Crunchyroll Expo 2021 – So You Wanna Be a Vtuber!? – Notes


Credit: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting

What is a Vtuber?

Vtubers are “an online entertainer who use a virtual avatar generated using computer graphics and motion capture software or technology. A digital trend that originated in Japan in the mid-2010s, a majority of VTubers are Japanese-speaking YouTubers or live streamers who use anime-inspired avatar designs. By 2020, there were more than 10,000 active VTubers” (Wikipedia)

Important Terms

  • Live 2D or L2D – the model that is moving on screen
  • Model or PNG – the character reference art for what will become the rigged L2D
  • Mama, Papa, & Parents – terms for your png artist and your rig artist (terms are fluid, though typically the rigmaster is typically the “papa” while the png artist is typically the “mama”)
  • Debut – The stream or day in which the Vtuber presents themselves and their model
  • Hololive – an agency for Vtubers
  • Background – the background of your character (think of it like the desktop behind apps on your computer)
  • Overlays – Goes over your background and stream that include socials, and other blocks to provide information
  • Lore – the backstory of your characters
  • Assets – are the things that pop on screen to fit alerts and such (like a gif that comes up every now and then)

How to Get a Model

1. Commission a PNG artist. V-tubing means you need different pieces for art reference–something like 126 would be pretty good to start but some models have more and some have less. (The model our host, Celine, uses in this panel is in the 120s range.) It’s expensive for reference sheets but worth it to make the process easy later on in the rigging process. 

2. Your model’s base art needs to be: 

  • Not pixelated or blurry
  • 2000×2000 pixels, 150-300 dpi is good

3. Preparing the character: Each moving part must be separated, and everything underneath it must be filled in (no holes) so that it’s whole. Multiply and Opacity are okay. 72-150/300 is pretty standard. 

4. Next you need a program to rig your model. Live2D Cubism is probably the best program for making a rigged model and is a current industry standard. Link:

5. Remember that rigging your model to move with you will require a lot of space on your computer. Computer Specs to meet this requirement may include:

  • Intel core i5 CPO
  • OpenGL33
  • 4GB Ram (8gb recommended)
  • 400 MB hard disk space

Set-up and PSD Import

1. Step-by-step set-up: 

  1. File > New > Model
  2. File > Canvas Settings > Pixels match PSD
  3. Drag PSD into Live 2D 
  4. “Untitled Model (model)” > OK > Add layers as new Art Mesh
  5. Wait, Character will Import
  6. Press Control + A > Move Character into Place
  7. Hold Shift to scale Character as needed

2. Keeping Organized

  • Create Working Folder for model, 
  • Save PSD to this folder
  • Save often!

3. Workspace Folders

  • Part (aka Body parts) = photoshop layers
  • Inspector: Information for selected part
  • Deformer
  • Parameter

4. Character Setup

  1. Move body parts into Live 2D folders, examples:
    1. brow> Brow
    2. arm > Body
    3. eye parts > eyes
  2. THEN download Live 2D models for help

5. Adjust Drawing

  • Draw order = number system for editing layer order
  • +500 = layer above/in-front
  • -500 = layer below / behind
  • Edit as needed

6. Apply Clipping ID

  1. Clipping Masks – Layers used to mask out (hide) other layers
    1. Select part to use as mask
    2. Control + C (copy) ID Name in Inspector
    3. Select part to mask out
    4. Control + V (paste) ID name into the “Clipping ID” in inspector
    5. Press Enter of click off 
  2. Use only a few Masks for eye parts, mouth parts, etc.

7. Generate Texture Atlas

  1. Texture Atlas – texture file needed for export
    1. Control + A (select all)
    2. Control + T (Texture Atlas) or Select “Edit Texture Atlas”
    3. Rename texture file > choose size: 2048×2048 > automatic layout > ok
    4. Move Parts to avoid overlap
    5. Check Scale, try for 100% scale
    6. OK
  2. Fit all body parts onto 1 texture file at scale 100%
  3. Smaller the scale % = blurrier image

8. Add Mesh

  1. Mesh – Warp a layer and make your character move
    1. (1) Control + A (select all) > click automatic mesh generator 
    2. Edit Mesh manually

9. Add Deformers

  • Deformers – deform and create the illusion of movement
  • 2 types of deformers
    • Warp deformers
    • Rotation deformers (joints)
  • Select Body Part(s) > Create Warp/Rotation Deformer > Rename Deformer

Hierarchies and Parenting

Parent/Child Relationships in Rigging = parent objects tells child objects what to do. Example: 1. Shoulder (parent) to Arm (child) 2. Shoulder Rotator (Parent) to Arm Warp (Child)

1. Make your Character Move with Parameter

  • Add key forms to rig your character
  • Green key forms record your movements
  • Keyform numbers determine how long it’s going to take to perform an action
    1. X=left to right
    2. Y = down to up
    3. Z = left to right (rotate)

2. Make folders to organize different parts of the body

  • Face: Angle xyz
  • Body: Body xyz
  • Brow: Brown position, angle, form
  • Eye: Eye open, eye smile (blink)
  • Eyeball: Eyeball xy (where I look)

To Be a Vtuber – Resources:

  • Vtuber Studio
  • OBS Studio
  • Webcam (iPhones and Mac products work for this)
  • You need a computer that can handle the amount of data used for streaming/recording.


You can check out the host’s youtube channel here:

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