How far beyond human imagination has progress gone? Not long ago, virtual characters like Gorillaz, Hatsune Miku, or Crazy Frog sent shockwaves worldwide and were thought to be something exceptional. So in a sense, they were Vtubers' progenitors, who walked so that the whole new wave of influencers could run and almost swarm on streaming platforms.
It was cool to be recognizable on the Internet in days gone by. But now comes the era of semi-anonymity, which is the obvious consequence of fatigue from self-obsession. So while some constantly search for new ways to be relatable, others find a radically different solution in the renunciation of reality with the help of the Vtuber form!
What is a VTuber?
Vtuber, which stands for Virtual Youtuber, is the same entertaining content creator as the ones we are all used to, but instead of a real person, it can be anyone: anime character, realistic 3D model, or anything you can image, all thanks to computer graphics and motion capture. Despite the name that connects them with YouTube, Vtubers often settle on any streaming platform you can think of, including globally popular Twitch and TikTok and locally successful Niconico and BiliBili.
Usually looking like another effortlessly charming anime character, they are often associated with Japanese culture and aesthetics for a good reason. Vtuber as a concept was first noticed in mid-2010s Japan when people had just discovered that using digital avatars on the Internet is thrilling. The trend has been rapidly growing worldwide since 2020 and doesn't seem to stop, so now we have a range of Vtubers for almost every niche. Some of them have well-thought backstories, which become one of the qualities to help create the bond between the creator and the audience. Despite that, it's not a constant, and others use the technology just for fun without building any crystal castles about their past.
What Do You Do as a VTuber?
Virtual avatar gives a VTuber an additional way to be creative, but it's beneficial to have a notion of the subject of a channel. The range of activities is up to each individual creator, including participating in challenges, playing games, simply dancing, singing, collaborating with other streamers, and much more.
If you're looking forward to trying luck in this niche, there are few relatively easy steps you can follow.
What You Need to Get Started
Step 1: Define your goals and find inspiration
Despite the lower level of competition compared to regular beginner YouTubers, it's essential to understand what you want to do on your channel and set up first goals to keep yourself motivated at the very beginning. Consider your avatar as a personal brand, and keep this in mind when choosing the future channel's concept, style, and blueprint.
Learning from others' success can also be useful because such examples inspire and give you references for ideas and possible growth paths.
Step 2: Set up your studio
If you have serious motivation to pursue a VTuber career, investing in a powerful gaming PC, a decent camera, a microphone, a green screen, and a motion capture suite (Such as LeapMotion, XSens motion capture suite and so on) is a good idea. Of course, you can still manage stuff using what's affordable and available right now, especially at the start, but the gaming and streaming experience becomes immensely better with powerful hardware.
With a high-level gaming PC, chances that you would struggle with glitches during streaming are minimal, even though the load on a computer can be pretty high. A microphone is necessary to confer the best version of your voice to your character – clear, without background noise, and with voice-transforming settings, if needed. Last but not least, you should consider purchasing a green screen to create virtual backgrounds or add special effects, thus exceeding the streaming quality.
Someday increasing your equipment level will help you gain attractive and exciting partnerships but take your time and remember that spending your entire budget on contrived studio gear at once doesn't guarantee success!
Step 3: Create and animate an avatar
Producing the virtual avatar must be one of the most important and amusing parts of your way to the character's birth, and there're several ways to get it done. If you want to do it yourself, choose between 2D and 3D options immediately because these avatar kinds vary widely in the design process. This decision should be rational because 2D is much easier to make, but 3D models are more expressive and engaging. Almost everyone in the industry has heard about VTuber Studio, Wakaru, Luppet, and Facerig, so you can choose what works best for you.
To make a 2D avatar entirely from scratch, you need drawing software. Popular programs include Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, PaintToolSAI, Drawpile, and Firealpaca. To make a 3D character, you'll need 3DS Max, Autodesk Maya, Blender, or other 3D modeling software. The first two have free trials, while Blender is free and sufficiently powerful. To breathe life into your character, animate it with Motion Capture via special Vtuber software like Vtuber Studio, Live3D, and so on.
If you're not quite skillful in design, there's no shame – you can hire an artist and get your unique character. Explain the idea behind your avatar's concept thoroughly, share some sketches, and you'll guarantee yourself the highest quality outcome! Besides, you can buy a ready-made model from sites like Booth.pm or Etsy. Your model won't be unique because other people who bought it can also use it, but it's a relatively cheap option for beginners, and you can always customize it a bit to your taste.
Step 4: Last preparations
Once you finish the avatar's preparation, the rest of the work is the same as for regular content creators. Choose a preferable platform and create an account to set up your channel between YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook Live, and further on the list.
Choose the streaming software with the same level of attention. OBS Studio and Streamlabs are at the top of the competition list, and you should initially weigh their pros and cons. Still, dozen strong alternatives like XSplit, Twitch Studio, and Shadowplay deserve your attention as well!
Step 5: Create content!
Finally, it's time to make videos! Feel free to experiment, use a content calendar to keep yourself busy, and wait for the first results! Practice makes perfect, so even if the first attempt isn't successful, it doesn't mean you need to give up. Instead, take your time, have fun, and regard your future career prospects.
Wrapping it up
Vtubers have already unlocked the possibility of erasing the border between reality and fantasy, giving every creator a chance to create content, not being tied to their appearance. Would the era of the celebrities' physical shell soon be coming to an end? There's no definite answer, but you should immediately start digging in the direction of the Vtuber phenomenon to jump on that train in case you want to become one of them!