Customizable Avatars for GraphView

Ivan has submitted a PR that supports a new feature in GraphView Charts view mode.

Graph View now supports Themed avatars. The original Avatars are cartoonish in style. It seemed like they clashed with the B&W photos or portrait paintings of non-Avatar persons. New avatars offered include Light & Dark Silhouettes. Or, you can define your own set of Male & Female.

This works beautifully! Thanks Ivan!

The developer is intrigued by the idea of allowing Themed Avatars be applied by looking at additional attributes beyond Gender.

We discussed Era or Age at death as possible attributes. So, like Cameo brooches, an avatar might indicate a woman died as 1920s ‘flapper’ in her 20s, a Edwardian-age grand dame, as a babe in swaddling, or as a toddler.
flapper Cameo
But even doing experiments would require collecting a few sets of Avatars.

Could you help us collect few copyright-unrestricted Avatar images?

[Note that the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) was used to clean up scans of silhouettes from a century old wedding record. Oversized developmental copies, with layers for the genders, were saved in GIMP’s native .xcf format. But the final silhouettes were made into smaller, reduced color-mode PNG files with transparent backgrounds. Smaller avatar files mean faster loading graphs!]

I just thought of a genderless variant.

People often confuse Astrology & Genealogy. An amusing variant would be a divination oriented theme based on one of the zodiacs:

Ivan ( no Discourse account ) also has a Theme PR ([GraphView] rewrite theme support #477) that was submitted for comment in 2021. It offers things like indicators for Eye and Hair color.

But there have been no responses posted.

I am weirdly suited for this task. I was originally going to go to college for art and my specialty is portraits. I also have a small vintage / antique jewelry shop online and own several shell carved cameo brooches I can reference. If anyone has requests I would be happy to provide. Maybe I could start with some more multicultural silhouettes for people to choose from?

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And I have a wacom graphics tablet I use for digital art.

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But in the meantime, this is one of the sources I use for copyright unrestricted reference photos and multimedia pieces: Rijksstudio - Rijksmuseum

Ivan and I discussed the possibility of having the Avatar adapt to age groups at time of death:

  • infant
  • pre-pubescent
  • adolescent
  • young adult
  • mature adult
  • senior adult

The current light & dark silhouettes are from a wedding invitation in the Library of Congress image collection.

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I can create some avatars for this for gramps. I will start next week, since I have some work to do on some unrelated jobs this week.


When you do, please keep in mind the transparency interaction. One of the future options might be to sync the backdrop color to the topmost tag color. Allowing the user to hint at another datapoint other than the current gender blue/pink indicator color.

For the following image, I used slight transparency so the image blends into the main page color. It also has a semi-transparent white underlayment along with the tint. The image to the right is without the white underneath. And the furthest right has a different backdrop tint with the white.
image   image image image

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More important than avatars by age groups, which is a great idea, would be to add avatars for the genders Unknown and Other.

I tweaked the existing code to do this but the only avatars I came up with were
person_unknown and person_other which I consider unacceptable.

My Male and Female for this Theme are

person_male and person_female which I picked so the Unknown and Other avatars would not totally stand out.

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The genders are currently indicated by backdrop color which is selected in the Colors tab of Preferences.

So, extending a gender indicator without undoing a previous scheme would require adding new swatches for Other gender to Preferences and making GraphView utilize the Setting.

(By the way, did you know you can use drag’n’drop between the color picker and the swatches? That makes setting up a half dozen colors much less tedious.)

The colors are currently being added to a person’s box. Amber for Unknown and Green for Other. But for these genders they do not currently have avatars when no picture is attached to their record.

I have a trans twin brother who knows a lot more people in the non-binary / trans community than I do. I will consult him and ask what symbology or profile styles would be aesthetically pleasing and representative of people who fall outside the gender binary.


Created this PR to get the code in place to add the Unknown and Other genders to the Graph View.

PR #597

Perhaps the support for varied Avatars would be more appropriately implemented in the Avatar Generator addon. Then Avatars would be applied to more than just the GraphView

Since it has a filter capability, the overriding Avatars could be applied to exceptions. For instance, one might use a traditional “lamb” gravestone as an Avatar for stillbirths or infant mortality.

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I have updated the avatars. As I was searching for possibilities, I realized I was using my Caucasian bias. This is why I have used simple outlines with no features. Avatars could be used with more features but if this route is taken, all the major skin tones should be used. The existing silhouette avatars do not show features although I daresay they do not represent Asian and other cultures.

My current avatars

Male person_male

Female person_female

Unknown person_unknown

Other person_other

Seems like the caution color (yellow in US) outline would be more logically the Unknown.

That leaves all the genders with a selection as Black outline with white (transparent?) filled avatars.

These all came from SVG Repo. All I did was to resize them and convert to .PNG.

So far, in my large database of 200K people I have no “Other” genders although there is one known Female-to-Male trans person but he is listed as male.

I do have 1000+ “Unknown” gendered people most listed as living or entered when the supporting document listed that someone had “four children”. There are many with a unisex name that I have not done more research on. For this reason I chose the genderless head for “Unknown”.

I am not totally sold on these avatars so I do welcome all input. The yellow coloring was/is a concern, but it does look good with the green background.

Added: With so few potential people with the yellow “Other” avatar, if one were to show up in the graph it would catch the user’s attention and maybe want to explore the record further.

I use these three avatars for myself: