How to Become a Vtuber: The Only Guide You Need

Imagine this: you’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through your social media feeds, and a fascinating video catches your eye.

It’s a Vtuber—an animated character driven by a real person, captivating thousands of viewers with their charm, wit, and unique personality.

A surge of inspiration hits you: “Why not me? How do I become a Vtuber?”

Well, my friends, you’ve come to the right place.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll break down the Vtubing world and share valuable insights from industry insiders, empowering you to join the ranks of Vtubing superstars like Kizuna AI and Gawr Gura.

And the best part? You won’t need to sell your soul or your grandma’s secret recipe to get started.

But first, let’s put this phenomenon into perspective. Vtubing has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, with the industry valued at a staggering $600 million in 2021.

What started as a niche corner of the internet has now become a global sensation, making it an exciting time to dive in and make your mark.

So, buckle up, grab your favorite caffeinated beverage, and prepare for a whirlwind journey into the world of Vtubing.

Let’s transform you from a Vtuber novice to a virtual sensation, one carefully crafted step at a time.

But What Is a Vtuber Exactly?

Before we embark on our Vtuber-creating odyssey, let’s demystify the term itself.

Vtuber, or Virtual YouTuber, is a delightful blend of digital avatar and real-life content creator that’s taken the internet by storm.

Think of them as your friendly neighborhood superheroes: Behind every animated persona, there’s an everyday person wielding their creative powers.

Vtubers come in all shapes and sizes, from adorable anthropomorphic animals to otherworldly beings—and everything in between. The possibilities are as vast as your imagination.

But what sets Vtubers apart from your average YouTuber is their use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to bring their characters to life.

With the help of motion-capture software and a sprinkle of tech magic, Vtubers charm audiences with interactive and immersive experiences.

The rise of Vtubers can be traced back to 2016 when Kizuna AI burst onto the scene, capturing the hearts of millions.

Since then, the Vtuber community has expanded exponentially, with over 47,000 active Vtubers entertaining viewers worldwide in 2023.

It’s no wonder that Vtubing has become a lucrative career for many, with top Vtubers raking in millions of dollars annually.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Vtuber?

As with any creative endeavor, the cost of becoming a Vtuber can vary significantly depending on your ambitions, technical know-how, and willingness to invest in your virtual persona.

No worries, though; there’s a Vtuber setup for every budget!

1. DIY on a shoestring budget

For those who want to dip their toes into the Vtuber world without breaking the bank, free and low-cost options are available.

Programs like VRoid Studio allow you to create your own 3D model from scratch, while free software like Wakaru can handle basic motion capture using only a webcam.

Remember that going the DIY route may require more time and effort, but it’s a fantastic way to test the waters and learn the ropes.

2. Investing in your virtual identity

If you’re ready to take your Vtuber game to the next level, investing in custom artwork, professional 3D modeling, and advanced motion-capture hardware can set you apart from the competition.

Custom character design can range from $50 to $1,000 or more, depending on the complexity and artist’s expertise.

Additionally, consider investing in a high-quality microphone for clear audio and a VR headset for a more immersive experience.

Lastly, upgrading to advanced motion-capture software like Luppet or FaceRig can enhance the fluidity and realism of your character’s movements, making your streams more engaging and entertaining.

3. Going all-in

If you’re determined to become a top-tier Vtuber, you’ll need to pull out all the stops.

This may include commissioning a professionally designed Live2D avatar, investing in full-body tracking systems for seamless motion capture, and even building a dedicated streaming setup complete with high-quality lighting, green screens, and state-of-the-art cameras.

The sky’s the limit, but remember that this level of investment can quickly climb into the thousands of dollars.

But as you venture into the world of Vtubing, remember that success isn’t solely—or even mostly—determined by the amount of money you invest—your creativity, passion, and ability to connect with your audience will truly set you apart.

1. Crafting Your Unique Vtuber Persona

You’re eager to dive into the Vtuber universe, but where do you begin?

The first and arguably most crucial step is to create your one-of-a-kind Vtuber persona. After all, it’s your virtual alter-ego that will captivate audiences and set you apart from the sea of digital avatars.

1. Find your niche

Before you start sketching out character designs or daydreaming about virtual worlds, it’s essential to identify your niche.

Are you a passionate gamer eager to share your skills and stream on Twitch? Perhaps you’re a talented musician ready to serenade the virtual masses?

Or maybe you’re a charismatic storyteller itching to regale audiences with your tales?

Whatever your calling, pinpointing your niche will not only guide your content creation but also help you connect with like-minded viewers.

Real-life example: Gawr Gura has found immense success in the Vtuber world by focusing on gaming and singing, attracting a large following with her energetic personality and distinct shark-themed character design.

2. Develop your character’s backstory

Now that you’ve found your niche, it’s time to let your imagination run wild and craft your character’s backstory.

Remember, your Vtuber persona is an extension of you, so consider incorporating aspects of your personality, interests, and experiences into their story.

A well-developed, relatable backstory can make your character more engaging and memorable for your audience.

Real-life example: Kizuna AI, often considered the first Vtuber, has an intriguing backstory as an intelligent AI that aims to connect with humans and learn from them.

This unique premise has helped her amass a dedicated fanbase and remain a prominent figure in the Vtuber community.

3. Design your avatar

With your niche and backstory, you’re ready to bring your Vtuber persona to life visually. 

Whether you’re a talented artist or prefer to commission a professional, consider how your character’s appearance can reflect their personality, interests, and background.

Keep in mind that your avatar should be eye-catching yet functional, as complex designs can be more challenging to animate.

Real-life example: Calliope Mori, a Vtuber from the Hololive English group, has an intricate character design inspired by her persona as the Reaper’s apprentice.

Her unique look, which includes a stylized scythe and flowing cloak, perfectly complements her dark and mysterious vibe.

4. Set the tone

Last but certainly not least, think about the tone and style of your content.

Will you entertain viewers with your witty banter and sarcastic humor? Or do you prefer to inspire and uplift with your positivity and warmth?

Establishing a consistent tone will help you build a loyal fanbase and create a recognizable brand for your Vtuber persona.

Real-life example: Nyanners, known for her quirky humor and endearing voice, has cultivated a loyal following by consistently providing entertaining content that showcases her distinct personality.

Her playful tone and style have become her trademark, making her stand out in the Vtuber world.

2. Designing Your Avatar

So, you’ve got a fantastic Vtuber persona ready to win hearts, but there’s still one crucial decision left: the great 2D vs. 3D avatar dilemma.

In this battle of visual styles, you’ll need to pick a side and let your creative juices flow.

Fear not! We’re here to help you navigate this pixelated conundrum with a touch of wit, a sprinkle of real-life examples, and a healthy dose of fun.

1. The Alluring World of 2D Avatars

Ah, the charm of 2D avatars. They’re like your favorite Saturday morning cartoons but with a modern, interactive twist.

These flat, yet oh-so-expressive avatars have won over the hearts of many Vtubers and their fans alike.

Tools and resources

Whip out your digital drawing board, and let the magic happen with illustration software like Adobe Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint.

Once your masterpiece is complete, bring it to life with Live2D Cubism and watch your character dance across the screen.

Real-life example: Take a peek at Ironmouse, a Vtuber whose 2D avatar is as vibrant and entertaining as her personality.

She’ll make you wonder why anyone ever bothered with that extra dimension.

2. Venturing into the 3D Avatar Dimension

Are you ready to push the boundaries of reality and dive into the immersive world of 3D avatars?

These virtual beings offer a dynamic, interactive experience that will leave your audience gasping for more.

Tools and resources

For the aspiring 3D maestro, programs like Blender, Maya, or VRoid Studio are your canvas. 

After crafting your 3D wonder, let Unity or Unreal Engine be the puppet masters that animate your creation.

Real-life example: Enter the realm of CodeMiko, a Vtuber revolutionizing the 3D avatar game.

Her cutting-edge character design and mind-blowing interactivity will make you question your own reality.

The Moment of Truth: 2D or 3D?

The choice between 2D and 3D avatars is as personal as your favorite pizza toppings (pineapple, anyone?).

Ultimately, it all boils down to your individual style, technical prowess, and the experience you want to deliver.

Whichever dimension you choose to inhabit, make sure your avatar captures the essence of your Vtuber persona and dazzles your audience.

With your visually stunning avatar ready for action, you’re one step closer to conquering the Vtuber universe.

3. The Art of Animation and Streaming

You’ve got a fabulous Vtuber persona and a stunning avatar that’s the envy of the virtual world. 

But how do you bring your digital doppelganger to life and share your antics with the masses? 

We’re about to embark on an in-depth journey into the wondrous realms of motion capture and streaming software. Buckle up, and let the fun begin!

1. Motion Capture Mastery

Motion capture technology is the not-so-secret ingredient that transforms your static avatar into a dynamic, expressive virtual being.

By capturing your real-life movements and applying them to your avatar, you can create an interactive experience that will leave your audience spellbound.

A. Budget-friendly Motion Capture Solutions

If you’re just starting out or working with a tight budget, fret not. There are wallet-friendly options that can still yield impressive results:

  • FaceRig: Animaze is a popular and accessible software that uses your webcam to track your facial movements, allowing your avatar to mimic your expressions in real-time. While it may not offer the same level of precision as high-end systems, it’s a great entry point for aspiring Vtubers.
  • Luppet: Luppet is another budget-friendly option tracking both facial expressions and hand movements using a webcam and Leap Motion Controller. This combination allows for more interactive streams and greater expressiveness.

Real-life example: Pokimane used FaceRig to bring her charming 2D avatar to life, proving that even affordable solutions can create engaging content.

B. High-end Motion Capture Solutions

For those who crave the ultimate in precision and realism, there are high-end motion capture systems that can elevate your Vtuber performance to new heights:

  • Xsens: Xsens offers professional-grade motion capture systems used by film studios and game developers. While it may be overkill for most Vtubers, if you’re looking to create truly immersive experiences, Xsens is worth considering.
  • Perception Neuron: Perception Neuron is a more accessible professional motion capture system that uses wearable sensors to track your movements with incredible accuracy. This solution offers a fantastic balance of quality and affordability for serious Vtubers.

2. Streaming Software Showdown

Now that your avatar can move and groove with the best of them, it’s time to share your virtual escapades with the world.

Choosing the right streaming software can make all the difference, so let’s explore some of the top contenders.

A. OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a fan-favorite, open-source broadcasting software offering robust features without breaking the bank.

With customizable scenes, overlays, and plugins, you can create a unique and professional streaming experience that reflects your Vtuber persona

B. Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS builds on the solid foundation of OBS Studio by integrating Streamlabs’ popular suite of tools and features.

This one-stop-shop for streamers offers a more user-friendly interface, making it perfect for beginners who want a smooth streaming experience.

C. XSplit Broadcaster

XSplit Broadcaster is another popular choice, particularly among gamers. It boasts a sleek interface and a host of advanced features that make broadcasting your Vtuber persona a breeze.

While it offers a free version, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription to unlock its full potential.

Real-life example: Korone Inugami, a beloved Vtuber from the Hololive group, uses OBS Studio to stream her gaming sessions and engage with her fans.

Her seamless streaming setup lets her focus on entertaining her audience with her infectious energy and hilarious commentary.

3. Essential Tips and Tricks for Motion Capture and Streaming Success

Now that you’re armed with the right tools, it’s time to fine-tune your performance and make your mark on the Vtuber scene. Here are some essential tips to help you put your best virtual foot forward:

  • Practice makes perfect: Spend time getting to know your motion capture and streaming software. The more familiar you are with the tools, the more seamless and professional your Vtuber streams will appear.
  • Customize your streaming setup: Take advantage of the features offered by your streaming software to create a unique and engaging experience for your viewers. Experiment with overlays, custom animations, and chat integrations to make your Vtuber streams truly memorable.
  • Plan your content: Just like with any other content creation endeavor, planning is key. Develop a content schedule, brainstorm engaging topics and activities, and ensure that you have the necessary resources and technical setup to execute your ideas flawlessly.
  • Engage with your audience: The beauty of Vtubing lies in its interactive nature. Make an effort to connect with your viewers, respond to their comments, and incorporate their feedback into your content. Building a strong community around your Vtuber persona is essential for long-term success.

With your motion capture and streaming software in place, and these essential tips in mind, you’re ready to share your Vtuber magic with the world.

Embrace the learning curve, stay true to your persona, and watch as your virtual fanbase flourishes. The Vtuber universe is yours for the taking—go forth and conquer, one virtual stream at a time!

4. Networking and Marketing

You’ve got the moves, the tech, and the on-screen charm. But even the most dazzling Vtuber can’t conquer the internet alone.

It’s time to turn on the charm, flex those social muscles, and waltz your way through the digital landscape of networking and marketing.

After all, what’s a Vtuber without their adoring fans?

1. The Art of Collaboration: Making Virtual Friends and Influencing People

In the Vtuber world, collaboration is the secret handshake that unlocks the doors to success

By teaming up with fellow Vtubers, you can tap into new audiences, share the spotlight, and create unforgettable virtual experiences.

It’s like a digital potluck—everyone brings something to the table, and everyone goes home happy.

A. Reach out to fellow Vtubers

Slide into the DMs of your favorite Vtubers (politely, of course) and propose a collaboration. 

The possibilities for joint content are endless, from gaming sessions to karaoke nights. 

Just remember to be genuine, open-minded, and respectful of your fellow virtual creators.

B. Join Vtuber communities

Immerse yourself in the bustling world of Vtuber communities like r/VirtualYoutubers or Hololive.

These digital watering holes are the perfect place to meet like-minded creators, share tips and tricks, and spark collaborative magic.

Real-life example: Kizuna AI and Mirai Akari joined forces for a collaborative gaming session that delighted their fans and showcased their unique Vtuber personalities.

2. Mastering the Art of Vtuber Marketing: It’s Showtime!

The virtual show must go on, and it’s your job to make sure the whole world knows about it

Using digital marketing, you can reach a wider audience, grow your fanbase, and become a virtual star.

A. Build a strong social media presence: In the age of digital omnipresence, social media is the virtual billboard that advertises your Vtuber persona. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are your stage, your canvas, and your megaphone – use them wisely.

B. Engage with your fans: Treat your fans like the VIPs they are. Respond to their comments, ask for their input, and create content that speaks to their interests. A happy fan is a loyal fan, and loyalty is the foundation of any successful Vtuber empire.

C. Leverage analytics: Knowledge is power; in Vtuber marketing, data is your oracle. Use streaming analytics and social media insights to refine your content strategy, pinpoint your target audience, and keep your finger on the pulse of your virtual fanbase.

Strutting Your Stuff in the Vtuber Universe

With your networking and marketing skills on point, you’re ready to take the Vtuber world by storm.

Remember to be genuine, open to collaboration, and attentive to your fans’ needs. Your virtual community is the lifeblood of your Vtuber persona—cherish it, nurture it, and watch it flourish.

As you navigate the colorful landscape of Vtuber networking and marketing, you’ll encounter challenges and triumphs alike.

Embrace the journey, learn from your experiences, and never lose sight of the passion that inspired you to become a Vtuber in the first place.

In the immortal words of the late, great Freddie Mercury, “The show must go on!” And with your newfound networking and marketing prowess, your Vtuber show will be a blockbuster hit that captivates audiences far and wide.

So, go forth and conquer the digital realm, one virtual friendship, and a well-executed marketing campaign at a time.

The Vtuber universe awaits—and it’s never been more ready for your grand entrance!

It’s Your Time to Shine!

As you stand at the threshold of the Vtuber universe, remember that you are the protagonist of your very own anime story.

You’ve embarked on this epic quest armed with the tools, knowledge, and determination to make your mark on the digital landscape.

It’s time to channel your inner Naruto and believe in the Vtuber you’re destined to become.

Like Goku powering up to Super Saiyan, you’ve unlocked the secrets of Vtuber creation, mastered the art of motion capture and streaming, and honed your networking and marketing skills.

Now, it’s time to let your virtual light shine, as bright as Sailor Moon’s tiara.

Your Vtuber journey will be filled with twists and turns, much like the adventures of Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece.

But with perseverance, creativity, and a healthy dose of virtual pizzazz, you’ll conquer the challenges and achieve Vtuber greatness.

As you set forth on your virtual voyage, remember the wise words of All Might from My Hero Academia: “You can become a hero!” And in the Vtuber universe, there’s no limit to the heights you can reach.

So, spread your virtual wings and take flight, like Spirited Away’s Chihiro on the back of Haku. 

The Vtuber world is your playground, and it’s time for you to dazzle, delight, and captivate your audience.

Ready, set, Vtuber! The stage is yours, and the curtain has risen. So go forth and unleash your digital magic on the world. “Plus Ultra!”

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