I think a healthy mix of both is probably best. While a good pic will often do the job, I think a good RPer should describe(And have a good idea of) what differentiates the character from the one in the image. ~_~I have just dropped an image and been done with it a few times, but I'd hardly call myself a great RPer. I think the style of image depends on the RP. For something like Titans I think a photo is the prefered face claim, whereas for Gunpowder I'd go with something drawn in an adult cartoon/Anime style.
I have to say I hate using photos and avoid them at all costs if I can. I personally see it as sort of a crutch for some people so that way they don't have to look outside their normal comfort zone (i.e well, there wasn't a picture so I couldn't do a character like that...). It's not only the people using the photo but the other participants as well, like assuming the photo is a 100% replica of the character and going off that rather than what the person is saying in the IC.
I always come up with a picture of the character I want in my head. So, there's no way I could find a picture that accurately represents my character unless it was symbolic. I love doing written appearances, thinking of the clothes, the accessories, is this their preferred casual wear? Fancy wear? I try to make their fashion and ensemble unique to the character. A written description can help you add in more depth to their personality as well. For me the appearance is the best part.
I'd rather do 10x appearances than a history or personality.
I have very strong feelings for appearances, haha.
"I'm ready for a nap..."
[YOU ARE CHALLENGED BY TIRED STUDENT RETRO BUG] Pokémon:
I think a picture with a description works great, but what I run in to a lot is that I immediately know what a character looks like in my mind, making me unable to find a reference picture.
I did make my own reference picture of Time Police, but the time investment in that is just a bit too big.
Do you prefer to attach a picture to your SUs or just describe your character's appearance with words?
And if you're a picture person, do you prefer photos/realistic images or drawn/anime stuff?
Also if you're a GM, do you usually like seeing pictures in people's SUs or not?
At times I like to do both, other times I will just attach a picture if I don't want to invest a lot of time in it and have to go, and other times I'll even just describe it with words. It really depends on the Roleplay IMO and the setting and everything in the Roleplay. For pictures I usually go with drawn/anime stuff, as I don't like realistic photos that often. As a GM I'm fine if they have a picture in their SU, so long as the rest of the SU they took a fair amount of time on and at least moderately fleshed out their character. ;)
It doesn't bother me, whether a description or picture is used, as long as the picture is of an unnamed or original human being. If your character has a picture of Cody Simpson or Chrono attached, they are not "Reika Bananapants", they are Cody Simpson or Chrono.
I lean a bit on the overachieving side so I usually do descriptions. If there is a picture involved, I add a description alongside it.
For me, I prefer to have a text based appearance. I feel like the character is more of my design than of the person who made the costume or image. The most I feel comfortable with is linking to an image to an article of clothing or weapon etc. just to throw the point home. To me, it's somewhat lazy and feels like a cop-out to google image search something, link to it, and call it done. I've been in a couple RP's where a picture was required(Bad GM's tbh) Most recently, I've made a character who is a ninja, so under appearance I put an image of a stereotypical ninja, but still had the need to describe the character because it wasn't enough for me.
As a GM, I highly prefer text to images, simply because even when using an image, the RPer always has their own variation to how the character differs from what they present, and I want the characters to be their own. Clothing & accessories usually reflect the personality and history of their characters, so many times an image won't mesh well with the person, Most of the time I actually don't allow images in the SU, because if you can't describe what your character looks like then how can you describe action?
I hate writing the Appearance part of a SU. I prefer pictures, always. Both as GM or participant. I usually prefer realistic ones, unless the RP has a more 'anime-type' feel to it, then I'll find one of those.
A Legend once told me that roleplaying is about bringing people together and celebrating creative vision.
Paired with the ArtsyInfinite and the Spectacular Shak
Pictures are a good shorthand, but they don't tell you everything. I use pictures to say "Basically this.", then I add a written description with more information. I presume that they have more than one outfit (most of the time, anyway), so I include what is usually worn (style, color, special items not visible in picture), along with height and miscellaneous info, like how they stand or any quirks in their appearance (avoids eye contact, folds arms often, etc.).
As for photo vs drawing... I prefer drawings. I feel weird using photos, since there's an actual person out there with that appearance, and you're taking it as your own. Even if you use a photo of yourself, it's not really your character, is it? And unless you have a lot of costumes, make-up/prosthetics, and props, all of your characters will be identical, which takes out a lot of fun and creativity.
I'm a bit spoiled since I'm an artist so I just so a quick drawing of the character and don't have to compromise wh existing images. I do always add a written description thogh, since appearance tells a lot about characteristics that he image alone cannot.
When I gm I def want there to be a written section, images are an extra. I much prefer art over photos.
I'm gonna be frank. More often than not, I'm way to lazy to write out a description, although I've done it quite a few times. Typically I get an idea what I want my character to look like, I find a picture relatively close, and then I try and do a smaller description below. But I change my MO pretty often.
As GM I prefer when people use both pictures and description in their appearence. Pictures so it's easier for others to picture your character and description for the things you can't see on the picture ^^
As roleplayer I use both description and pictures because of the exact same reason I stated above ^