An avatar is an image that can appear on the stage as a character - a kind of digital puppet. It can be moved, rotated, scaled in size, and faded in and out. Avatars can speak with a computerised voice and in speech bubbles as well as in the chat window.
From the left-hand menu, select the Avatar tool, and an overlay will appear at the top of the Stage showing thumbnails of the avatars that are assigned to this Stage. Unlike virtual worlds, games and other platforms where each player has their own avatar, in UpStage all of the avatars assigned to a stage are available to all of the players on that stage; and one avatar can be placed on the stage multiple times.
Drag the avatar you want to operate onto the stage. It first appears in black and white, and the live action (light bulb) icon at the top right of the avatar is white. This means that only you can see the avatar.
Click on the light bulb: it becomes green and your avatar becomes coloured. This means everyone can now see it. You can adjust the size, position, opacity and frame of the avatar before making it visible to the audience.
To "hold" an avatar means that you are controlling that avatar, and no other player can operate it until you release it. When you place an avatar on the stage by dragging it from the Avatar tool overlay, you will be holding it by default. To hold an avatar that is already on the stage, double-click on it.
A red pointer icon above the avatar indicates that you are holding it; you will also see a slider on the left, and the lightbulb and X (remove) icon on the right.
A gray pointer icon is shown over avatars held by other players. The audience do not see these icons.
You must be holding an avatar to be able to operate it, including make it speak, move it, resize it, bring it in front of or behind other media on the stage, rotate it, as well as change its opacity, speed and animation. And of course, you can also remove it from the stage.
A player can only hold one avatar at a time, and an avatar can only be held by one player at a time.
The lightbulb icon allows you to make changes to your avatar without the audience seeing. This allows you to do things such as fade out an avatar at the same time as it moves to another position and gets smaller, so that it appears to be receeding into the distance.
Click on the lightbulb so that it turns white, and your avatar is black and white. The audience see the avatar as it was before you clicked the lightbulb off.
Make the adjustments that you want, to the point that you want the avatar to finish at (for example, small and transparent).
Click the lightbulb so that it is green again. The audience will now see the avatar change to the new position and settings, for example moving away, getting smaller and fading out.
Note: turning off the lightbulb does NOT make your avatar invisible; it means that the audience do not see what you are doing until you turn the lightbulb on again.
When you click on the avatar that you are holding, a green frame appears around the avatar.
Right-click on the avatar for an additional menu. Read on to discover what these tools allow you to do.
To move the avatar that you are holding to another area of the stage, click and drag it to the new location. A shadow of the avatar will show you where it will end up. When you release the click, the avatar will glide to the new position.
To adjust the speed at which your avatar moves, right-click on it and select "Move speed" in the slider options. The slider at the left of the avatar will become pink, and you can adjust this slider to make the avatar move faster or slower.
When you click on the avatar you are holding, a green box with with handles appears around the avatar. Drag the handles to resize the avatar; the original proportions will be maintained.
Click on the avatar you are holding to see the green frame; at the top is a handle with a small white cirlce. Click and hold this handle, and drag it to rotate the avatar.
Click on the avatar you are holding to see the green frame. The green slider on the left allows you to decrease or increase the opacity.
When you first drag an avatar onto the stage, it has full opactity as default. If you want the audience to see the avatar fade in, lower the opacity before turning on the lightbulb. Then turn on the lightbulb and raise the opacity.
Right click on the avatar and choose the slider "Move Speed". The slider on the left of the avatar is now pink. This slider controls the speed of your avatar's movement.
When an avatar is placed on the stage, it will appear "in front" of other media that is already there. To move your avatar behind other media, right-click on your avatar to access the context menu and select "Move back". If it is behind other media, you can select "Bring forward".
The Depth tool is another way to change the order of media on the stage. See the chapter Depth tool for information about this.
When you are holding an avatar and type text into the chat input field, the avatar name will appear in the chat window alongside the text. To change this name, *right click* on the avatar and in the context menu select "Avatar name". A pop-up window appears where you can enter a new name. Press "Save" to confirm.
Note: changing the name on the stage will only temporarily change it. If you want to change the name permanently, you need to do this in the Backstage, from the media management interface. See the chapter Modify Media in the Media Management section.
You can remove the avatar you are holding from the stage in three ways:
Removing the avatar from the stage does not unassign it from the stage: it is still available in the Avatar toolbar, just not visible on the stage any more. You can place it back on the stage at any time. See the Media management section for information on how to unassign media from a stage, and how to delete media from the server.
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