VTubing is incredibly popular and VTubing rigging commissions are growing in number each day, with well in excess of 10s of thousands of VTubers using YouTube alone, a huge increase on the thousand or so VTubers there in 2018.

One of the pivotal aspects that makes VTubing so interesting is the animation element, which is created by the VTuber rigging. It truly is what makes a VTuber interesting. 

Below we’re going to run over what VTubing is, how it works and how you can implement it in your 2d models or 3d models to create amazing vtuber models. 

We actually offer a service for both rigging and creation of VTubers if needs be.

What is VTuber Rigging?

Rigging for VTubers involves creating a digital skeleton and setting up animations and controls that enable a 2D or 3D avatar to move and respond to a VTuber’s real-time inputs. This process ensures the virtual character mirrors the movements and expressions of the VTuber, providing an engaging and interactive experience for viewers.

Model Creation and Rigging Process

For 2D models, artists use software like Live2D to draw different parts of the character separately, such as eyes, mouth, and hair, allowing for independent movement. In 3D models, created with software like Blender or Maya, the character is built in three dimensions.

vtuber rigging service

A Great Rigging Package  Involves Several Key Steps:

  1. Mesh Creation and Skeleton Setup: This includes defining the mesh for each part of the model to facilitate movement and creating a skeletal structure that controls the model’s parts.
  2. Bone and Joint Creation: This step involves building a bone structure that mirrors human anatomy, including bones for the spine, arms, legs, fingers, and facial features.
  3. Deformers and Physics: Adding elements like warp deformers controls complex movements (e.g., facial expressions, body movements), and adding physics properties to parts of the model, such as hair and clothes, ensures they react naturally to movement.
  4. Animation and Control Setup: This includes implementing facial capture systems that track facial movements using webcams or other sensors and using motion capture devices to track body movements, which are then translated to the avatar.
  5. Software Integration: Integrating the rigged model with software like VTube Studio or FaceRig, which handle real-time tracking and animation.

Real-Time Interaction and Performance

The VTuber’s movements and expressions are tracked in real-time and applied to the rigged model. Performance tuning ensures smooth and natural animations, making the virtual avatar mimic the VTuber’s expressions and movements accurately.

What is the Difference Between 2d vs 3d Rigging

There are notable differences between 2d and 3d rigging and we’re going to take a closer look below.

2D VTuber Rigging

2D VTuber rigging typically involves using software like Live2D to create a dynamic avatar. The process starts with an artist drawing the character in separate layers for each part (e.g., eyes, mouth, hair). These parts are then rigged with a digital skeleton that allows for independent movement. Key steps include mesh creation, defining bones and joints, and adding deformers to control complex movements. Physics properties are also applied to elements like hair and clothes to ensure natural reactions. The 2D model is then integrated with software that tracks facial expressions and basic movements in real-time.

3D VTuber Rigging

3D VTuber rigging is more complex, involving the creation of a full three-dimensional character using software such as Blender, Maya, or 3ds Max. The process includes building a detailed bone structure that mirrors human anatomy, including bones for the spine, arms, legs, fingers, and facial features. Weight painting assigns different parts of the 3D mesh to specific bones, determining how they will move. Advanced techniques like inverse kinematics (IK) are used for natural limb movements, and blendshapes or morph targets are created for facial expressions. The 3D model is integrated with motion capture technology for tracking full-body movements and facial capture systems for real-time interaction.

Key Differences

The main differences between 2D and 3D VTuber rigging lie in the complexity and depth of the models. 2D rigging focuses on animating flat images with layers, while 3D rigging involves creating and animating fully three-dimensional characters. 3D models offer more realistic and versatile movement capabilities, requiring more advanced rigging techniques and software integration.

In summary, 2D VTuber rigging involves animating flat images with independent parts, while 3D VTuber rigging deals with creating and animating fully dimensional characters, offering a broader range of movement and expression.

 

How to turn a flat PSD file into a Rigged Live2D Model

By following these steps, you can transform a flat PSD file into a fully rigged Live2D VTuber model, ready for dynamic animation and live streaming.

Step 1: Preparing the PSD File to create a Custom VTuber

Start by ensuring your PSD file is well-organized. Each part of your character (e.g., eyes, mouth, hair, body parts) should be on separate layers. This separation is crucial for allowing independent movement during the rigging process. Make sure to name each layer clearly for easy identification later.

Step 2: Importing into Live2D Cubism to create a Live2d VTuber Model

Open Live2D Cubism and create a new project. Import your PSD file into the software. Live2D Cubism will automatically convert the PSD layers into drawable objects within the program. Check that all layers are correctly imported and aligned as they were in your original design.

Step 3: Creating the Mesh for the Character Design

Next, create a mesh for each part of the character. The mesh is a grid that allows the image to deform smoothly. Use the auto-mesh generation tool or manually create the mesh by adding points and adjusting their positions. The goal is to cover each part with a mesh that can bend and stretch realistically.

Step 4: Adding Bones and Joints

Add bones and joints to your model. Bones are used to control the movement of different parts of the mesh. Place bones in strategic locations such as the limbs, torso, and head. Connect the joints to ensure smooth, natural movements when the bones are manipulated.

Step 5: Setting Up Parameters

Set up parameters to control the movement of your model. Parameters define how different parts of the model move in response to inputs. Common parameters include eye blink, mouth movement, head rotation, and body tilt. Use sliders in Live2D Cubism to adjust these parameters and see how they affect the model.

Step 6: Adding Deformers

Add deformers to refine the movements. Deformers allow for more complex and subtle animations. For example, use warp deformers to control facial expressions and bending deformers for body movements. Adjust the deformers to ensure smooth transitions and natural-looking animations.

Step 7: Applying Physics – Ready to Rigging

Apply physics to add realism to your model. Physics settings in Live2D Cubism can make hair, clothes, and other parts of the model move naturally with gravity and motion. Adjust the physics parameters to achieve the desired effect, such as hair swaying with head movements.

Step 8: Testing and Refining the VTuber Character

Test your rigged model extensively. Use Live2D Cubism’s preview feature to see how the model responds to different inputs. Make adjustments to the mesh, bones, parameters, and deformers as needed to ensure everything moves smoothly and naturally.

Step 9: Exporting the Live 2D Commission VTuber Model

Once satisfied with the rigging, export your model. Live2D Cubism allows you to export the model in a format compatible with VTuber software like VTube Studio. Save the project and export the necessary files, including the model file and any associated textures.

Step 10: Integrating with VTuber Software and Enjoying your VTuber Asset or Anime Character

Finally, integrate your rigged Live2D model with VTuber software. Import the model into your chosen VTuber application and test it with your webcam or other tracking devices. Ensure the model responds correctly to your movements and expressions.

A clean and detailed step-by-step visual guide on how to rig VTubers built using Daz3D. The image shows the following stages: 1) Creating a character model in Daz3D, displayed on a computer screen. 2) Exporting the model as an FBX file. 3) Importing the model into Blender, shown on a different screen. 4) Cleaning the model and setting up the skeleton. 5) Weight painting the model. 6) Adding inverse kinematics (IK). 7) Facial rigging process. 8) Adding control objects and applying physics for realistic movements. 9) Testing and refining the rig in Blender. 10) Exporting the rigged model. 11) Integrating it with VTuber software for live streaming.

3D Rigging Concepts: The Difference Between Unreal Engine and Animaze

Unreal Engine for 3D Rigging a VTuber Streamer

Unreal Engine is a powerful, versatile game engine widely used for creating high-quality 3D animations and real-time graphics. It offers advanced tools for 3D rigging and animation, including:

  1. Comprehensive Rigging Tools: Unreal Engine provides robust tools for creating and manipulating bone structures, IK (inverse kinematics) chains, and control rigs. These tools enable detailed and realistic animations.
  2. Blueprint Visual Scripting: This feature allows animators to create complex animations and interactions without extensive coding, making it easier to develop sophisticated rigs and control systems.
  3. Real-Time Rendering: Unreal Engine excels in real-time rendering, allowing creators to see changes and adjustments instantly, which is crucial for refining animations and ensuring they look natural in various environments.
  4. Physics Integration: With built-in physics engines, Unreal Engine can simulate realistic movements and interactions, adding a layer of realism to animations. This includes soft body dynamics, cloth simulation, and more.
  5. Extensive Asset Library: Unreal Engine offers access to a vast library of assets, materials, and plugins that can enhance the rigging and animation process.

Animaze for 3D Rigging

Animaze, on the other hand, is specialized software designed specifically for VTubers and live streaming, focusing on ease of use and real-time performance:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: Animaze provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface that simplifies the rigging process, making it accessible even to those with minimal technical expertise.
  2. Real-Time Facial Tracking: Animaze excels in real-time facial tracking and animation, allowing VTubers to stream live with accurate facial expressions and lip-sync capabilities. This feature is essential for engaging and interactive live streams.
  3. Customizable Avatars: The platform offers a range of pre-made avatars and customization options, making it easy to create and rig characters quickly without starting from scratch.
  4. Integrated Streaming Tools: Animaze is built with live streaming in mind, offering seamless integration with streaming platforms and tools to enhance live broadcasts, such as emotes and interactive overlays.
  5. Optimized Performance: Animaze is optimized for performance, ensuring smooth real-time animations and reducing the computational load on the system during live streaming.

Key Differences Between these two and Live2d Rigging

The main differences between Unreal Engine and Animaze in the context of 3D rigging lie in their focus and capabilities. Unreal Engine is a comprehensive tool for high-quality, detailed 3D rigging and animation suitable for a wide range of applications, including games and films. In contrast, Animaze is specifically designed for VTubers, prioritizing ease of use, real-time facial tracking, and live streaming capabilities.

In summary, while Unreal Engine offers advanced rigging tools and real-time rendering for high-end 3D animations, Animaze focuses on providing a user-friendly experience with specialized features for VTubers and live streaming, making each suited to different needs and expertise levels.

How to Rig Custom 3D VTuber Avatars


By following these steps, you can rig custom 3D VTuber avatars, transforming static models into dynamic characters ready for animation and live streaming.

Step 1: Model Creation

Start by creating a 3D model of your avatar using software like Blender, Maya, or 3ds Max. Ensure your model is detailed and well-structured, with separate meshes for different parts like the body, hair, and clothes. Pay attention to the character’s proportions and geometry for easier rigging and animation.

Step 2: Skeleton Creation

Build a skeletal structure for your avatar. This involves placing bones throughout the model, focusing on key areas such as the spine, arms, legs, hands, and facial features. The skeleton will serve as the framework for animating the avatar. Ensure the bone placement mirrors natural human anatomy for realistic movements.

Step 3: Weight Painting

Assign parts of the mesh to specific bones using weight painting. This step determines how the mesh will deform when the bones move. Carefully paint the weights to ensure smooth and natural-looking movements, avoiding any distortions or unnatural deformations.

Step 4: Adding IK Chains

Implement inverse kinematics (IK) chains to simplify animation. IK chains help create more natural and intuitive movements, especially for limbs. Set up IK handles for the arms and legs, allowing for easier posing and animation of these parts.

Step 5: Facial Rigging

Rig the facial features to allow for expressive animations. Create bones or blendshapes for the eyes, mouth, eyebrows, and other facial parts. This step enables the avatar to mimic facial expressions, such as smiling, frowning, blinking, and speaking. Use blendshapes for detailed facial animations and bones for broader movements.

Step 6: Adding Controls

Add control objects to make the rig easier to animate. These controls act as handles for animators, allowing them to manipulate the model without directly touching the bones. Place controls for key areas like the head, torso, limbs, and facial features. Organize the controls for intuitive access and use.

Step 7: Applying Physics

Incorporate physics simulations to add realism to your avatar. Apply physics to elements like hair, clothes, and accessories, making them move naturally in response to the avatar’s movements. Adjust the physics parameters to achieve the desired level of realism and responsiveness.

Step 8: Testing and Refining

Test the rigged model extensively to ensure everything works as expected. Pose the model in various positions, animate different movements, and check for any issues or unnatural deformations. Refine the rigging as needed, adjusting weights, bones, and controls to achieve smooth and natural animations.

Step 9: Exporting the Model

Export your rigged model in a format compatible with VTuber software. Common formats include FBX and VRM. Ensure all bones, weights, and animations are correctly exported. Save the project and export the necessary files for use in VTuber applications.

Step 10: Integration with VTuber Software

Import the rigged model into your chosen VTuber software, such as VSeeFace or VRoid Studio. Set up the tracking and calibration to ensure the avatar responds accurately to your movements and expressions. Test the avatar in the software to confirm everything is functioning correctly.

How to rig VTubers built using VRoid Studio 

By following these steps, you can rig VTubers built using VRoid Studio, transforming your custom designs into fully animated characters ready for live streaming and interaction.

Step 1: Creating the Model in VRoid Studio

Begin by designing your VTuber avatar in VRoid Studio. Use the various tools provided to customize the character’s appearance, including hair, facial features, clothing, and accessories. Ensure that the character’s proportions and details are as desired.

Step 2: Exporting the Model

Once your avatar design is complete, export the model from VRoid Studio. Typically, the export format is .vrm, which is widely used in VTuber applications. Save the .vrm file to your computer.

Step 3: Importing into Unity

Download and install Unity, along with the UniVRM plugin, which allows Unity to import and work with .vrm files. Open Unity and create a new project. Import the UniVRM plugin into your project, then import your .vrm model.

Step 4: Setting Up the Avatar in Unity

Drag the imported .vrm model into the Unity scene. Ensure that the model’s hierarchy is correctly set up. Check the model’s components, including the mesh, materials, and animations, to ensure everything is correctly imported.

Step 5: Adding Bones and Joints

While VRoid Studio automatically creates a basic skeleton, you may need to refine or add additional bones for more detailed animations. Use Unity’s tools to adjust the skeleton and ensure that all necessary bones are correctly placed and functioning.

Step 6: Weight Painting

If necessary, adjust the weight painting to ensure that the mesh deforms correctly when the bones move. This step is crucial for natural-looking animations. Use Unity’s weight painting tools to refine the influence of each bone on the mesh.

Step 7: Facial Rigging

VRoid models typically come with pre-rigged facial features. However, you may want to refine or add additional blendshapes for more detailed expressions. Use Unity to adjust and test the facial rigging, ensuring the avatar can express emotions like smiling, frowning, and blinking.

Step 8: Adding Controls

Implement control objects to make the rigging easier to animate. These controls allow for more straightforward manipulation of the model’s movements and expressions. Place controls for key areas such as the head, arms, and legs, and organize them for intuitive use.

Step 9: Applying Physics

Add physics simulations to enhance the realism of your avatar’s movements. Use Unity’s physics components to apply realistic motion to elements like hair and clothing. Adjust the physics parameters to achieve the desired effect, ensuring natural and responsive movements.

Step 10: Testing and Refining

Test your rigged model extensively in Unity. Pose the model in various positions, animate different movements, and ensure all parts move naturally and correctly. Refine the rigging as needed, making adjustments to bones, weights, and controls to achieve smooth animations.

Step 11: Exporting the Model

Once satisfied with the rigging, export the model from Unity. Ensure it is in a compatible format for VTuber applications, typically .vrm. Use the UniVRM plugin to export the model with all necessary components, including bones, weights, and animations.

Step 12: Integration with VTuber Software

Import the rigged model into your chosen VTuber software, such as VSeeFace or 3tene. Set up the tracking and calibration to ensure the avatar responds accurately to your movements and expressions. Test the avatar within the software to confirm everything is functioning correctly.

How to rig VTubers built using MetaHuman


By following these steps, you can rig VTubers built using MetaHuman, transforming your high-fidelity models into dynamic characters ready for live interaction and streaming.

Step 1: Creating the Model in MetaHuman Creator

Begin by designing your VTuber avatar using MetaHuman Creator. Customize your character’s appearance, including facial features, hair, body proportions, and clothing. MetaHuman provides high-fidelity models with detailed textures and realistic anatomy.

Step 2: Exporting the Model

Once your avatar is ready, export the model from MetaHuman Creator. Typically, you will export the model to Unreal Engine, as MetaHuman integrates seamlessly with Unreal Engine. Ensure you have the necessary plugins and software installed for a smooth export process.

Step 3: Importing into Unreal Engine

Open Unreal Engine and create a new project. Import your MetaHuman model into the project. The MetaHuman plugin for Unreal Engine simplifies this process, ensuring all textures, materials, and rigging are correctly imported. Verify that the model is properly imported and appears as expected in the scene.

Step 4: Skeleton and Control Rig Setup

MetaHuman models come with a predefined skeletal structure. However, you might need to adjust the rig for specific VTuber requirements. Use Unreal Engine’s Control Rig feature to set up custom controls for your character. This allows for detailed animation and control over various body parts and facial features.

Step 5: Facial Rigging

MetaHuman models include advanced facial rigging capabilities. Utilize Unreal Engine’s facial animation tools to refine facial expressions and lip-syncing. Create blendshapes and use the Control Rig to adjust facial movements, ensuring your character can express a wide range of emotions.

Step 6: Weight Painting

Check and adjust the weight painting to ensure smooth deformations during animations. Unreal Engine provides tools for refining the influence of each bone on the mesh, allowing for natural and realistic movements.

Step 7: Adding Inverse Kinematics (IK)

Implement inverse kinematics (IK) to simplify animation, especially for limbs. Set up IK handles for the arms and legs, allowing for more intuitive posing and movement. This helps achieve realistic and natural-looking animations.

Step 8: Applying Physics

Add physics simulations to enhance the realism of your avatar. Use Unreal Engine’s physics tools to apply realistic motion to hair, clothing, and other accessories. Adjust physics parameters to achieve natural and responsive movements, enhancing the character’s overall believability.

Step 9: Testing and Refining

Extensively test your rigged model in Unreal Engine. Animate various movements and expressions to ensure everything functions correctly. Make necessary adjustments to the skeleton, weights, and controls to refine the animations and ensure smooth performance.

Step 10: Exporting the Model

Once satisfied with the rigging, export the model in a format compatible with your VTuber software. Typically, you will use formats like FBX. Ensure all necessary components, including bones, weights, and animations, are correctly exported from Unreal Engine.

Step 11: Integration with VTuber Software

Import the rigged model into your chosen VTuber software, such as VSeeFace or Animaze. Set up the tracking and calibration to ensure the avatar responds accurately to your movements and expressions. Test the avatar within the software to confirm everything is functioning correctly.

Step 12: Live Testing and Calibration

Perform live tests to calibrate the avatar’s movements and expressions. Use your VTuber software’s features to adjust sensitivity and responsiveness, ensuring that the character mimics your real-time actions accurately. Fine-tune the settings for optimal performance during live streaming or recording.

How to rig VTubers built using Daz3D

Step 1: Creating the Model in Daz3D

Start by designing your VTuber avatar in Daz3D. Customize the character’s appearance, including facial features, hair, body proportions, clothing, and accessories. Daz3D provides a wide range of tools and assets to create detailed and realistic models.

Step 2: Preparing the Model for Export

Once your model is complete, prepare it for export. Ensure all necessary textures, materials, and morphs are properly applied. Check the model for any issues that might affect the rigging process, such as mesh errors or misplaced elements.

Step 3: Exporting the Model

Export your model from Daz3D in a format suitable for rigging, typically FBX. In the export settings, ensure that all bones, morphs, and textures are included. Save the exported file to your computer.

Step 4: Importing into Blender

Open Blender and create a new project. Import the FBX file of your Daz3D model into Blender. Check that the model imports correctly, with all textures and bones intact.

Step 5: Cleaning Up the Model

Clean up the imported model in Blender. This might involve adjusting the bone hierarchy, fixing any mesh issues, and ensuring the model is correctly scaled. Remove any unnecessary elements that were included during the import process.

Step 6: Setting Up the Skeleton

Ensure the model’s skeleton is correctly set up. Adjust the bones and joints as needed to match the desired movement and anatomy. This step is crucial for creating realistic and natural animations.

Step 7: Weight Painting

Perform weight painting to define how the mesh deforms when the bones move. Assign different parts of the mesh to the appropriate bones, ensuring smooth and natural movements. Carefully paint the weights to avoid any unnatural deformations.

Step 8: Adding Inverse Kinematics (IK)

Add inverse kinematics (IK) to simplify the animation of limbs. Set up IK handles for the arms and legs, allowing for more intuitive posing and movement. This helps achieve realistic and natural-looking animations.

Step 9: Facial Rigging

Rig the facial features to allow for expressive animations. Create bones or shape keys (blendshapes) for the eyes, mouth, eyebrows, and other facial parts. This enables the avatar to mimic facial expressions, such as smiling, frowning, blinking, and speaking.

Step 10: Adding Controls

Add control objects to make the rig easier to animate. These controls act as handles for animators, allowing them to manipulate the model without directly touching the bones. Place controls for key areas like the head, torso, limbs, and facial features.

Step 11: Applying Physics

Incorporate physics simulations to add realism to your avatar. Apply physics to elements like hair, clothes, and accessories, making them move naturally in response to the avatar’s movements. Adjust the physics parameters to achieve the desired level of realism and responsiveness.

Step 12: Testing and Refining

Test the rigged model extensively in Blender. Pose the model in various positions, animate different movements, and check for any issues or unnatural deformations. Refine the rigging as needed, adjusting weights, bones, and controls to ensure smooth and natural animations.

Step 13: Exporting the Rigged Model

Once satisfied with the rigging, export the model from Blender in a format compatible with VTuber software, typically FBX or VRM. Ensure all bones, weights, and animations are correctly exported.

Step 14: Integration with VTuber Software

Import the rigged model into your chosen VTuber software, such as VSeeFace or Animaze. Set up the tracking and calibration to ensure the avatar responds accurately to your movements and expressions. Test the avatar within the software to confirm everything is functioning correctly.

Step 15: Live Testing and Calibration

Perform live tests to calibrate the avatar’s movements and expressions. Use your VTuber software’s features to adjust sensitivity and responsiveness, ensuring that the character mimics your real-time actions accurately. Fine-tune the settings for optimal performance during live streaming or recording.



 

 

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