I'm trying to print a custom user field (field_avatar) image as a replacement for the user picture. Why? user picture file directory would not accept tokens. This mean, I could run into a scenario where there are 100k files in a directory slowing the website!

From googling answers for hours, this is the best solution I've read.

In comment.tpl.php placed in my custom omega 4 subtheme, I added this code.

<?php  print render(field_view_field('user', $user, 'field_avatar'));  ?>

However, above code prints the default field_avatar picture! not field_avatar based on the comment ID? or UID of the author?

Please shed some wisdom smart ones!

2 Answers 2


I've got it working! I've used user_load($comment->uid) to load the author relationship.

I placed the code in a copy of comment.tpl.php in my sub theme.

<?php print render(field_view_field('user',user_load($comment->uid), 'YOUR-CUSTOM-USER-FIELD'));?>

Cheers and good luck!


You need to reference the $author of the comment rather than the currently logged in $user. Luckily, $author comes as a parameter to the tpl file, try this?:

  print render(field_view_field('user', $author, 'field_avatar'));
  • I tried it. Cleared the cache and everything. Unfortunately, It's still rendering the default picture. Note: I'm not trying to print the current user of the site, but the author of the comment.
    – Ian
    Sep 7, 2014 at 0:35
  • Oh of course, hang on I'll update the answer.
    – Darvanen
    Sep 7, 2014 at 0:44
  • Unfortunately, I've tried $author and $node to no avail :(. I'm reading comment.module to get some insight.
    – Ian
    Sep 7, 2014 at 0:57
  • perhaps render() doesn't work the same way for $author fields, or the $author object is structured differently to $user. You can use dpm($author); to check the object (make sure devel module is installed first).
    – Darvanen
    Sep 7, 2014 at 1:17
  • I'll just resort to views for now. >.>
    – Ian
    Sep 7, 2014 at 2:21

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