Virtual YouTubers, commonly referred to as VTubers, have experienced a surge in popularity over the past few years. VTubers utilize computer-generated avatars to generate content for their channels. Notably, VTubers have garnered substantial favor, particularly in Japan and other Asian countries; however, this phenomenon is gradually gaining traction worldwide.
This article aims to delve into the concept of VTubers, providing insights on how one can embark on this path, encompassing essential equipment, software, and the requisite skills for achieving success in this field. Furthermore, a comparison will be drawn between the role of a VTuber and that of a traditional YouTube content creator, emphasizing the distinct advantages and challenges inherent to each platform.
What is a VTuber?
Virtual YouTubers, known as VTubers, are online entertainers who utilize digital avatars to conceal their real-world appearance. These avatars, resembling anime characters with expressive features, are brought to life through computer graphics and motion capture technology, enabling them to interact with their audience.
VTubers can take on various forms, such as 2D or 3D characters, each with unique personalities. The online content creators provide the voices for these avatars. Some VTubers have intricate and mythical backstories, while others showcase their talents in singing, dancing, and playing video games.
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The VTuber trend originated in Japan during the mid-2010s when individuals started using digital avatars to connect with their audience. Although the trend experienced a lull for some time, it regained momentum in early 2020 and has since evolved into a global phenomenon, featuring virtual celebrities of different nationalities and even computer-generated artificial intelligence capable of performing human-like tasks.
While the term “Virtual YouTuber” implies a presence exclusively on YouTube, these digital personalities can also be found on other platforms such as Twitch, TikTok, Facebook Gaming, Niconico, and Bilibili.
Although the majority of VTubers are Japanese, many of them create content that resonates with English-speaking audiences as well. With a global following of millions of anime and manga enthusiasts, VTubers have an audience that extends beyond Japan.
This phenomenon has also gained popularity in other Asian countries like South Korea, where it has become an integral part of popular culture.
What Do VTubers Do?
Before delving into the technical aspects of VTubers, it’s essential to know that they are not entirely created by AI. VTubers are controlled by humans who use motion capture technology to operate their anime avatars.
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In most cases, motion trackers are employed to record the creators’ movements and recreate specific actions. These actions are then mapped onto an animated character, which is rendered on a background and streamed live.
Both YouTubers and VTubers produce similar content, engaging in various activities like playing games, hosting live broadcasts, taking on challenges, and collaborating with others.
For a VTuber, developing a distinct persona for their brand is crucial. They create original content based on this persona, and selecting the right personality and speaking style to connect with the audience is a primary goal. These factors significantly impact their content and their relationships with fans. The possibilities for VTubers are vast, as they can portray different genders, fictional or real characters.
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The VTuber industry shares similarities with Japan’s Vocaloid idols, who are virtual pop stars known for their computer-generated music and 3D avatars. Many technologies used in Vocaloid have been adopted by the VTuber industry as well.
How to Become a VTuber?
Virtual YouTubers, also known as VTubers, are a growing trend with significant potential. The competition in traditional YouTube channels can be tough to break into, but being a content creator in the form of a VTuber can help you stand out.
VTubers use motion capture technology to control their virtual avatars, which typically resemble anime characters with distinct personalities in 2D or 3D. They produce a wide range of content, from playing games and hosting live broadcasts to participating in challenges and collaborations.
VTubers often have unique personas and create content based on these identities to connect with their audience effectively. This trend is not limited to YouTube alone; VTubers can be found on various platforms such as Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, and others.
To become a VTuber, you need to design your avatar, either by working with an artist or doing it yourself. Animation of the avatar is achieved through motion capture using software like FaceRig, VTuber Studio, Wakaru, or Luppet. A good microphone and a green screen setup enhance the overall quality of VTuber content.
Choosing the right platform for your content, such as YouTube, TikTok, or Twitch, and producing consistent and quality videos are essential steps in building a successful VTuber channel. Many VTubers also keep a content calendar to plan their releases and engage with their audience regularly. Some VTubers even join specialized agencies like Hololive production, which provides training and support for VTuber talents.
VTuber Monetization: How VTubers Make Money?
VTubers’ popularity attracts sponsorship deals, leading to various opportunities for them to earn income. For example, Vtuber Kaguya Luna broke a Guinness World Record in June as part of a publicity stunt to promote a cup noodle. She streamed a live video from an altitude of 30 kilometers above sea level using helium balloons and a camera mounted on her phone.
VTubers like Kizuna Ai, who became Japan’s culture ambassador for the Japan National Tourism Organization, earn income through multiple channels. These sources include viewer donations, merchandise sales, and collaborations for large advertising campaigns.
To generate income, most VTubers rely on a combination of donations, merchandise sales, and sponsorships. They also earn revenue through advertising on their channels and hosting Super Chats or collaborating with other VTubers. These different income streams contribute to their financial success in the virtual content creation industry.
Pros and Cons of Being a VTuber
Unlike regular streaming where viewers see you directly, VTubing allows your motions to be represented by a digital avatar. This technology and the tools needed for VTubing are now more easily accessible than before. Before embarking on the journey to become a virtual YouTuber, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons that may impact your decision.
- Endless possibilities exist on the internet for expressing your creativity.
- Having fun with this project will allow you to learn more about business and management.
- Keeping your identity and privacy protected is your right.
- It is possible to choose or create your own avatar.
- Affiliation with a streaming community that makes sense to streamers with a conscious body image.
- Changing or reincarnating into other characters for enhanced expression and deeper character depth.
- Having a Twitter account is a must for better engagement with your audience.
- The cost of designing your avatar will range from $50 up to hundreds of dollars. The price varies depending on the design you want and the artist’s rate.
- The software and other assets needed for VTuber creation may be pricey, especially for novice VTubers.
VTubers: The Future Of Content Creation?
VTubing bridges the gap between artificial intelligence and reality, offering internet creators a world of limitless opportunities. The concept of fictional characters interacting with real people has been popular for years, seen in various video games and films that utilize motion capture technology. With the increasing accessibility of this technology, VTubers have emerged and gained popularity. As the underlying technology becomes more sophisticated and user-friendly, we can expect to see VTubers and animated influencers continue to gain widespread fame and recognition.