Two new patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office show that Apple may be getting into the avatar editing business.

Patent number 20110248992 is for an avatar editing environment that that allows users to create custom avatars for use in online games and other applications. Starting with a blank face the user can add, rescale and position different elements (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth) on the blank face. The user can also change the shape of the avatar’s face, the avatar’s skin color and the color of all the elements. In some implementations, touch input and gestures can be used to manually edit the avatar.

Various controls can be used to create the avatar, such as controls for resizing, rotating, positioning, etc. The user can choose between manual and automatic avatar creation. The avatar editing environment can be part of a framework that is available to applications. One or more elements of the avatar can be animated. The inventors are Marcel Van Os, Thomas Goossens, Laurent Lampbell, and Alexndre Carlhian.

Patent number 201102452344 is for personalizing colors of user interfaces. Methods, systems, and computer-readable media for creating customized color schemes for user interfaces are disclosed. An avatar editing environment associated with a user is provided and user input specifying colors for the avatar is received. A color profile of the avatar can be created based on the colors associated with the avatar. Customized color schemes associated with a software application can be created based on the color profile of the user’s avatar.

An application selection interface can present a respective user interface element for each application available for selection. The application selection interface and user interface element for each available application can be rendered in a respective color scheme selected based on the color profile of the user’s avatar and one or more characteristic colors extracted from an icon of the application. The inventor is Marcel Van Os.

— Dennis Sellers