Channel 9 Template Editor help

The Template Editor is a tool that allows you to create and edit templates for the C9 International Avatar Creator.

Channel 9 Template Editor help A template consists of a few parts. At the heart of every template is the template image. This image defines the look of the template, and therefore the basic look of the avatars created using the template. A template also defines several areas: the avatar image area, the flag image area and the location text area. These areas determine where in the resulting avatar the the user's custom avatar image, country flag and the text they entered for their location will be placed respectively. Besides the location, you can also specify certain options for these areas.

When you start the template editor, a new template is created with an empty (completely transparent) image. You can use the "Open" button to open an existing template. When you're done, save your template using the "Save" button.

The template image

The template image is an important part of your template. It defines the basic look of the avatars created using the template.

The maximum size of a Channel9 avatar is 120 by 160 pixels, and this is also the maximum size for a template. It is also the recommended size. If you have a good reason to use a different (smaller) size image, you can, but using 120 by 160 is encouraged.

Template images can be completely opaque, or they can include (semi-)transparent regions. You can use these transparent regions together with the drawing order for the areas (the next section explains how to set this). If one of the areas is drawn behind the template image, they will only be visible if the template image is transparent in that location. The default templates provided with the C9 International Avatar Creator use this to achieve the rounded borders around the image. Any transparent part of the image that is covered by the avatar image, flag image or location text will use the background colour. Use the "default background color" option to set the color that will be used to fill those transparent areas by default. The user will be able to override this setting in the C9 International Avatar Creator if he/she wants to.

You create the template image using your favourite drawing tool, such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint Shop Pro or anything else, and save them in any format recognized by the avatar creator, which includes jpeg, gif, png and bmp (note: your image will always be stored as a png inside the template, regardless of the original format). Select an image for your template using the "Load image" button. You can save an image that is embedded in a template to an image file by using the "Save image" button.

In order to use transparency in your template, the template image must have transparent areas. Naturally, you need to provide the template image in a format that supports transparency in order for this to work. Using png images is recommended for this purpose.

Ordering the areas

The template image and the different areas can and most likely will overlap. You can specify the order in which they are drawn using the "areas" list. The more to the top in the list a part is, the more to the back it is. So if you place the avatar and flag image areas so that they overlap, the flag image will be drawn on top of the avatar image if it the flag area below the avatar area in the list, and vice versa. Use the template image entry in the list to determine if an area is drawn in front of or behind the template image.

You can reorder the areas in the list using the buttons next to the list, by dragging the areas in the list, or by using the alt key in combination with the arrow keys on your keyboard.

The avatar and flag image areas

The avatar and flag image areas determine the location of the user's custom avatar image and the flag image respectively. These areas (as well as the location text area) are indicated as blue squares on the Edit Template region of the Template Editor's window. The squares use a solid line if the regions are in front of the template image, and a dashed line if they are behind it. The area you are currently working on uses a thicker line. Select an area in the list on the left to edit it.

You can change the location and dimensions of the areas by using the Edit Template region. If you move your mouse over the Edit Template region, your mouse changes into a resize arrow if you are near any of the edges or corners of the area you are working on. Simply click and drag the mouse to resize the area. If you are not near any edge, your mouse turns into a crosshair; in this situation you can click and drag to draw a new area, discarding the old one. You can also use the left, right, top and bottom text boxes to fine-tune the coordinates of the area.

The "Default Scale" drop down determines the default scaling option for the area. These options are explained in greater detail in the C9 International Avatar Creator help. This option determines the default option that will be selected when the user selects your template. The user can still override this option.

The flag area is optional. You can uncheck the "use this area" checkbox to remove the area. This will create a template that doesn't use a flag. Avatars created from this template won't have a flag in them.

The location text area

The location text area determines where the location text entered by the user will be placed. It can be sized and positioned exactly like the avatar and flag image areas.

For the location text area you can specify the default font options. Please be aware that not everybody has all fonts, so it's best to choose one that is included with Windows or otherwise commonly available. The font color and alignment can also be chosen. Once again, these are default settings that the user can override in the C9 International Avatar Creator.

The font alignment only specifies the horizontal alignment of the text; the text is always centered vertically in the area. Be aware however that the height, as well as the width, of the location text area is used when calculating the font size if the text doesn't fit in the area with the specified font.

Like the flag area, the location text area is optional. You can uncheck the "use this area" checkbox to remove the area. This will create a template that doesn't use the location text.


While you are working you will see a preview of an avatar created using your template in the bottom left corner of the window. This avatar will be created using the default options specified by your template, a black background color and the flag of the USA. You can specify the dimensions of the avatar image used in the preview so you can test how different size images look with your template (for instance one that is higher than it is wide or vice versa, or one that is completely square, or one that is smaller than the avatar image area). You can also specify sample location text.