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How to Make a VTuber Avatar From Scratch – Easy Guide

How to make a vtuber avatar from scratch easy guide article poster

VTubing existed in Japan for quite some years already, but only in the last year, it started to gain more and more popular among western content creators. Are you wondering how to make you personal VTuber avatar? Then this article will try to answer most of your questions and give you a clear understanding of the creation process.

How to Create a VTuber Character

Step 1 – Create your virtual avatar

OPTION A: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRAW

This article will mostly cover 2D type of a virtual avatar. The first step would be to start with your personal character creation. A hassle-free option would be to simply commission a professional artist (you can look on DeviantArt for example). Make sure to communicate for what purposes you need the character, so the artist could prepare the files the right way.

Some of the artists you should check:

Also, there is an app that allows you to create your ready-to-use virtual avatar with a selection of customization options — FaceRig. It's a good option if you'd like to test the grounds, however, your avatar will lack originality and may not work as good as custom made models.

Face rig avatar selection

FaceRig ready-to-use avatar selection

OPTION B: DO IT YOURSELF

If you have drawing skills and have experience working with Photoshop you can draw your own 2D character. Create a Photoshop file with every part of your character on separate layers (check the video below to get a better idea). Export it in PSD format and move on to the next step.

Kira Omori Ch. — How to Make Your Own Vtuber Live2D Model for Beginners Part 1

Step 2 – Add tracking motion and facial expressions

The next thing you have to do is to program your model to move, so it tracks and interprets your facial expressions smoothly. Good news there is a free software for this — Live2D Cubism.

If you commissioned a VTuber avatar artist for your character design chances are they also work with Live2D and some include it in a total price.

For those who have your PSD file with a character design ready — you will need to import your file and go through each part of your avatar to set up the movements. This app has plenty of resources and a manual on how to do this or you can check this video tutorial that explains the process.

Facial exprecions

Live2D Cubism interface

Step 3 – How to make your VTuber avatar appear on a video

The last and probably the easiest step is to make your virtual avatar appear on your videos and streams. After setting all the movements of your avatar in Live2D Cubism, you will need to export and open that file in a face tracking app.

  • FaceRig ($15) — this program allows you to match your virtual avatar with your facial expressions and voice in real-time.
  • Prpr Live (Free) — this program also matches your virtual avatar with your facial expressions and voice in real-time. It does the job great, it's simple to use and it's free.
Facerig life2d cubism tutorial Pixelvertice tutorial

left - FaceRig / Live2D tutorial, right - Prprp Live @pixelvertice on Twitter

Next, you will need to open your broadcasting app. If you are not familiar with streaming and new to all this, OBS is everyone's go-to option since it provides all the essential tools and it's free. Check this great tutorial on how to set up your screen for streaming.

For those who have experience streaming it will be very easy to get. You will just have to add another window with your avatar on top of the main one you stream or record. The below steps are for OBS users.

Spaicy project obs

from Spaicy Project YouTube tutorial

So, open OBS, add another Display Capture in your source panel and chose the one with your virtual avatar (ex. Prpr Live). We are almost there, a couple of small steps left:

  1. Crop the window smaller and place it where you want it on a screen;
  2. Right-click on that window and choose Filter;
  3. Add a filter with + button
  4. Choose Color Key, set to a background color behind your avatar — green by default;
  5. Adjust tolerance if needed;
  6. Now you should have your avatar on a transparent background.

For the detailed process check Spaicy Project tutorial.

Congratulation, you are all set!

Mito tsukino vtuber

Basic Virtual Avatar Set-Up

In this tutorial, we wanted to cover all the basics of how to create your personal virtual avatar, give a general understanding of the entire process and tried to show the cheapest and easiest options. We hope this guide was useful!

BTW, What is a VTuber avatar?

Virtual avatar

VTuber or virtual YouTuber is an online entertainer who streams or creates video content on various platforms. VTubers are real people who use virtual avatars that track their movements and facial expressions in real-time. These avatars are usually 2D or 3D models and mostly known to look like anime girls.

Great moon aroma vtuber thumbnail

VTuber Great Moon Aroma

Types of virtual avatars

There are two VTuber types — 2D and 3D. For example, one of the most popular VTubers are Projekt Melody or Kizuna Ai is a good example of 3D virtual streamers. The 3D avatars can look very smooth and realistic and can track facial expressions or body parts very precise, however, it is the rather complicated (and pricy) type to make.

Projekt melody Kizuna ai

left - Projekt Melody, right - Kizuna AI

On the other hand, there is a 2D character type that has less facial expressions and movements, but it's a great option to start with. It can deliver almost as much as the 3D one, but it's easier to make and less expensive.

2d virtual model live2d cubism

Source: FaceRig YouTube video

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