If you have been following video marketing trends, you have seen an increase in animated videos featuring animated avatars. This type of content is created by VTubers and has taken the world by storm. The top VTubers earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month and have millions of subscribers. According to the experts, the industry is growing. According to HyperSense, the total number of VTuber subscribers increased by 28% in 2019, while the total number of Vtuber content views increased by 99%.
At first glance, this may not seem like a big trend but they have a steady following. Virtual YouTubers are used by marketers and companies like Mattel and KFC to create meaningful interactions. What exactly are VTubers, and why should you worry? Here’s everything you need to know to become a Vtuber or take advantage of this new trend to grow your business.
Who are VTubers?
VTuber is an acronym for Virtual YouTuber, a content creator who creates videos using two-dimensional or three-dimensional digital avatars. These avatars are made up of computer images and are often controlled with motion capture (mocap) and other virtual reality technologies. The word was coined by Kizuna Ai, the world’s first Japanese VTuber.
Thus, you can understand that VTubers (short for Virtual YouTubers) are video creators who use animated avatars and stop-motion graphics instead of actual images. They chat in front of the camera and share their thoughts on various topics and products, as most vloggers do. Some of the most popular virtual YouTubers are Kaguya Luna, Kizuna AI, The Omega Sisters, and Kiryu Coco.
This trend has grown in popularity in recent years, with top content creators earning millions of dollars. For example, Kiryu Coco earns over $134,000 per month as a VTuber. Watching VTuber videos is the best way to understand what it feels like to be a VTuber. For example, this contains an anime heroine, and this has… well, another anime hero. VTubers are YouTube video creators or casual bloggers looking for an upbeat personality.
Is it necessary to watch anime all the time? Without any means. On the other hand, the development of VTuber is closely tied to Japan. Anime has been and is the most popular anime genre in Japan.
History behind VTubers
Ami Yamato, a Japanese Youtuber, used a 3D animated avatar in her video in 2011. The video that kicked off the current YouTube trend is still there. The vast majority of people are interested in creating her avatar and what VTuber program she is using. Although the video was not a huge hit and only garnered a few thousand views, it helped kickstart a new industry.
Kizuna Ai, a Japanese video blogger and virtual celebrity, launched her first channel five years later. VTuber is considered by many to be the world’s leading virtual video blogger. This is because his channel is much more popular than Yamato’s Vlog. Since 2011, Kizuna’s channels have had more than 4 million subscribers and 250 million views.
Kizuna videos can be created using MikuMikuDance, a free application from Vtuber, and other recording facial expressions, sounds, and gestures. The videos on the channel are similar in content and activity to other live YouTubers, such as Video hosting calls, Q&A, live streaming, and more. Although most of the videos are in Japanese, the fan base constantly provides subtitles in other languages. Today, as usual, many companies are trying to capitalize on the growing trend of fake media. Some of the more popular VTubers do not have control over their programming. Companies like Hololive own VTuber programs like Watson Amelia and Gawr Gura. These vlogs contain female anime characters with various personalities and backgrounds. Venture capitalists are also following this trend. In 2018, Gumi, a famous Japanese gambling company and venture capital fund, invested $5.4 million in Activ8 (the manufacturer behind Kizuna AI). In 2020, Cover, a Tokyo-based company, raised $6.6 million in its first round of investments.
What do VTubers do?
VTubers users use animations to deliver music videos, game tips, impressions, live streams, and ads. Many avatars have manga-style features such as large eyes, small lips, and dyed hair. Although animated, the avatars are generally very realistic. Although each author’s attitude, voice, and appearance are different, most characters are lively, energetic, and playful.
VTubers, like other YouTubers, create a wide variety of content. Some people enjoy playing video games, modelling clothes, chatting about the news, watching movies, or making music videos. Many people also work with companies to promote their products and services.
How do VTubers work?
In this article, we will not cover the streaming part of the activity. Posting a digital avatar on a video blog is no different than downloading other streaming media. The process is the same as streaming YouTube or Twitch, as long as you know how these sites work. But how do VTubers create their online personalities?
In a nutshell, two issues need to be worked out before you can create an avatar:
- Develop and animate your avatar
- Install the necessary motion capture software
You may already be familiar with it. With programs like Vroid and Live2D to style anime characters if you are a digital artist. These tools are popular because they reduce the need for artists to retouch by providing various face designs that are pre-assembled right out of the box.
Content creators draw a character’s face and then place it on a template. Using a selection of predefined character looks, you can modify your avatar’s clothing and overall appearance.
If the standard templates do not meet your needs, you can always create your own from scratch. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming process. Working with 3D models will require using more traditional software like Maya and Blender. Also, you can hardly use them unless you are a good 3D modeller.
Motion capture has always been an expensive technology. You will need technology more commonly found in major Hollywood productions than in YouTube home studios to function correctly.
Virtual reality headsets, virtual reality gloves and motion-capture suits are included. Of course, this is not a cheap device. However, plenty of more affordable options may not offer the same level of quality but still will not break the budget.
VTubers can use camera-based body tracking services such as CVPR, Siggraph or AWE. Using Wakaru and Hitogata software, you can also get face capture results with a standard 2D camera. After completing the animated avatar models and capturing the motion, connect them to the real-time renderer. This tool will generate a real-time video feed that can be played on YouTube or any other video service. The Unreal Engine is best known, which is used in many of the most popular video games, including BioShock and Mortal Kombat.
Why have VTubers become so popular?
The simplest explanation is that they are famous for the same reasons as movies and video games. You can follow the adventures of your favorite virtual character who, unlike games or films, lives and interacts with the audience.
Moreover, what about the hidden identities of VTubers behind cartoon characters? So, it is one of the most critical factors for your success. What do you do when you are not doing VTubing? These types of questions will pique the audience’s interest in the virtual character and the author of the material.
Given the immense popularity of VTubers in Asia, it is only a matter of time before they spread west. Given the enthusiasm they have developed among children and teens, VTubers are expected to dominate internet trends by the end of 2021.
How can Marketers use VTubers?
Marketers can use VTube creators for their influencer marketing efforts. Even though cartoon characters usually have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers. This vast audience can be used to promote music, clothing stores, movies, and even tourism.
For example, Kizuna AI, a popular VTuber, worked with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) to produce the “Come to Japan” campaign to attract American tourists to Japan.
Here are other ways to market to VTuber users:
- Collaborate with a popular VTuber for product or software reviews – This is great for toys, clothing, and other baby items.
- You can pay to have your logo appear in the VTuber feed: for example, on the t-shirt, the coffee mug or even in the background.
- Collaboration with famous VTuber to design his avatar: Subaru (automaker, not famous VTuber) expressed his joy after his tweet was retweeted on KFC’s Twitter.
How to become a VTuber?
Are you thinking of becoming a VTuber? You will be surprised to know that it does not take long to start creating content. The steps to becoming a VTuber are outlined here.
1. Be ready with your tech setup.
Make sure you have a good camera, microphone, and computer to shoot and edit your videos. You don’t need to invest tens of thousands of dollars to get started. If possible, start with what you have and upgrade your video equipment as you gain experience.
2. Choose an avatar software.
There are hundreds of software platforms to choose from, so exploring a few before making your final decision is recommended. Some of the more popular search platforms include VRChat, Wakaru, and PrprLive. Many of them offer free versions, but you may have to pay to get more features.
3. Create your Avatar
One of the most fun parts of being a VTuber is creating your avatar. Avatar software allows you to create your avatar from scratch or modify your avatar, for example, by changing the color of your skin, eyes and eyelashes, for example. When creating your avatar, keep in mind the long-term goal of your VTube footage. Are you looking for teenagers, adults or even software professionals? Make sure your avatar speaks to your target audience. Remember that you don’t have to look alike in any way.
4. Set up your channel
At what point of sale do you plan to share your VTube creations? While YouTube hosts most of VTube’s content, videos can also be posted to your website, Instagram, or other social media. Consider uploading and hosting the video on YouTube, then sharing the URL with others. If you choose to use this method, make sure your YouTube channel is optimized.
5. Create a content calendar
Once you have chosen your avatar and created your channel, you decide what content to make like any other youtuber. You do not have to post new content every day, but you should do it often. What will you talk about? Do you interview experts, play video games, or comment on industry news? Consider your marketing goals when creating your content plan. The type of content is completely your ball game.
6. Record your first video
Now or never, it’s your turn to make a name for yourself. Create your first video, then use your avatar program as your avatar and go live. If you want to be successful on YouTube, it takes you months to build a fan base.
Future Use Cases for VTuber Technology and Synthetic Media
A local identity for content distribution can be created and easily translated into any regional language using AI synchronization technology (where Respeecher excels). Reduced production costs improve the ability to source materials from local markets. In the past, a studio had to hire local actors or TV presenters and shoot videos, but new high-tech solutions now save time and money.
Moreover, the researcher has helped content providers reduce the cost of video production. These methods include dubbing and localization, voice transcription for virtual (or simply outdated) actors, and the ability to speak to the people who need it most. We are witnessing technological advancements in media and business environments, from automated personalized video ads to virtual video assistants.
Furthermore, businesses are not the only ones using new technology. With the gender-swapping filters for Snapchat or FaceApp making us all look older, we see a growing interest in this kind of technology among mass consumers. People want to communicate in different languages, dress up as their favorite characters, and cosplay as much as possible. VTubers seems to be just the beginning. Have you joined the Vtubers trend train yet? Who is your favorite Vtuber?
Also Read: 5 Video Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses