In the last few years, Virtual YouTubers have been popping up all over the internet. Their massive spike in popularity alongside hardware and software requirements becoming more accessible has allowed even hobbyists to start dabbling in VTubing. However, anyone who’s considered starting their VTuber career has most likely done their research on VTuber models and probably wondered why they’re so expensive.
So, today we’re going to look at why they’re so expensive and a few places where we can get them for a reasonable price.
What Is A VTuber Model?
If you want to start VTubing the main thing you’re going to need is a fully functional VTuber model. A VTuber model is essentially the virtual avatar that appears on screen, moving and talking just as the creator behind the camera does. VTuber models are mainly controlled by motion tracking software with some movements being mapped onto keys that express different animations. These are known as toggle animations but we’ll get onto this a little later.
VTuber models are a massive investment on the creator’s part as they will represent their entire online identity and persona. Hence, meticulous planning goes into this process. VTuber models can come as 2D or 3D avatars. They both have their pros and cons for what they allow the VTuber to do on screen and also come with a difference in price. 3D avatars tend to be more expensive as they require 3D modelling and have more moving parts.
With that being said, a well-made 2D avatar can sometimes be difficult to tell apart from a 3D avatar. Which is all the more reason for the high price tag.
Where To Get VTuber Models?
Creating a fully functional VTuber model is somewhat of a specialist job which is mostly why they cost so much. Some skilled members of the community like to make them from scratch all by themselves. This process can be rewarding and definitely save money. Unfortunately, those without any experience with graphic design, 3D modelling or animation will be at a bit of a loss. It’s totally possible to learn everything yourself but you’ll need a lot of time to set aside to work on your VTuber model.
VTuber models from professional artists can take weeks or even months at a time to create; so taking matters into your own hands can be significantly longer. The alternative solution that many creators opt for is a VTuber model commission. This is essentially paying a professional artist to create a VTuber model under your specifications. This is the easiest way to get a custom VTuber model without the hassle of making it yourself.
VTuber model commissions can be found all over the internet in places like VTuberArt, Fiverr, Etsy and Twitter. Going to places like Fiverr and Etsy can be cheaper but have hiccups sometimes as you run into scammers who produce plagiarised or unsatisfactory work. On the other hand, you have Twitter which can be great for finding talented independent artists. The only problem with this is that they can get extremely pricey and are subject to long waiting lists due to the high volume of submissions.
VTuberArt tends to be the most reliable as they have a dedicated team of artists to take on all commissions for a price that doesn’t break the bank.
How Much Do VTuber Models Cost?
Asking how much a VTuber model costs is quite a complicated question as there are so many variables to consider. It’s all dependent on the bespoke features that the customer is looking for. Some want full-body avatars whilst others only require the bust-upwards. The user might want a very intricate costume design or many different expressions that will all take time to design.
The average pricing for a 2D VTuber model can be anywhere between $200 – $2000 depending on the artist that commissions your VTuber. 3D models on the other hand have been known to go for as much as $5000 but the standard pricing is closer to $500 – $3000.
Why Are VTuber Models So Expensive?
If you’re a big-time VTuber or partnered with a VTuber talent agency then it’s likely that these prices won’t scare you. However, for the average Joe, this can be a lot of money to part with for something they’re unsure of. Thus here is a breakdown of why VTuber models are so expensive.
For both 2D and 3D models, an artist must have detailed illustrations for both reference and implementation into the avatar itself. When designing a 2D VTuber model, it isn’t as simple as just drawing a cool-looking anime character. The models have to be designed with movement in mind which is why they are designed in various different layers for each moving part.
3D modelling takes a lot of time to create as they often start with a 2D reference sheet showing the VTuber model from every angle, which will then be converted into a 3D model ready to be animated. Most 3D avatars tend to be full-body as the creators like to use full-body motion tracking with their 3D avatars due to increased limb dexterity and movement.
Animation & Rigging
This is another time-consuming and specialist job that VTuber artists have to complete. Animation is the process of creating the various movements that the avatar can perform. Things like crying faces, dances or poses. Rigging refers to the process of defining what movements trigger these expressions and animations.
Rigging and animation are often far more complex for 3D models due to the infuriating procedure of adding bones and physics to the character. Therefore 3D models incur more costs during this process. 2D models are no slouch either as many VTubers want numerous different expressions to make their avatars more lifelike. VTubers have to be able to react to anything that is thrown at them while live streaming so the more options the better.
Starting out as a VTuber can be a daunting task due to the expenses and technical know-how. However, if you want to get around some of the costs then we strongly recommend beginning with a simple 2D VTuber. If done well. It can be a pleasure to watch. A lot of the entertainment value comes from the voice acting and personality behind the avatar. So, while you may be limited by your budget in the early days, it’s the perfect time to practice the skills you need to make it in the big leagues.
Once you blow up or get scouted by Hololive then you can blow your budget on a fancy VTuber model like the other stars do!