Is the vTuber Trend the Next Step for Digital Marketing?
Your next marketer might be a virtual character in the future. Nowadays, more people subscribe to vTuber content, which are livestreams that involve viewers interacting with digital avatars. People control these characters with the help of motion capture technology.
The concept was once limited to Japan, but it has spread across the globe. Believe it or not, one of them was an effective tourism ambassador for the country. Soon, you might consider employing one to promote your brand!
We will define what a vTuber is and what it can do for businesses. After that, we will see what separates a vTuber from a virtual influencer. Later, we will go through the steps in creating a vTuber avatar yourself for career and business purposes.
Benefits of vTubers for business
Imagine having a brand ambassador that is tailor-made to your business needs. Its personality and appearance will align according to your brand’s image.
A vTuber is a virtual avatar controlled by another person in real-time. That means people can design a vTuber however they wish. Most of them look like anime characters, though.
As mentioned, the concept started in Japan, the origin of anime. The term “vTuber” is a portmanteau combining the words “virtual” and “YouTuber.”
Kizuna Ai was the first vTuber, and she started posting content in 2016. Her vTuber avatar debuted on YouTube, so the term has become prevalent.
Nowadays, you can find vTubers that are in 3D. For example, CodeMiko uses full-body motion capture to make her 3D vTuber avatar possible.
That is a costly method of creating your own vTuber. Fortunately, a 2D anime vTuber model can be as effective while being affordable. Nowadays, vTuber maker tools and services are widely available.
As a result, you can make your own vTuber at a reasonable price, making it more accessible for businesses. Using a vTuber avatar might seem strange, but more organizations are doing it.
The Come To Japan campaign of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is an excellent example. The JNTO hired a Japanese video blogger or vlogger with a virtual avatar named Kizuna Ai.
She became an instant worldwide hit in 2016, gaining over 1.5 million subscribers in the same year. She released livestreams that encouraged American audiences to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.
Nowadays, businesses are starting to adopt them for marketing purposes. In March 2021, AirAsia airline rode the vTuber trend by launching Project Kavvaii. Then, it debuted its first-ever vTuber avatar named Aozora Kurumi in May 2021.
Virtual influencer vs. vTuber
Search “vTuber” on Google, and you might notice sources that refer to it as a virtual influencer. However, a vTuber avatar has a real person controlling and speaking through it.
This feature allows a vTuber to have a personality that viewers can follow. The vTuber avatar is not a static caricature. People could interact with their favorite vTuber via live chat.
On the other hand, a virtual influencer cannot react to live videos. Let us look at Miquela Sousa as an example. She is a virtual influencer that posts on Instagram.
Unlike a vTuber avatar, nobody voices her character. Her content follows commands from a robot made by a human team of 3D artists. Miquela emulates realness by posting photos of herself hanging out with real-world humans.
Meanwhile, video game company Riot Games uses the virtual influencer Seraphine Song. She doubles as a playable character in its famous title League of Legends.
The advantage of vTubers over virtual influencers
Still, a vTuber might be the more practical choice. Most consumers now prefer video content. Specifically, livestreams are now prevalent thanks to the gamer-oriented live video platform Twitch.
A virtual influencer may seem bland and uninspired to your audiences. Alternatively, a virtual presentation with a vTuber could bring you more viewers.
A vTuber can do everything a virtual influencer can do and more. It could post on social media and directly interact with your target audience.
What’s more, it could host livestreams featuring your products and services. However, you should treat your vTuber content as sponsored content.
Sponsored content sparks interest in your brand without directly promoting your goods. For example, businesses post blogs that provide valuable information so that people eventually grow closer to a brand.
Your virtual YouTuber should entertain viewers, so they should engage in fun activities. Most of these virtual avatars behave like regular YouTubers.
For example, they record themselves reacting to movies and playing video games. Others may interact with fellow virtual YouTubers to establish their personalities.
More importantly, they communicate with viewers via live chat to build a connection. Eventually, you could include content that relates to your brand. Here are some ideas:
- Unboxing streams for your latest goods
- Live video reviews of your services
- Discussions about your industry
Steps to creating a vTuber
A person can become a vTuber by working for a vTuber company or making a virtual YouTuber themselves. Of course, you would pick the latter if you want to have a vTuber avatar for your business.
A vTuber avatar is a 3D model that you control with your body. That requires three types of vTuber software: a 3D modeling app, a motion capture program, and facial control software.
Purchasing and installing them is not enough. You will need the necessary art and technology skills to create a vTuber model. Otherwise, you could hire someone to do it on your behalf.
Before choosing vTuber software, you must have a particular computer and internet connection quality. Let us elaborate on each step of creating a vTuber:
1. Get a fast internet connection.
Livestreams require a substantial amount of bandwidth. Your internet connection should have enough speed to maintain a constant resolution and frame rate.
The minimum bandwidth required is 3 Mbps, but that will only show your livestreams at 720p resolution running at 30 FPS. Unfortunately, you will have trouble standing out among other virtual YouTubers.
The optimal internet bandwidth is 6Mbps. That amount will allow you to stream at 60FPS with a 1080p resolution. You might need more bandwidth for other types of streamed content.
For example, let us say you need to record your vTuber character playing a video game in real-time. You must have a bandwidth of ten to 15 Mbps to prevent the stream from lagging.
2. Have a high-performance PC.
A regular workplace computer will not be enough for virtual YouTubers. You might even be able to run any vTuber software. Here are the minimum requirements for a vTuber PC:
- Operating system – Windows 7
- Processor – AMD FX-8350 or Intel i5-4670
- RAM – 8GB DDR3
- Graphics card – AMD Radeon R9 280 or Nvidia Geforce 960
If you want to start your vTuber strategy properly, you will need high-quality equipment. Here are the optimal specifications that a computer needs for vTubing software:
- Operating system – Windows 10
- Processor – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or Intel i5-9600k
- RAM – 16GB DDR4
- Graphics card – AMD Radeon 5700 XT or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
Note that even the best vTuber software becomes outdated as time passes. Technology advances much faster nowadays, so expect to upgrade your tools constantly.
3. Create or purchase a vTuber avatar.
Let us proceed with the most crucial part of making a vTuber. You will need 3D modeling software that can help you produce virtual characters.
If you have the necessary skills, you could try software like Zbrush or Blender. VRoid Studio allows users to create anime-like 3D models even as beginners.
Sites like Fiverr could create your vTuber avatar with better software than VRoid Studio. Commission them to get the finished product as a VRM (Virtual Reality Model) file.
Read More: How To Be A Virtual Influencer
4. Acquire motion and face tracking software.
KoMETA Virtual Live is a company that produces and manages Filipino virtual entertainers, called VTubers!
Are you ready to make history with us?
— KoMETA Virtual Live (@KometaLive) June 28, 2021
You will now have to rig that VRM file. In other words, you must link each part of that model to your body so that it will follow your movements.
You could download rigging programs like Animaze and FaceRig on the online platform Steam. Specifically, Luppet is the best vTuber software for your rigging needs.
Nowadays, even basic webcams support real-time gesture tracking. You will also need a mouth shape capture program for facial expressions. You could install Leap Motion if you want hand tracking.
The vTuber trend is not limited to the United States and Japan. Believe it or not, it is spreading into Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
Japanese vTuber company Hololive has members from Indonesia. On the other hand, the vTuber firm Nijisanji also has members from the Philippines, such as Millie Parfait.
In 2021, the first Filipino vTuber corporation KoMETA opened so that you can check its talents on YouTube. You may soon find the vTuber trend growing in your country, so you might want to consider adapting to it.
Frequently asked questions
How much money does a first-time vTuber need?
You will need around $500 to $2,000 to buy the necessary vTuber editor equipment. Your actual expenditure will depend on the quality of your software and hardware.
Who are some examples of well-known vTubers?
Kizuna AI is the first virtual YouTuber, so most people know the character. Nowadays, more names have become popular, such as Hololive’s Calliope Mori and Oozora Subaru.
Do all vTubers look like anime characters?
Most virtual YouTubers are 2D caricatures since the first ones followed that art style. Nowadays, technology has significantly advanced so that you can find 3D characters in the vTuber community.
How do vTubers earn money?
Virtual YouTubers earn income from their companies. Also, they receive money from viewers as gift subscriptions and Super Chats. The most popular ones make as much as $4.8 million every year!
Do I need a motion capture suit?
You do not need a mocap suit to become a virtual YouTuber. However, you will need software and hardware that captures eye movements, facial expressions, and other gestures.