by Caleb Goellner

Smith Micro's Top 7 Animated Avatars for Mobile Messaging

Our friends at Smith Micro are inviting artists of all stripes to create avatars that might be shared on millions of Sprint Android devices. We knew they were seeing a ton of great examples of avatar art and asked them to share their favorites. They rounded up some excellent avatar art below.

If you have an avatar idea, submit it to the Avatar Challenge.

Artists using the Anime Studio design application are creating fun, new avatars for mobile messaging apps such as AniMates and Sprint Avatars. Here is a sampling of the top avatars and why they’re so popular.

1. Hans by Dave Cockburn


Dogs are man’s best friend, so it’s no coincidence that Hans is the best-selling character on AniMates!  A German Shepherd conveys loyalty, protection, intelligence and with the hint of Hans’ hand on his hip, confidence.  But Hans’ gentle smirk and attentive, raised brows soften him so he isn’t arrogant.  If you want to send a warm, friendly greeting, Hans is the perfect avatar.  After all, talking to dogs is scientifically proven to lower your blood pressure! Hans is everything we love about dogs…without scooping the poop.

2. Super Tiger by Chris Cartledge

Inspired by college mascots, Super Tiger is the top trending character in the past three months.  He doesn’t have typical “puppy-dog” eyes or soft appearance.  Just look at those chiseled abs, biceps, and drill sergeant stare!  Super Tiger’s popping colors and masculine smile are magnetic.  No one would’ve guessed he’d be a best-seller alongside “cuddly” characters in the Animals category.  But hey, look at Rudy Ruettiger, Vince Papale, or heck, that whole Titans team.  Nothing kept them down!  Nothing will keep Super Tiger down either.

3. Marcus by Chad Troftgruben


Marcus is the best-selling People character!  While most apps with talking avatars focus on animals or Caucasian people characters, Marcus represents diversity that everyone can relate to.  He brings fun style and a personable, welcoming smile.  His color contrasts catch your eye, and the fact that he’s waving and leaning in makes him seem like he’s already your friend.  In fact, we’re hanging out later today.


4. Moaning Lisa by David Knight


Considering the pop-culture zombie craze, it’s no surprise Moaning Lisa is the best-selling character from Monsters and Zombies category.  With her creepy-yet-still-cute appearance, this female zombie outsells the male version.  Moaning Lisa proves not everyone is looking for a fuzzy friend.  Her single yellow eye hypnotizes you and her slanted stance gives the impression she’s taking one lurching step toward you.  Watch out!     


5. Honey Badger by Vladimir Osmjanski


Honey Badger is that guy who’s funny when he’s mad…and when isn’t he mad?  Honey Badger is one of the most popular free characters and the most popular avatar inspired by internet memes.  (Others are a cranky cat and the philosoraptor.)  Users have said they use Honey Badger when they have a complaint and don’t want to be ignored! From his eyebrows to elbows, Honey Badger exudes annoyance, yet his plump body and big nose still make you want to hug him.  Just be careful of those claws.

6. Renzoo by Carlos F. Bergoglio

Don’t be fooled by Renzoo’s laid back lids and charming smile – he’s a trickster, and he is the top-selling Safari Animal! Renzoo’s shiny-whites are the first thing you see, but the details in his skin, mouth and tail keep you drawn in.   Renzoo was one of the first characters to use multiple gestures in a single animation sequence.  When he talks, he doesn’t just lip-synch, he also waves his paws.  To think, some people can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time.  

7. Xyros by David Knight

Xyros is the best-selling character in the new category created by David Knight called Chiba.  Much like people themselves, the Chiba category has avatars of all shapes and sizes, which is why they are so attractive to us.  Xyros’ big eyes and little smile make him a favorite among the younger set.  The bright colors make him almost squeezable.  Xyros shows that avatars don’t necessarily need characters with arms, hands, or paws to be expressive.  When you use Xyros to send your message, check out the way he flies in and out of the screen!

Creating the Next Top Avatar 

To learn how these avatars for messaging were created, watch this tutorial. And for students grades 9 and up, you can submit your own avatar creations in the Avatar Challenge, where you have the chance to earn a $2500 scholarship, a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet, and have your avatar featured on millions of Sprint Android devices.