Virtual YouTubers – Comes to 2D Animation

Recently, the Virtual YouTuber industry has risen in popularity. A Virtual YouTubers industry, also called VTubers for short, has recently exploded in popularity and demand. A handful of people dream of making a living off YouTube yet have their concerns of trying to keep anonymity on their channel. As it is possible to become popular on YouTube without showing your face, it becomes exponentially easier when your face is showing as it allows for your expression to aid in show of emotions.

This is where the concept of VTubers come in. A VTuber is defined as “An online entertainer who uses a virtual avatar generated using computer graphics.” – Wikipedia. Through the use of this virtual avatar, users are able to stay anonymous while showing their expressions through real-time motion capture technology. With two different types of VTuber avatar types being either a 2D or 3D model, DET230 – “2D animation for Games and Storytelling” introduced the process of creating a 2D VTuber avatar from scratch into the curriculum for the Spring 2021 term.

Due to the concept of VTubers being taught in a classroom environment being the first time for this class, students within the class were given a choice of either creating an animation or a VTuber model. The process of creating a VTuber model starts from creating a design for your character. This can be done through any Graphic Drawing software that has layers such as Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Krita, etc. Students would have to tinker with several designs till they find a design they like.

After creating the model design, the next process would to be to clean up their design and separate their model into their individual parts with each being on individual layers. This is because VTuber models are animated through deforming the individual parts. For example, the eye can be divided into eyebrows, eyelashes, iris, sclera, and the highlights in the eye. After doing this for each individual part of the model, the next step is to animate the model.

Animating the model is the most time consuming out of the three stages. The current mainstream software used in animating a 2D VTuber model is Live2D. Live2D is able to create meshes for deforming each layer and the deformation of each layer can be stored in different parameters. While custom parameters can be set up, any software for using a Live2D VTuber model has default parameters. Some examples of these are, ParamAngleX, ParamAngleY, and ParamAngleZ for the direction of the face, ParamEyeBallX and ParamEyeBallY for the direction of the eyes. The process of animating a VTuber model requires the person to go through every single parameter and set them up.

Example of the Live2D screen (Text is in Japanese)

My version of a vtuber model can be seen here:

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