The search for a Disperser Gravatar, then and now.

The evolution of my avatar (or Gravatar) has its roots way back when in the heady pre-WordPress days. I don’t remember exactly when I started contributing to the Skepticality Forum, or when I started my first blog, also hosted by Skepticality. But, I know I was still playing racquetball at the time, and I drew my own avatar (green RB balls being my preferred because of their speed).

I actually had two Skepticality blogs . . . the first got wiped out when their server glitched. Lots of content that will never be recovered. The second Skepticality blog is what prompted me to search for a proper blogging platform . . . because it, too, got wiped out in the late 2000s, once again losing most of my content (I started this blog in March of 2010).

During the Skepticality years, specifically in December 2005, I finished binge-watching Firefly, and a few years later, I began my collection of Firefly stuff (I have a lot of Firefly stuff, even after having sold some of it).

Anyway, because I ordered the Serenity Ship Papers, I got a free certificate of amnesty. What does that look like? Here, let me show you.

Why is that important? Because based on the series of photos I shot for that mugshot, I came up with what would be my avatar from 2008 through 2012. You can read a bit about arriving at the final version in THIS Post, but here’s what it looked like.

That gravatar was used at Skepticality, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere that offered the opportunity to upload one’s preferred gravatar. For better or worse, some people might still recognize it years later.

For a while, a similar version (below) appeared because some places allowed for larger versions, and I couldn’t recreate the editing of the original to make a larger version . . . but the above was my preferred version.

Of course, now I can use GigaPixel to enlarge the original.

Come my second anniversary of the blog, and I thought I should change the header and gravatar to match the blog’s name.

For them who don’t bother to read my About Page, “Disperser” is the name given to wolves who leave the pack and travel on their own. Hence the whole head and wolf out and about.

But, let’s step back to March of 2012 when I asked a graphic designer friend of mine if they could draw me an avatar for the blog. This is what I got back.

Crooked teeth, creepy smile, and makeup-wearing rendering of a wolf who liked to hit the booze way too often.

I won’t mention who the friend is, but his name starts with “Per” and ends in “ry” … needless to say, I immediately set about looking to generate my own gravatar, and I began by looking at these photos (Google Photos album), and converting them to line drawings.

The line drawing at the top of this post comes from that effort, as does the gravatar on the sidebar. You can read about the process in THIS Post.

BUT . . . I was curious about what a proper graphic artist might do with minimal instructions . . . specifically, an AI Artist . . . So, I played with NightCafe and MidJourney. I won’t go through all the iterations, but here are NightCafe’s best offerings that came close to what I imagined.

Those are not bad. I’m fairly sure I could — if I so desired — re-render them as line drawings in the style of my current version. I mean, the eyes are a bit weird, but I can work with that.

I have a lot more versions from NightCafe, some of them much better than these . . . except all have an extra leg thrown in. I can probably edit them out, but it would be a bit of effort. Here, let me show you . . .

And those aren’t the only ones. I have other examples I’ll share on a dedicated post.

So, what about MidJourney’s offerings?

That’s not bad . . . but, did you notice the front legs? Or, should I say ‘leg’? Now I know where NightCafe got the extra leg.

All but one of MidJourney’s offerings had a similar ‘single front leg’ look.

Not sure about that red lining its mouth . . . blood, maybe?

Not bad . . . except for the trees growing out of its back . . . which I suppose I can fix.

But, what about the close-up of the face like I use on the sidebar?

Again, I can work with that . . . except it looks more like a dog than a wolf.

Anyway, I’ll do a proper effort to show all the wolf renderings, but I wanted to give a short history of what went on before with my various Gravatars.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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