If you’re a fan of Snapchat, you’ve probably heard of Bitmoji, the app that lets you create personal emojis that bear a frightening resemblance to your actual appearance. They’re all the rage as of late, and are an evolutionary stepping stone in the emoji movement, with users able to share their Bitmoji across multiple social platforms to express their moods and emotions. In this review, we’ll be looking at how to install Bitmoji for Android, key features of the app and why these little avatars bear such an eery resemblance to their owners.

What is Bitmoji?

Bitmoji is an app that allows you to create personal cartoon avatars based on your appearance, and use them in conversation just like emojis to express action or emotions. But the real reason Bitmoji gained such popularity is down to how much they actually look like their human counterparts. This phenomenon seems to be global, with tens of millions of people using the app.

The process involves picking a face, skin tone, hair color, hair length, fashion style, eyebrows, jaw shape, and mouth. You can go back and tweak it as you please, but it still raises the question. How can a cartoon character with limited customization options bear so much resemblance to us?

Well, it turns out the founder of Bitmoji has been drawing since he can remember, on a lifelong mission to find the best way to turn humans into animated characters. This resulted in Blackstock creating his own YouTube animated show called Gridville several years ago. Between that, film school and founding his own media studio, it looks like Blackstock found the secret sauce for turning any human into lively cartoon characters. Blackstock founded Bitstrips back in 2007, which was the beginning of his attempt to democratize cartoons and create a platform for anyone to be creative and express themselves through comic characters. With people starting to use his cartoons in communication alongside $11 million of funding, Bitstrips launched Bitmoji.

Bitmojis real unique selling point over standard emojis is their personality with the use of bold lines and colors, making them look more expressive. To do this, however, Blackstock had to find the perfect templates for creating faces, so he would sit at the bar and draw his friend’s faces in an animated fashion until he made one very important discovery. Blackstock discovered there was only a handful of face shapes, lip shapes, eyebrow arches etc. So it was just a matter of using these in combination with different style items which is responsible for Bitmojis eerily accurate resemblance to their owners. Years of studying human faces and parameters paid off in the end, and while Blackstock seems to have found the perfect formula, he is well aware that his designs and templates can always be tweaked and improved.

The other element that makes Bitmoji so powerful is context. Everyone has habits and hobbies, and Bitmojis can be used to display these, much like a caricature artist will draw a soccer ball next to a football fanatic. This emphasizes the essence of personality. You can use different phrases, expressions, and positions with the app, given you a ton of different context and settings. The developers of this app clearly put a lot of time and love into making them as expressive as possible, and it looks like it paid off.

Getting started with Bitmoji

The first step to creating your own custom avatar is downloading the Bitmoji free apk for your Android using the download link at the top of this article. Just be sure to allow downloads from unknown sources in the settings section of your device. Once downloaded, install the app, open it up and create a new account via email of Snapchat.

Now comes the fun part, creating your Bitmoji mini-you. Several screens will prompt you to choose face shape, hair color, eyes, jaw structure, clothing and so on. Don’t worry about perfecting it too much, as you can always tweak it later to your liking.

Bitmoji keyboard

When you’ve created your avatar, activate Bitmoji on your device’s keyboard to share Bitmoji stickers with friends. Bitmoji instructs you how to do this after saving your first one. It’s compatible with Google keyboard, Snapchat (they bought the app in 2016), Tinder, and other supporting apps. A neat feature of using the app in Snpachat is the ability to send Bitmojis that interact with your friends Bitmoji.

Further customization

Customization doesn’t stop there. Change your Bitmojis clothes by using the “Dress Your Avatar” option in the app and even take advantage of themed outfits related to everything from a policeman to a chef. The app often releases jerseys for sports play-offs like NBA’s that you can use to dress your avatar. With Snapchat acquiring the app in 2016 they even rolled out branded outfits such as Nike and Hollister. Outfit theme packs can also be purchased, usually for a price of $0.99c for those who really want to stand out from the crowd.

Bitmoji in Snapchat

Although Snapchat own Bitmoji and most users download it through the Snapchat app, you will still need to activate it use it there. Go to the settings section of Snapchat and tap on ‘Link Bitmoji’. Feel free of course to use it in other compatible apps if you’re a fan. Tinder recently rolled out the use of Bitmoji stickers in their app which offers a fresh way to break the ice with new matches.

The bottom line

The bottom line is, Bitmoji really is a whole lot of fun. Making your own cartoon avatar is rewarding, especially when you’ve managed to capture the essence of you in your creation. Bitmoji offers a unique avenue to express ourselves through social messaging, which is what we crave, and was responsible for the boom of emojis in the early 2000s to the present day. So go ahead and start your Bitmoji app download now and see what the hype is all about, sharing silly versions of yourself with the rest of the world.