How To V-Tube: Creating an Avatar, Character Development, and Content Publishing
Ever since the dawn of self-publishing video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo or Instagram many kinds of internet personalities have taken shape. Today, we have all sorts of influencer, streamer, and content creator accounts dominating social media sites; most of which are focused around real-life human personalities. Fairly recently, we’ve seen the emergence of ‘V-Tubers’ as a trend that continues to grow.. V-Tubers are a group of content creators who have strayed from the traditional path of creating an internet personality and taken a more digital route. By combining art and technology, creators are turning themselves into virtual characters and using them to reach many types of audiences. Though these virtual characters are manipulated by the physical bodies and faces of real-life. creators, the technology behind V-Tubing opens the door for new virtual possibilities.
So You Want To Get Into V-Tubing
There are a few different ways creators can transpose their physical being into the virtual world. The first step is to choose whether you want your virtual character to be 2D or 3D. Those who choose to go with a 2D character may want to check out softwares like Live2D and FaceRig. The appeal of 2D characters is that they look the most like traditional anime characters (which is what has inspired this rise in V-Tubers) but lack the range of motion that can be captured with a 3D character.
If you’re looking to for a 3D avatar, you’ll have to create a model of your character that can be stored on computer files and then uploaded to motion capturing softwares. If you don’t know how to build 3D models and characters, you can start by commissioning a designer to build your character for you. If you do have some experience or want to take on the challenge, you can create one yourself for free by using a software like VRoid Studio.
Once your character is built to your desired specifications and looks, you can upload your character to programs like 3tene. 3tene can be found on Steam and uses motion capturing from a regular webcam to move your 3D avatar. Luppet is an even more advance motion capturing software that can also uses a webcam but has the ability to attach LeapMotion, a device that captures the movement of hands to give your 3D character moveable fingers.
Below is a video from V-Tuber, Argama Witch. In this video they explain the basic steps needed to start creating your virtual character.
The appeal of creating a 2D or 3D virtual persona is the sense of individuality it brings to content creators. Since your character is digital, the customization possibilities are practically endless. As mentioned above, VRoid Studio is a free software that gives you the ability to create custom 3D characters and allows for extensive feature customization. You can adjust facial features like eye shape and size, mouth shape, and even create custom hairstyles. Some of the most interesting aspects of VRoid Studio are the simple tools you can use to quickly and accurately adjust these features. For example, if you want to your character to have thicker eyebrows you can simple add more texture by using a drawing tool and drawing directly onto your 3D model. There are also basic sliders that appear when working on a specific feature that let you play around with different proportions until you find one that is right for you. Creating hair for your model can also fun and quick. VRoid Studio lets you create individual strands of hair, allowing you to adjust width, sheen, and direction, giving you complete control of your models hairstyle.
This video below from Love2DrawManga takes you through their process of turning one of their original 2D characters into a 3D model using VRoid Studio. They take you through every step from defining and customizing facial features all the way to styling hair and apparel.
If you think V-Tubing might be for you, there’s never been a better time to start. There are so many free and inexpensive ways to bring your character to life. Creating a character can be fun and easy as well as an interesting way to share your content and to keep your audience engaged. The V-Tube community has grown significantly in the past few years so if you’re looking for some ideas or inspiration to get started, you may only be a simple YouTube search away from finding what you’re looking for.
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