vtuber model cover image on meta junkie blog

How To Make a vTuber Model

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If the term “vTuber” has piqued your interest and you’re keen to learn more about what’s involved with creating your own vTuber model, this post is going to be a great place for you to start.

a picture of me and my vtuber model
In case you're new here, hi! My name is Thom and I'm a IT Professional/Technology Enthusiast from Australia and yes, that's a picture of me and my vTuber model.

I’ve created this vTuber Model Quickstart Guide to help those looking to get started in the world of vTubing, but have no idea where to start.

Before successfully creating my vTuber model, I was super intrigued by this technology but was having a hard to time getting my head around all the moving pieces that go into it, such as how to use the facial tracking & live streaming softwares and finding the right artist to help me bring my idea to life..

So my hope is that this guide will cut through the noise & help you get started on your vTubing journey sooner rather than later. Now, before we get into the details of putting a vTuber model together, let's take a dive into what vTubers are and how they work.

What’s a vTuber?

So, what is a vTuber?

The term itself stands for “Virtual YouTuber” and typically involves a content creator who uses a customised character or avatar to communicate with their audience via video or live stream.

vtuber model live on twitch - Rinkss
vtuber model video on youtube - Mari Yumi
The most unique thing about this form of content creation is that the creator uses face and body tracking technology to animate their character in real-time, offering a dynamic and interactive experience quite unlike pre-drawn animations or traditional video filming.

face tracking software for vtuber model

It's akin to bringing the immediacy and interaction of a video game into the world of content creation. Your avatar becomes your player, and platforms like YouTube or Twitch become the stages where you perform and interact.

vTubers have notably gained popularity among gamers and streamers who enjoy embodying their avatars while playing. However, the potential stretches far beyond gaming. Non-streaming vTubers in various niches are exploring pre-filmed content, tapping into a world of possibilities yet to be fully realised by the masses.

As this technology evolves and we delve deeper into the creation of the Metaverse, I believe we'll see an even more transformative impact across the entire influencer landscape, as this technology offers a unique blend of anonymity and authenticity, allowing you to share your message in a modern format without the need to be physically on camera.

Before we dive into creating your vTuber model, you'll need to decide on the format you want for your model: 2D or 3D. Let's explore the differences to help you choose the best fit for your vision.

2D vTubers vs 3D vTubers

When it comes to vTuber models, there's two format options that you have to choose from: 2D or 3D. While both formats serve the same purpose and have similar methods of application, the creation process and varying looks across the two kinds are few and far between.

2D vTuber Models

2D vTubers are typically created through a process of layering, where individual elements of the character (like eyes, mouth, and limbs) are drawn separately and then animated on top of one another in programs like Live 2D Cubism.

2d vtuber model in pieces

This kind of application creates depth and movement, simulating a lively, animated aesthetic on a 2D plane. The complexity can vary, with some models featuring basic movements and others offering intricate, lifelike expressions and gestures.

3D vTuber Models

On the other hand, 3D vTuber models are created using 3D software programs like Blender or VRoid studio. These models exist within a three-dimensional space and are often more lifelike, with the capability for more fluid and complex movements. Once created, these models are then imported into softwares like VSee Face to animate and interact in real-time.

3D Vtuber Model in VRoid Studio
3d vtuber model in VSee Face
Credit: Images from tylers_discarded_pencil_lead's 3D vTuber Model Tutorial on YouTube.

NOTE: While many current vTubers lean towards an "Anime look" reflecting idol culture, it's essential to remember this technology isn't confined to any single style. My vTuber model embraces this type of aesthetic, but the creative possibilities are vast.

Whether you're inspired by high fantasy, comic books, or any other genre, your vTuber can reflect any style you imagine. The community is incredibly diverse, with creators exploring a wide range of themes and content types. Your unique vision is welcome and encouraged.

Where to Buy vTuber Models

Now we have an idea on what vTuber’s are and the styles available, the next obvious question is “Where to get a vTuber Model?”

You could learn the deeper aspects of creating a vTuber model yourself by searching the internet for tutorials, or, if you’re a bit time poor, you could just commission an artist, like I did.

Fiverr logo
upwork logo

When it comes to finding a suitable artist to create your vTuber model, I would highly recommend heading to Fiverr or Upwork as they have an array of freelance talent available and you can choose an artist based on their ratings and portfolio.

fiverr rating or vtuber model artist
vtuber model portfolio

Choosing an Artist For Your vTuber Model

Fiverr & Upwork also facilitate a messenger service that allows you to communicate with the artist prior to making a deal, so you can ensure they get your vision, have the skills needed for the type of vTuber model you want and are a good match for you to work with.

The vTuber artist I chose, Prushka, was friendly, prompt, skillful in 2D vTuber model creation and had a top rating on Fiverr. All of these characteristics were must haves for me before agreeing to anything.

NOTE: While commissioning an artist will save you time, it still requires attention to detail and commitment on your end as communicating with the artist is an integral part of bringing your ideal vTuber model to life.

Conceptualising Your vTuber Model

As far as conceptualising your vTuber model goes, the amount of detail you want to delve into before consulting with your artist is really up to you. I went all out for mine as I really wanted to ensure my character was 100% unique and something I could connect with.

In the initial stages of concepting my vTuber model, I used a mobile app called Reality, Which enabled me to create a basic look and colour scheme for my character and from there, I used generative AI tools like Lensa.ai to further develop the look I wanted.

Initial vtuber model concept using REALITY

Phase 1: Reality App

vtuber model concept with Lensa ai

Phase 2: Lensa AI

vtuber model final concept

Phase 3: Custom Artwork

I also found tools like Midjourney incredibly useful for conceptualising my character's surroundings, like where he lived, what his apartment looked like, places he would hangout. The whole shebang.

meta junkie city concept art
Meta Junkie's Apartment
meta junkie's hangout

Once I had a really good visual concept going on, I was pretty much able to write a whole character description to go with the visual in order to help my artist understand who my character was.

vtuber model character description

I also found having a Pinterest board with all my vTuber model concepts handy, as it helped me keep all my ideas in one spot.

Ultimately, the success of your vTuber model hinges on your ability to clearly articulate your vision to the artist. You must be mindful that they are not mind readers. They know their craft well but cannot deliver something you want unless you are both in sync with the vision.

If you find all the conceptual stuff is a bit overwhelming, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you when I can with some pointers on getting started.

Revisions on Your vTuber Model

When you’re working with your artist, don’t be afraid to tell them you’re not happy with something on the model. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small detail about eyes, or if the shade of purple they’ve used is slightly off, tell them.

As mentioned before, they cannot read your mind and if they are a freelancer, they likely have many jobs on the go at once, so being polite and upfront will ensure a good outcome for both parties.

With the creation process of my model, I had several revisions for my artist from things like the arms being a bit too chunky, the legs a tad too long and even the way the ears bobbled in the rigging phase was a point of revision. It’s not going to be perfect from the get go.

giving artist feed back on the initial vtuber model concept
Working back and forth with the artist is part of the gig and if anyone should understand this, it would be the artist. You’ll find most gigs on Fiverr have a revision limit, so be mindful of this before selecting your artist and ensure that you communicate your revisions well to ensure your vTuber model turns out the way you want.

Rigging a vTuber Model

During the final stages of creating your vTuber model, regardless of whether you went for a 2D or 3D model, your artist will execute a critical process called 'rigging'. You can think of rigging like setting up a puppet. Just as strings control a marionette's limbs, digital 'strings' in the form of coded commands are set up within your model's file.

These commands tell the vTuber software you're using how the model should move and react based on various inputs. These inputs can range from keyboard commands to facial expressions picked up by your webcam, allowing your vTuber to interact and emote in a lifelike manner.

For 2D models, rigging often involves mapping these motions to various layers, creating the illusion of movement and depth.

Laughing = ⬅️

vtuber model facial expression worried
Worried = ⬆️

vtuber model facial expression angry
Angry = ➡️

vtuber model facial expression surprised
Surprised = ⬇️

For 3D models, rigging is a bit more complex, involving a digital skeleton that moves within the 3D space. This process can be further enhanced with motion capture technology, making movements and expressions even more nuanced and realistic.

3D vtuber model rigging skeleton
Image Credit: streamskins.net

Rigging your vTuber model is normally offered as part of the service when you commission an artist and will be listed in their package deals. However, It's crucial to confirm this before you commit financially because the last thing you want is a pretty model that doesn't move.

NOTE: When discussing the topic of rigging your model with the artist, make sure you clarify what parts of the model will be rigged. My model only has face rigging programmed into it. This means the only parts of the model that can be tracked and animated are the head and facial features.

Face tracking alone was sufficient for the scope of my project but depending on the type of content you eventually want to be creating, more extensive rigging for your model might be beneficial.

vTuber Software Options

Once you’ve worked with your artist to get your vTuber model right and all the rigging is done, you’re ready to start looking at vTuber software to use and the good news is, most of them are FREE!

For vTubers wanting to do a mix of live streams and normal YouTube videos, you’ll need:

  1. a program that supports face and body tracking.
  2. a video editing program.
  3. a live broadcasting program.

If you’re just wanting to make regular pre-filmed YouTube content, then you’ll be fine with just 1 and 2.

The vTuber software I use personally are:

    steam logo with vtube studio logo (1)

    Steam/vTube Studio
    For face tracking.

    Final Cut Pro X Logo No Text

    Final Cut Pro x
    For video editing.

    obs logo

    OBS Studio
    For live broadcasting.

    Although I don’t do live streams with my vTuber model, I thought it was important for me to have a play with a live broadcasting software anyway so I at least know how it all works and I would highly recommend the same for you.

    Out of all these programs I use to operate my vTuber model, the one that took me a bit to get used to was the Steam platform as I’m a) not a typical gamer nor had I ever played with tracking technology like this before. But like everything, after a certain amount of time spent, you start to get the hang of it

    NOTE: The software I use is based on preference. There are multiple other options out there, however I found these 3 to be the most simple and straightforward to operate, especially as a Mac user.

    I also think Steam is really neat as it supports both 2D and 3D vtubing like apps like vTube Studio & VRoid Studio and is compatible with most broadcasting softwares.

    Making YouTube Videos With Your vTuber Model

    When making pre-filmed YouTube content with my vTuber model, I typically record all my content using VTube studio and the Quicktime screen recording function.
    quicktime player vtuber edit

    This may seem counterintuitive, as broadcasting software like OBS have recording capabilities already built in, however, I find there can sometimes be a lag between VTube studio and OBS that causes a lip sync delay between my vTuber models mouth movements compared with the audio.

    When I record using Quicktime’s screen recording function, the audio syncs up much better and my model only needs to operate through 1 software.

    I also find filming my avatar with a green background works better in post production as I'm able to use a keying effect in Final Cut Pro that allows me to place my model in different positions with different backgrounds throughout my edits.

    fcp background green
    fcp background removed
    fcp background placed

    vTuber Models in Review

    And that brings us to the end of the vTuber Model Quickstart Guide. Hopefully it’s been a good introduction for you into the world of vTubing.

    It's obvious there's quite a bit involved, but trust me, once you dive in and get started, I’m sure you'll find it's not only fun but also a gateway to some really cool technology.

    vtuber model examples

    If you have any questions or need a bit of guidance, leave a comment below and if you found this guide helpful, please share it with others who might also be considering stepping into the vTubing world.

    Thank you for reading and here's to all the amazing content you’re about to make with your vTuber model.

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