Snapchat users have been able to create cute customizable 3D avatars since 2016. What you may not know is that Instagram has a similar feature. It’s a bit hidden, so you might not have been aware of this option. This tutorial shows how you can create your own personalized avatar in Instagram and start using it immediately.
What Are Instagram Avatars?
Meta introduced avatars on Facebook Messenger back in 2019, and now they’ve made it Instagram as well. An avatar is your customizable persona that you can edit to look the way you want to be perceived online. In its final form, it might resemble you or have a different look altogether. The choice is yours.
Instagram lets you customize everything about your avatar, from nose shape and eye color to expressions and face markings. You’ll also be in charge of picking your avatar’s outfits.
Avatars are by no means a new concept when it comes to virtual socialization. Snapchat uses Bitmoji to provide similar services to its users, and iPhone users have been able to use Memoji since 2018. Samsung has its own alternative called AR Emoji. The option is a native part of Instagram and provides an important clue as to Meta’s plans for the future.
The company has been pushing the idea of the metaverse for a while and even rebranded to Meta last year to make its plans even more transparent. Announcing the launch, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri confirmed that avatars are poised to play an important role in these virtual worlds, as they will be providing the visual representation of who we are in that space.
In essence, the Internet as we know it is slowly morphing into a different kind of entity, and avatars are only the beginning.
How to Create an Avatar with Instagram
You can only create Avatars using the Instagram app and can not do so from your PC. This may change in the future, however. Follow the steps below to design a 3D model of yourself from scratch.
- Open the Instagram app on your Android or iOS smartphone. For the purpose of this article, we’ve used an Android handset.
- Tap on your profile picture in the bottom-right corner of the display.
- On your profile, press on the hamburger menu in the top right.
- Select “Settings” from the menu that pops up from the bottom.
- Go to “Account.”
- From the options that appear, select “Avatar.”
- You’ll be taken to the Instagram avatar creation page. Press “Get Started” to begin the process.
- Select your skin tone.
- In the next screen, you can customize your face, including hair style, face markings, eye shape and more. Just swipe your finger to the right to see all the available options.
- Once you’re done with facial features, you can move on to body shape and clothing. There are multiple outfits to choose from, but one thing Instagram Avatars doesn’t offer is the option to create/design your own clothing pieces. You can’t mix and match items either, but perhaps this is an option that will be added later on. However, you can add accessories.
- You can go back and forth and fiddle with the features of your avatar as many times as you would like.
- When you’re finally satisfied with your creation, press the “Done” button in the top right.
- Press “Save Changes” in the pop-up window that appears, then wait as your avatar gets updated.
- Tap on “Next” to start using it right away.
How to Use Your Avatar on Instagram
There are two ways to use your avatar in Instagram: add Avatar stickers to Stories or send them via Direct. See how to do it below:
1. Add Avatar Stickers to Instagram Stories
- On your Instagram feed, tap on your profile picture in the top left to add a new Story.
- Select the content you want to turn into a Story.
- Press the “Sticker” button in the menu at the top.
- Select “Avatar.”
- Tap on “Create avatar,” even if you’ve already created it. (It may only pop up the first time.)
- On your Avatar page, press “Save.” Alternatively, you can choose a different outfit or make other modifications to your persona.
- Instagram will generate a series of Avatar-inspired stickers you can choose from for your Story.
- Tap on a sticker and place it anywhere you want on your Story. You can add as many Avatar stickers as you wish.
Note: You can have stickers with different looks on the same Story. Just press the “Edit” button to go back to the avatar creation page on Instagram. Perform the edits and “Save changes,” follow the steps outlined above, and you can add stickers featuring the upgraded version of your avatar.
- When you’re satisfied with the result, press the “Your story” button at the bottom to post it.
2. Send Avatar Stickers in Direct Messages
- Open a Direct Message in the Instagram app.
- Tap on the Sticker icon next to the “Message” bar.
- Select “Avatar” just like before.
- You can choose between the various stickers created based on your latest avatar version.
- Tap on your favorite to share it in a direct message.
How to Create Avatars with Bitmoji for Instagram
If you’re not satisfied with the range of customization available via Instagram’s native avatar feature, you have an alternative at your disposal. You can use a third-party app like Bitmoji to create your avatar, then easily share it on Instagram. We’ll show you how.
- Install the Bitmoji app (Android | iOS) on your device.
- Open it and log in using an email address and password.
- Once you’re in the app, select your genre.
- Take a quick selfie if you wish to speed up the avatar-creation process. If you’re concerned about privacy, you can “Skip” this step and create the 3D persona step by step.
- As in Instagram, the process starts with you picking your skin tone.
- You can use the option menu at the bottom to navigate through all the customization features. You can change your hair color and style, eye color, nose shape and more. Bitmoji offers some options that aren’t available on Instagram. For instance, you can opt for various eye sizes or eye spacing.
- When it comes to fashion, you can pick a full outfit or mix and match clothing pieces for more unique looks. You can play with their colors as well, so perhaps this app would be the better choice for those with a pronounced fashion sense.
- Once you’re satisfied with your look, press “Save” at the top.
- That’s it. You’ve created your avatar!
How to Share Your Bitmoji Avatar in Instagram
Bitmoji is integrated into the Gboard app (Android | iOS), so you don’t really need to do anything extra to start sharing your creation. Alternatively, you can enable the app’s own Bitmoji Keyboard, although this option comes with some privacy risks. You may need to though, if you’re using a different virtual keyboard than Gboard. Just as with Instagram’s own avatars, you can share the Bitmoji avatar stickers via Stories and in Direct Messages.
1. Add Bitmoji Avatar Stickers to Instagram Stories
- With Gboard as your virtual keyboard, is create a Story like you’d normally do.
- Tap anywhere on the Story to bring up the keyboard.
- Press on the “Emoji” icon next to the Space bar.
- Select the “Sticker” icon in the middle. This is where you will be able to find all your Bitmoji avatar stickers.
- Browse and select your favorite by tapping on it. If you’re using the Bitmoji Keyboard, press the icons at the top of the keyboard to browse through the avatar options available.
- Once you’ve picked your sticker, place it on your Story as you desire.
- When you’re done working on the configuration, press the “Your story” button to post the Story.
Note: it’s possible to add different avatar stickers here, too. Just go back to the Bitmoji app and tap on avatar at the bottom. Edit your avatar any way you would like. When you’re done, save your progress, then return to Instagram. Follow the steps above, and the new avatar stickers will be available in Gboard.
2. Use Bitmoji Avatar Stickers in Direct Messages
- Open a Direct Message in Instagram.
- Tap on the “Message” box at the bottom to bring up the virtual keyboard.
- Tap on the “Emoji” icon as you did before.
- Navigate to the “Sticker” icon in the middle.
- Select your favorite sticker and press it to send it to the other party. It’s that simple!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I delete my avatar on Instagram?
Go back to “Settings -> Account -> Avatar.” You’ll be taken to your Avatar page. Next to your Avatar on the right, you’ll notice a “Trash bin” icon. Press it to get rid of your avatar. You can start creating another one from scratch later on if you would like.
Can I use the avatar I've created on Instagram somewhere else?
Yes, you can. You can share your avatar stickers on Facebook and Messenger, but keep in mind that the two accounts need to be connected for you to do that. Otherwise, you’ll just have two separate avatars for each app.
Can I set my avatar as my Instagram profile picture?
Technically you can’t, as Instagram only allows you to use photos for your profile picture. However, what you can do is take a screenshot of your avatar. (We recommend doing it when the “Your Avatar is being updated” screen pops up, as you’ll get a nice closeup this way). Next, crop the photo to use it as your profile picture.
Image credit: Flaticon and Instagram | All screenshots by Alexandra Arici
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox