5 Tips For Designing A VTuber Avatar

Hello, everyone! As some of you may know, I have been making some guides for people who want to become VTubers, but are hung-up on the character creation aspect. Today’s guide focuses specifically on crafting the visual components of your avatar.

While I was making my own avatar, I realized that creating a VTuber avatar is very similar to designing an original character, but I wanted to share my own tips for creating a character that is unique to you. For the purposes of this article, I will be using my own avatar as an example, but I recognize that it is nowhere near perfect. Anyway, let’s get into the tips.

Tip #1: Come Up With A Persona & Go From There

I have a whole guide on this here and I think that getting this out of the way first makes the whole process of creating an avatar run much smoother. Knowing what your character is like personality-wise can help you make decisions about what visual traits suit them best. Is your character a fiery gamer? You could give them spiky hair or make it a color that reflects that energy. Is your character more mature and calm? This can be shown by giving the character smaller eyes and using a mellow color palette. When making anime-styled characters, it is important to remember that their personality influences their physical appearance more often than not.

Tip #2: List Physical Traits That You Like From Other Characters

This isn’t limited to just other VTubers or even anime characters because you can draw inspiration from anywhere! Look at different outfits that you like or people that you look up to. It might be easiest to look at anime characters, especially if you intend to have an anime-styled avatar, but you are not confined to it.

When I was trying to design my avatar, I realized red eye-makeup was a trait that I really liked on anime characters. So, I added it to my list. I then looked at traits that I liked from other characters and began choosing other details that I would like to add. I even added freckles because I have them in real life and didn’t see many other avatars with them when I created mine. Take time to explore all of the possibilities.

(Older model) An example of Ashelynn’s freckles and eye make-up

Tip #3: Take Personality Quizzes For Certain Physical Traits

As I mentioned earlier, anime-styled characters tend to have physical traits that correlate with their personalities. If you understand your character’s personality, but aren’t sure how to reflect it in their appearance, try taking some personality quizzes online. Start with simple ones like “What is your anime hair color” and things like that. If your avatar is based on yourself rather than its own character, answer the questions the way that you normally would. If your avatar is being made for a character you want to act as, answer the questions as if you are that character.

Just remember that your results from these quizzes don’t have to determine how you create your avatar and are just a fun way to weigh your options.

Tip #4: Make Your Avatar’s Appearance Reflect Your Content

This may seem basic, but a lot of people forget it when they first try to design their avatar. Are you a gamer that is planning on streaming gameplay? Try giving your avatar some headphones or apparel from your favorite game. You could even make your character reflect your job in real life if you want to. In my case, my avatar is an elf because I enjoy writing fantasy stories and I thought that having a fantasy-related avatar would reflect my main content. I also gave her a semi-colon tattoo for suicide prevention awareness because it reflects a cause that I care deeply about while also keeping to the theme of writing. (The tattoo is also designed to look like a cat, but that is mostly because I love cats.)

(Old model) A picture showing Ashelynn’s elf ears and tattoo, which are mentioned above.

Try to be aware of your limitations, though. Different programs have different limits when it comes to making avatars, so try to keep that in mind. Making an avatar in VRoid Studio has different limits than one made for Live 2D.

Tip #5: Give Your Avatar Memorable Features

This is one of the most important parts. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen VTubers with very similar avatars to other VTubers. For example, there are at least a dozen VTubers out there that can be described as a “white-haired neko girl”. I’m not saying that you can’t be a white-haired neko girl, but try to give your avatar enough unique traits so that they become distinguishable from the others. This can be in the form of specific styles of makeup and hair, tattoos/markings, piercings, etc.

I did this with my old avatar by making her different from the other elf VTubers that you normally see online. For example, her hair is a different color from most of the ones that you would see on a simple Google search. Paired with her tattoo, clothing, and freckles, she stands out from the others and becomes more recognizable. Try to experiment with this! You may be surprised by what you come up with.

A picture of Ashelynn’s ombre hair, which is the part of her design that I get the most compliments on.

Bonus Tip #1: Make Pinterest Boards For Your Avatars

I used Pinterest every step of the way when designing my avatar and it has been a life-saver. You can make separate boards for each of your avatars and then use sections to sort images that show the kinds of eyes, outfits, and hairstyles you want to give your avatar. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. (No, I am not sponsored, I just really love using Pinterest.)

Bonus Tip #2: Make Sketched of Your Avatar Before You Make It

This is something that I do whenever I am planning any sort of redesign. Even if you aren’t very artistic, you should try this at least once. Since I use VRoid Studio and Unity for my models, I usually just take a picture of my model and sketch any clothes or details that I want on it in Autodesk Sketchbook. That way I can see what looks right or wrong before I spend hours making everything in VRoid Studio or adding 3D objects in Unity. Overall, sketching my designs beforehand has saved me a lot of time and also helps me envision what the final product will look like.

I hope these tips helped you with trying to design your VTuber avatar and thank you for reading this little article. If it did help, please let me know with a like or a comment below! Is your avatar going to be 3D or 2D? Tell me! I would love to hear from you guys!

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day.

How To Make A VTuber Persona

Hello, everyone! Today I wanted to address something that I struggled with when I was first trying to become a VTuber. I wanted to be a VTuber for years, but I didn’t know where to start. I tried looking for information online, but I noticed that everything seemed to point to how to physically create a virtual avatar, but not how to find the personality behind it. I also couldn’t find information about how to come up with personas for these characters and make them unique and genuine. So, I wanted to share the three things that I did to find my VTuber persona.

Sidenote: This guide will not focus so much on the visual details of the character/avatar, but rather their core personality. If you would like to see tips that relate to your avatar’s appearance, check out this post, but I recommend that you at least skim through this one first. Going through the steps below will help you along in the next guide.

Step 1: Find Your Content & Purpose

Believe it or not, this may heavily influence the development of your VTuber personality and maybe even your avatar’s general appearance. Usually, when starting out with anything creative like VTubing, you will want to have a general idea of what you are setting out to do. Try to make a list of what you would like to do as a VTuber if you can. If you want to share gameplay videos, consider what kind of games you like to play and how you can use elements from these to make your character unique to you. The same could be said if you are planning on creating music, too; try to take the genre that you are focusing on and make your character take on traits that people expect of that genre. For example, if you are a streamer that plays fighting games, you might want to give your character a fiery or assertive personality. On the other hand, if you want to write and perform love songs, you can make your character seem very sweet and cute. You can also try to do the opposite to subvert people’s expectations, but be careful when doing so. Try to consider what sort of personality vibes best with your content.

Another question to ask yourself is why you want to create this specific kind of content. Does gaming genuinely make you happy? Express that! Is there a specific reason why you are writing or covering the songs that you are? These things can also bleed into your persona and work as a mission statement to keep you focused.

When I listed the answers to these questions, I noticed that I mainly wanted my content to revolve around my fantasy stories, gaming, and song covers. This led to me making my character into a friendly elf (since I write fantasy) with a very feminine appearance (to match my singing voice). This made it a little easier to solidify the personality I wanted to convey and even some aspects of my avatar’s design.

Step 2: Decide If You Want To Act As A Fictional Character or Be Your Regular Self

This part may be a little tricky and I struggled with it when I was first conceptualizing my VTuber persona. As you may know, some VTubers use their avatars to act as a character that is separate from their IRL selves (this is especially common in Hololive VTubers, such as Mori Calliope). Others create their avatars to be a virtual representation of themselves. There is no right or wrong way to create a persona and I think this part mostly depends on the content you are trying to make.

When I was initially coming up with the concept for my own persona, I wanted to act as a character separate from myself. However, I quickly realized that this would limit what I could talk about with my viewers and readers. If I strictly stuck with this sort of character, then I wouldn’t be able to discuss some of my personal experiences that I feel bring more of a meaning and purpose to my content without going way out of character. So, I decided to make my avatar as some sort of hybrid between the two. Ashelynn is a character who can also act as a direct representation of myself if I want. This was also influenced by the next step in this guide, which is . . .

Step 3: Come Up With A Backstory For Your Character

This step essentially focuses on finding the reasons why your character is the way they are. I would recommend using character planning sheets or questionnaires for this one. (They can be found all over Pinterest and Google, mainly on websites that revolve around writing.) Was your character once the ruler of some domain, but they were kicked out and now stream gameplay instead? What experiences from your own life can you bring into this character’s backstory to make them seem more authentic? It’s very similar to creating the backstory for a fictional character because, in a way, you are. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different things out to see what fits your persona best. You could also come up with a basic premise for their backstory and wing it if you want to, but try to be consistent during your streams and videos.

When I was brainstorming one for my persona, I came up with the idea of her being an elf that was reverse-isekaied into the human world. She writes stories and sings songs in order to keep in touch with her homeworld’s culture, which greatly values storytelling in different forms. While there are holes in this backstory, especially why my real-life experiences come in, I still enjoyed creating it and exploring the different ways that it would influence her personality and behavior.

This can also be helpful if you decide not to act as a fictional character while you are VTubing. How much of your real life do you want to influence your presence as a VTuber? Are there any experiences that influence your content? What sort of things are you comfortable talking about on your channel? What is off-limits? How much of your personal life are you willing to share? It is always good to lay down boundaries for what you are and are not willing to discuss online. Using character questionnaires to describe yourself can also help you find a way to summarize your real-life backstory as well, if you so choose.

By following these steps, you should have a pretty good basis for your VTuber persona. Thank you for reading this little guide! If you are still interested, feel free to check out my next guide, which gives tips on how to come up with the visual details of your avatar.

If this helped, please let me know with a like or a comment below! Did you come up with any fun ideas for your own avatar? Feel free to share them in a comment. I would love to hear from you guys!

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day.