exists and think “wow, they would be fun to play as - they normally play ineffable grumps”? It’s a bit of a chicken and an egg question, but we are interested to know!

Or do you do something completely different - let us know what you do in the comments below!

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I come up with three things that can potentially define the character and do searches for, for example, things like "old money, smug looking, but good at heart" and see what comes up.

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I generally have an idea of the character in mind and then try to think of an actor who has embodied some of those qualities on screen. Generally, when writing, I try to envision the scene as if I were writing a scene for an actual Trek series - and so I tend to refer to the mannerisms of the actors whom I choose as well, imagining them actually playing the part on television.

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My approach is very similar to Robin’s ☝.

I would also add that species is something I take into consideration. So, instead of picking an actor and shoe-horning them into a particular species, I tend to think to myself “Hmm…who would make a good Vulcan/Bolian/Ferengi?” etc. 🤔

Edited by Gogigobo Fairhug
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I choose an Italian actor hoping he was not already used as an avatar. I need a mid-age man but with a young look. My first choice was already token so I end up with the current one.

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Definitely chose the avatar after I fleshed out the backstory and traits of the character. I've only seen the face claim in a few films, where he plays a certain web-based hero, and I instantly thought of him when I thought of Matthews going through the drama and pain I force upon him. Personally, I always thought he did upset and troubled quite well, so I straight away chose him. Plus, nobody else had used him! Lol.

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I've got three main ones.

Lt JG Lhandon Joseph Nilsen

For me, it took a little while to find Jeremy Allen White, yet he was right there in front of me. Lhandon, who joined the fleet last year, was written very differently compared to Lhandon now. His character has evolved a lot as I worked to find my groove and style.

600px-Lhandon_Nilsen_Ensign_OEB.png2401Awards.png.25e818c166b20b40adba11ba10058349.pngKei'ran_and_Lhandon.png

I had his character in mind when picking my face claim, and I knew I wanted one that had a big family, mostly for the practical purposes of getting shots of them all together. Then, my other half pointed out Shameless, and I recalled that I LOVED both the UK and US versions. Those who are fans of Shameless and read Lhandon's wiki will notice that the order of birth is different (with Lip being the oldest, but Lhandon being the fourth child). I also picked JAW because I relate a lot to his portrayal of Lip and some of the struggles he faced, but also, I find JAW to be really hot (don't come at me, we all have our vices, haha). JAW's face claim also helped me work out what troubles Lhandon was facing, and his role in The Bear inspired Lhandon's love of cooking.

T'Larn

I have a PNPC whose face claim is Melanie Thandiwe Newton. I picked her because I needed a face claim that conveyed that this character was a little mischievous and cheeky—the kind that would say she's planning a practical joke and then not do it, just to watch the other person squirm. I do want to play her again soon.

800px-T'Larn_Face_Claim_-_Thandie_Newton.jpg

Percy - name TBC

I also have another PNPC in the works. For him, I wrote his backstory first, then found his face claim and landed on Charles Leclerc. A lot of Leclerc's style fitted with what I had in mind and Leclerc's stye started to inform Percy's style. The OEB will be meeting him soon.

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So there are my face claims and I've learned a lot from the last year or so simming, and my process for face claims and creating characters has changed wildly.

 

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I develop my characters completely independent of face claims. I don't want my characters to be based on other characters an actor has done, but I do want them to have the right vibe. So I develop them independently, get a feel for how I imagine them looking, and then spend quite a lot of time searching for a face claim. One thing I've learned is don't be married to a hairstyle.

T'Ama as a character predates when I joined SB118 - she also predates Lower Decks too. For a long time she was just another character's teenage daughter in my head, and I aged her up to play in a Star Trek Adventures game and discovered she was not at all like how I thought she was. But I redeveloped her for SB118, and that original concept influenced her original face claim. I picked Jenna Ortega because I had seen Wednesday and that was kind of the vibe, and matched the description. But over time as I got going I realized Jenna Ortega did not really fit her well. She was too young, and while T'Ama is immature, she's going to mature quickly. So I spent really a long time marinating on who I should change her face claim to, and watching endless clips of Brooklyn 99 because I literally had not seen any of it when I landed on Stephanie Beatriz. I'm really very happy with who I changed it to.

The PNPCs have been more variable in difficulty. I did try it out the other way for an MSNPC where I picked the face claim and the character basically is one they've done and I found it SO much harder to write. The face claim is literally not even shown anywhere but I stress about nailing the character like I don't even own it.

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I had no face claim in mind when I started Ayiana. I had already created a 3D Ayiana for other hobbyist art projects and simply adapted her for 118. When I sim, it's that Ayiana in my mind. I recently chose Christina Hendricks as a photorealistic faceclaim because I wanted to put Ayiana in some pictures with other crewmembers, like Cory Stoyer (played by Chris Hemsworth). Mixing photo and 3D does not look good. I've been told since using CH, it has helped some of my crewmates on the Gorkon when reading my sims, as they can more easily picture CH and hear her voice. In fact one of the reasons I settled on her was because someone once told me they heard her voice when reading Ayiana sims. But at the end of the day, whenever I write Ayiana, I am picturing the 3D version in my head, not CH

PNPCs it varies. Toran started as a 3D, but then I decided to change him to Terry Crews. It's worked out perfectly. Xanti and L'rann are by necessity not photorealistic. Xanti is 3D with the help of a dinosaur model, and L'rann I just made in Star Trek Online (she is actually one of my main Bridge Officers).

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For Gila specifically, I developed her as a character primarily, and then searched for a bald actress that would be easy for the Image Guild to work with. That brought me to Shweta Tripathi who had a role as a woman with alopecia, and while the majority of her pictures are with a beautiful head of dark hair, I'm now married to that faceclaim. She just is Gila.

I have an entire folder of potential Face Claims, however, and the order usually goes: I find an person of note I'd like to use for a Face Claim and save them for posterity. Then, when it's time for me to make a new char/PNPC, I develop the character in my mind before going through my Face Claims folder to see if the character I've created fits the vibe of any of them. Some Face Claims are reserved for specific alien species though 😄 

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