How to Create and Stream a VTuber: A Step-by-Step Guide
The term “VTuber” or “Virtual YouTuber” was originally created in reference to the virtual online personality Kizuna AI in 2016. Until a couple of years ago, VTubers were limited to just a handful of accounts. Due to the complications involved in rendering and animating the character model in real-time. However, recent advances in cheap and well-designed motion capture software have made creating and using a virtual avatar while streaming accessible to almost anyone. Want to try it yourself? Here’s how to stream a VTuber!
How to stream a VTuber: Creating an avatar
Creating the 3D model that will represent you while you’re on stream is the first step to streaming a VTuber. For this guide, we’re going to use an online app called ReadyPlayerMe. This program lets you create a 3D model right in your web browser. It’s admittedly not the most powerful or detailed creation tool you can find, but it’s pretty good, very easy to use, and free.
You start your avatar by choosing a body type you want to model with. Next, upload a photo of yourself (or take one with your webcam) and customize it using the app, which lets you adjust things like skin color as well as hair color and length. You can also add some accessories if you wish, like glasses. Once you’re happy with how you look, click “Next” and download your avatar file somewhere where you can find it easily.
Converting your avatar for use
The next step is to get your avatar animated. We’re going to use a program called Animaze. This is the evolution of a program you may have heard of called FaceRig. Animaze is free to use on Steam, but it doesn’t natively support the model format that ReadyPlayerMe generates. So, we’ll have to run through a couple of quick steps to convert it.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed Animaze, you’ll find a program called “Animaze Editor” in the Tools section of your Steam library. You’ll need to run this program first, and use it to open the avatar you created by going to the Assets menu tab, clicking on “Import 3D Object” and selecting the file you downloaded from ReadyPlayerMe.
After a bit of loading time, you’ll see your avatar pop up on the main screen. You can use Animaze Editor to fine-tune your avatar, but if you’d rather just move on to the fun part, right-click on your avatar’s file name in the Hierarchy Panel on the left-hand side and select “Bundle”. Choose a folder to export to, and once you get the confirmation dialogue, open the main Animaze program from the Software section of your Steam library.
Get that model moving
Now it’s time to meet your virtual self! From the main Animaze screen, click the Avatars icon on the navigation bar on the left-hand side, and then choose “Imports” from the pop-out window. Then click the big plus button, and select the file you saved in the previous step. It ends in “.avatar” – be careful not to confuse it with ReadyPlayerMe file which ends with “.glb”.
After the import completes, you’ll see your virtual self on the main program screen. Make sure that the camera window (upper right by default) is showing your main camera. If it’s not, click the drop-down arrow to change it. Once you’ve got your avatar loaded and the right camera selected, just hit “Calibrate” and follow the directions to get your model moving more accurately with your actions.
How To Stream the VTuber
The final step is getting your VTuber into XSplit Broadcaster so you can go live with it and introduce your audience to the new you. Within Animaze, simply click the big button at the bottom of the screen labeled “Enable Virtual Camera”. Then switch back over to XSplit Broadcaster and use the Add Source menu to add the Animaze Virtual Camera, which can be found in the Devices section. You should see your VTuber pop right up on the screen, and you’re good to go. Note that if you’re planning to use a chroma key background for your avatar coming out of Animaze, you’ll need to activate the chroma key option on the Animaze Virtual Camera input within Broadcaster. For it to work properly right-click the input name and go to the “Color” tab of the menu for chroma options.
This guide showed just one of many possible ways to model a VTuber for use in your livestreams. Looking for other ways to invest in your stream? Check out our guide to the top streaming upgrades of 2021 for some great ideas.