(Thank you to Penelope the Orc, AKA Porcbuns, for helping write this article)
By now, you’ve surely noticed the massive amount of 3D and 2D animated streamers all over Twitch and YouTube.
You’ve also probably noticed how much more popular they’ve become in the past few years. You may have even thought, “Man, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’d love to learn more!”
Well, you’re in luck because we’ll give you the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide on How to Be a Vtuber.
How Does VTubing Work?
You may have read some of our other guides on Vtubing, and if not, you should definitely check them out!
But to quickly summarize, Vtubing uses a virtual avatar to represent a streamer’s persona.
The Vtuber model can be a 3D or 2D model synced up to the streamer’s movements or a reactive PNG or GIF that pantomimes speaking based on audio input.
We have a more in-depth guide on what a Vtuber is here for further interest.
How to Start and Become a Vtuber
Before you begin, let’s review the basic equipment and software you’ll need to get started.
1. Equipment You’ll Need
If your model will sync up with your face and body, you’ll need a camera that can track you. If you aren’t using a mobile app for your Vtuber, you’ll need a webcam or a DSLR camera.
A good option for vtubing webcams is the Logitech C922x. If you’re using a mobile app like Reality or Vtube Studio’s Mobile version, you’ll be able to use your smartphone as the camera for your avatar. (What do you mean everyone’s using a flip phone again?)
Because you’ll be using additional software as a Vtuber, you’ll want to ensure your computer is powerful and reliable enough to handle a sustained load for several hours. A powerful GPU and multi-threaded CPU with plenty of headroom for demanding games are a must-have.
Even though your face won’t be on the screen, you still need to ensure high-quality lighting so your webcam can effectively track your facial features when mimicking your movements for your model.
Fast Internet Connection
There’s nothing worse than a stream tanking thanks to a bad internet connection. One minute the gameplay is frantic, chat’s popping off, and you’ve got tons of clips rolling in. Then next? Dead stream thanks to shoddy internet.
Ensure your internet connection is strong (preferably using ethernet) and you’ve got plenty of bandwidth to upload your stream data. (Pro tip: Check your DNS settings.)
Vtubing is as much about your voice as it is about your model – if your microphone or headset is kind of crappy, it can create a disconnect with your audience. Whether you use a USB microphone, XLR setup, or headset microphone, check reviews, listen to audio samples, and do your research.
2. Choosing Software
Before choosing Vtuber software, think about what you want your streams to look like. Envision yourself.
Are you a fully rigged 2D model like ironmouse? Perhaps you’re thinking of doing a 3D model you can edit and play with.
Or, you might want to use a simple PNG format for now. There are many options, and we’ll give you our top recommendations for each.
When it comes to a rigged 2D model, Live2D is the end-all-and-be-all. Offering an incredibly deep and complex animation and rigging suite to create a model with tons of features, it stands head and shoulders above all other options.
If you’re new, the learning curve may be too steep, but there are tons of in-depth tutorials you can check out. And while you’re getting your feet wet, don’t sweat the cost! You can take advantage of Live2D’s 6-week free trial.
VSeeFace is a free face and hand tracking software offering easy-to-use features and in-depth customization. VSeeFace is generally considered the best option for 3D Vtubers, thanks to its support, tracking, and ease of use.
If you want to become a PNG or GIFtuber, Veadotube Mini is easily the best option. Besides a super user-friendly interface, it’s also the most feature-rich. As Porcbuns puts it, “Veadotube allows you to add just a little bit more with blinking and subtle motions (bouncing, swaying, shaking).”
3. Creating or Acquiring Your Avatar
In our article on ideas to get you started in Vtubing, we mentioned how models can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Obviously, you don’t have to spend that much money. You can do it for free! But let’s check out some options for you.
Paying an Artist
Sometimes, you just want to leave it to the professionals. In tandem with the increase in popularity of Vtubing has been the increase in artists specializing in Vtuber models and rigging. Hundreds or even thousands of artists are available for you to work with.
Whether you want a full-service live2d model and rigging, or a few assets, you’ll be flush with options at almost every price point.
Obviously, you can pay thousands of dollars for some ridiculously animated and detailed work. Still, there are a lot of amazing artists available at lower prices too.
Word of warning: You get what you pay for, so be sure to look through reviews and their portfolio. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, there is an epidemic of scammers and bots on social media trying to make a quick buck. So make sure you’re talking to a real person.
Using or Buying a Premade Model
A lot of the software can provide a starter model for you to play around with and use when you’re first starting out. It may come off as generic, but it could be the perfect way to start.
Additionally, you can look into buying or bidding on a premade model as well! If you’re having trouble with figuring out your design, using a premade model by an artist can provide that font of inspiration.
A good way to find them is on Twitter and searching for “adoptable” Vtuber models.
Designing on Your Own
If you’re artistically inclined, you’re probably planning to do it yourself. And even if you’re not, you should give it a try! Check out this video on creating a model in VRoid Studio and VSeeFace. It’s way easier than it looks.
And if you’re going to be a PNGtuber, you can get as complex or as simple as you want. Since it’s a static png image, you don’t have to worry about layers, separate layers, or anything like that.
So hop into pain, draw your stick figure, and get started! (No, seriously, you can even start out as a stick figure.)
4. Getting a Model on Stream or Other Platforms
Okay, so you’ve got your model, your gaming setup, Mountain Dew, and Doritos; it’s game time! Wait… you forgot to add your model to your stream. No worries, that’s the easy part. 🙂
- Turn on your Vtuber model software.
- This would be Live2D, VSeeFace, or Veadotube Mini in our suggested software)
- Turn on your streaming software.
- OBS, Streamlabs, and XSplit are popular options.
- Add your Vtuber model software as a source in your streaming software.
- Apply any necessary color keys to remove the background.
- Start streaming!
5 Important Facts For Beginner Vtubers (From a Vtuber)
In research for this article, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with up-and-coming Vtuber Porcbuns. She took the time to provide insight into what it’s like as a Vtuber for any aspiring streamer.
1. Tips For Getting Started
What tips would you give to those just starting out?
Just start. You’re going to change – your style, your model, the games you play – it’s all going to change, so waiting until you’ve perfected your brand isn’t necessary. I started as a GIFtuber with NO idea what I wanted to stream or how I wanted to present myself – and I’m still evolving.
It’s an organic process, and you don’t need to know everything yet. And people will offer advice and input almost without prompting – so there’s a whole lot of resources to take advantage of. So just start.
2. Reaching Out to Your Target Audience
How do you reach out to your target audience?
Networking. Interaction is the name of the game – none of this stuff really happens passively. Get involved with other streamers, comment on posts on Twitter, TikTok, etc.
3. Getting Creative With Your Content
What are some ways you get creative with your content?
ART! I love doing art streams and posting different outfits and scenarios of myself and other Vtubers to Twitter. It’s a form of world-building, and my community seems to like it!
(We also want to remind you that art takes many forms, like writing, singing, etc. Get creative, do what you love, and build your world!)
4. Most Important Equpiment for Vtubing
What are the most important equipment pieces for vtubing?
Vtubing is as much about your voice as it is about your model – if your microphone or headset is kind of crappy, it can create a disconnect with your audience. That might just be me, though – I’m a little bit of an audiophile. A tinny voice or staticky sounds can make me click away from a stream.
5. Enjoy and Be Yourself
How Can Someone Ensure They Have a Good Time Streaming?
Absolutely be yourself. Play the games you want to play, talk about the things you care about on stream – your community will find you. I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by so many people who share my passions and my interests – and I wouldn’t have found any of them if I wasn’t so unabashedly myself.
I adore my community, and I’ve never felt so welcomed or appreciated in my life. I hope I can show them how much I appreciate them in turn.
Is It Hard Being a Vtuber?
I think some days, the physical and mental strain hit a little harder, but for the most part, I spend more days excited about doing MORE than I do, being exhausted by any of it. There are definitely moments where I can tell I’ve spread myself too thin or pushed myself too hard.
Sometimes you end up with your back and legs aching because you’ve been hunched over your keyboard for too long (thank god for stretch redeems), and sometimes you end up completely brain-fried because you’ve been talking for hours and you’ve just run out of things to say.
For the most part, my community has been incredibly chill and supportive – when I need a break, they’re usually the ones pushing me to take that break.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to become a Vtuber?
The cost to become a Vtuber starts at 0 with free software, premade assets, and a song in your heart. It can go upwards in the tens of thousands of dollars if you get professionally rigged models from the top artists in the community.
How do I earn money as a Vtuber?
You can earn money as a Vtuber streaming and earning money through subscribers, donations, bits, and sponsorship deals.
Can you become a Vtuber on mobile?
You can stream from your mobile phone using the Reality or Vtube Studio. Vtuber Raelice provides a great tutorial for you to start Vtubing from your mobile phone.
And there you have it! The ULTIMATE GUIDE TO VTUBING FOR BEGINNERS! From equipment to software to handy tips and tricks, we’ve given you the roadmap to get started on your journey to fame, fortune, and fun. (Be sure to focus on the last one, btw.)
Again, a big thank you to Porcbuns for sharing your insights into Vtubing. While you’re here, check out some of our other guides for getting started on Twitch.