How to Make a VTuber Avatar In 3D (Fast & Easy)

You’ve decided to try out Virtual YouTubing, but you’re sorely lacking in the avatar department. All you know is you want a 3D design—not a 2D one.

And if you don’t know, 2D and 3D avatars are quite different. This screenshot from BugBugh on YouTube is a great example:

2d and 3d vtuber avatar compared

Today, we’re learning to create an avatar like the one on the right. By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything to make your three-dimensional introduction to the VTube universe.

First, are you sure 3D is best for you?

If you’re assuming 3D is automatically more awesomer and betterer than 2D—don’t. 3D doesn’t generally earn any more interest than 2D, except perhaps in a couple key areas.

Anyway, you should base your decision on what’s most pragmatic. Unless you want to pay someone else to do it, 2D is much easier to make—especially if you’re coming in with zero experience.

If you’re interested in 2D, check out my guide on creating a 2D VTube avatar.

3d avatar in blender

Credit: Rokoko

That said—and despite what I said earlier—3D is generally better if the technical or financial obstacles aren’t an issue for you. Besides being more expressive, you can repurpose your 3D model however you want (VRChat, for example).

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

How to make a 3D VTuber avatar, step-by-step:

1. Choose a 3D application

There are dozens of 3D software out there, but the leading 3D programs are Autodesk Maya and 3DS Max, both of which are expensive (unless you’re a student—they have great discounts).

In some cases, you can find a free trial. But if you’re a beginner or hobbyist, Blender is an excellent alternative.

blender example

It’s completely free and extremely powerful, often chosen over other programs by pros who can afford more sophisticated options.

2. Create a base mesh

This is where most of the work goes into.

To create your avatar’s base mesh, you’ll need to use either sculpting or box modeling techniques.

Box modeling involves shaping basic shapes (like ellipses or cubes) into the form you want—it’s the faster and easier route. Box modeling is essentially:

  1. Create a base mesh by combining simple shapes.
  2. Add details to the mesh by editing existing shapes or adding new ones.
  3. Refine the mesh by smoothing certain areas and adding edge loops.

Otherwise, sculpting requires that you create the entire mesh with little more than a clay-like set of assets. It takes a long time, but allows you to get very detailed.

box modeling in blender

Credit: WonderHowTo

Quick sculpting overview:

  1. Create the base mesh by sculpting simple shapes.
  2. Add details to the mesh by sculpting with the move, scale, and rotate tools.
  3. Refine the mesh by using masking

In either case, you’ll end up with a base mesh. No clothing, no accessories, just the basic body:

3. Add clothing and accessories

Adding clothing and accessories is the next step. Here you can use a combination of existing assets or models you create yourself.

clothing and accessories on a vtuber avatar

Credit: Blender NPR

If you create your own, you can use the same techniques as before. However, you should also keep in mind the fact that clothing is not necessarily a rigid object.

In other words, you’ll need to create a clothing model that deforms to your avatar’s movements. To do this, you’ll need to learn about weighting and rigging.

4. Animate your avatar

This is where having a solid base mesh helps.

Once you have the mesh, you can use a variety of animation tools—depending on your 3D program—to bring your 3D avatar to life.

If you’re completely new to animation, it’s best to look up online tutorials to get you started since that’s beyond the scope of this article.

They’ll teach you the ropes of keyframing, rigging, and other animation concepts.

5. Export

Congrats, it’s time to start bringing your avatar into the VTuber world.

To do this, you’ll need to export your 3D model from your 3D application (Maya 3DS Max, Blender, etc.) into the appropriate file format. That could be an OBJ file for use with VRChat, or FBX for Mixamo.

6. Download VTube Studio

VTube Studio is an all-in-one VTuber suitable for both complete beginners and professional streamers.

Vtuber studio example

VTube Studio’s a great option for any and all, as it offers pre-made assets (clothing, rigging, and motion capture) that you can use with your own custom 3D models anywhere.

Once you’ve downloaded and registered, you can upload your model and start animating and editing right away. You can also add custom poses and movements if you want more expression.

7. Buy a good webcam

Almost there—you’ll need to purchase a good webcam for live-streaming.

This isn’t an optional step for obvious reasons. You don’t need a fancy one—just one that’s sharp enough to track your movements effectively.

8. Start recording

Now that you have your avatar, your custom 3D model, and your powerful VTube suite, you’re ready to start recording your VTube show.

It’s showtime!

Creating a 3D VTuber avatar is a lot more work than creating a 2D one. But as you can see, it’s perfectly possible with the right software and determination.

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with paying someone to do it for you. 3D modeling is hard work and, being honest, is best left to someone who knows what they’re doing if you don’t.

And that’s it—happy streaming!

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