So you’re ready to enter the universe of Virtual YouTubing, but you don’t have an avatar yet. What you do know is that you want it to be two-dimensional (2D)
Well, have no fear, my aspiring creator. In this guide, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about creating your own 2D persona.
By the end, you’ll know everything you need to hit the (virtual) ground running (in one of those Naruto-style runs).
Looking for a video explainer? Here’s the most helpful one I’ve found:
Quick clarification: When you see works like “rig” and “animate,” you may think I’ve gotten 2D and 3D confused, but I haven’t—they both require animation.
However, rest assured, they’re vastly distinct. Here’s a great example:
If you can’t tell, the green-haired one is 2D, and the white-haired one is 3D.
First, you need to lay the groundwork by actually drawing your avatar. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an artist—specialized software makes this easy.
1. Choose a Drawing Software
There are a variety of software programs recommended by pros specifically for creating your 2D avatar. Some are more user-friendly than others, but the most important thing is finding one you’re comfortable with.
Here are some of the most popular programs used by 2D VTubers:
- Clip Studio
- PaintTool SAI
- And, of course, Adobe Creative Cloud (specifically Illustrator and Photoshop)
Once you’ve chosen a program, it’s time to get started on your avatar.
2. Sketch Out a Design
The first step is always the hardest, but it’s important to take your time and get the sketch right. After all, this is the foundation that you’ll build your 2D avatar on.
Start by sketching a basic outline of your avatar. Try to make it as unique as possible, while still keeping it simple. Remember, you can always add more details later.
3. Begin Coloring
Now it’s time to start giving your avatar some life with color.
Start by deciding on the overall color scheme you want to use. Do you want your avatar to be bright and colorful? Or maybe you want something a little more subdued—I leave it up to you.
Once you’ve chosen a color scheme, start filling in your avatar.
4. Add the Final Details
Now it’s time to add the finishing touches to your avatar.
Start by adding additional details, like facial features, clothing, and accessories. Then, add a background. This can be anything from a solid color to a complex scene.
Finally, export your avatar as a png or .JPG, and you’re done!
Rigging & Animation
Now it’s time to breathe life into your avatar and make it match your movement when recording.
1. Download a Live2D Trial
The first step is to download a Live2D trial from their website. Live2D software will take your 2D drawings and turn them into 3D models, which you can then rig and animate.
Using software like this may seem intimidating to you, yes, but I promise it’s not that hard—just follow along, and you’ll be okay.
2. Rig Your Avatar
Now it’s time to actually rig your avatar. This essentially means creating a skeleton for your avatar that you can later animate.
Start by setting up the bones in your avatar. Click and drag to create additional bones, and use the tools on the left to manipulate them.
3. Add Animations
Now it’s time to start animating your avatar. VTube software does most of the work for you, but you’ll want some customer animations for particular events (like donations and Twitch Prime subs).
Live2D provides a variety of default animations that you can use, or you can create your own. You can set these animations to occur during
To add an animation, drag and drop it onto your avatar.
You can then use the timeline at the bottom to edit.
Now that you’ve added an animation, you can use the timeline at the bottom to edit when it starts and how long it lasts. You can also add multiple animations and have them play one after the other.
And that’s it! You now have a fully rigged and animated 2D avatar.
Optional: Hire Someone Else to Do It
If you want to save yourself the headache of doing all of this yourself, you can always hire someone else to do it for you.
There are a number of freelancers and services out there that will create a 2D avatar for you, and there’s no shame in taking this route.
In fact, some of the most successful VTubers have had someone else create their avatar for them (probably most of them, if I’m honest).
Now it’s time for the fun part: recording!
1. Download VTube Studio
Download and install VTube Studio from their website or directly on Steam. This is the software that you’ll use to record your videos.
2. Connect Your Webcam
Connect your webcam to your computer and launch VTube Studio.
3. Add Your Avatar
Click the “add” button and select your Live2D avatar file.
4. Start Recording!
Hit the record button and start recording your video. Your avatar will automatically match your movement, and you can even use the software to lip-sync your audio.
And that’s it! You now know everything you need to create your own 2D VTuber avatar.
Just remember to take your time, experiment, and have fun with it. And if you get stuck, there’s no shame in hiring someone else to do it for you.
If you want to learn more about VTubing, be sure to check out my other articles, like this one about how much VTubers can make. Thanks!