Since exploding in popularity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, vtubing has continued to grow as many content creators opt into using a virtual avatar over a webcam to represent themselves on stream. This digest follows Mogtalk: Episode 244, featuring vtubers Xyros, Spofie, Stal, Kaiyoko Star, and Kiri Ahri as they join Frosty in discussing the ins and outs of being a vtuber in the Final Fantasy XIV community.
Known for his bunny rabbit hoodie, Xyros has been playing FFXIV since Heavensward and got into vtubing after seeing models that were easily accessible. Streaming FFXIV every night on Twitch, Spofie is a Lalafell vtuber who is dubbed a “just crafting” streamer by her community.
Stal is another Lalafell vtuber who has been using a virtual model for an entire year. Kaiyoko Star is a cat girl vtuber who is known for creating solutions for Fashion Report, a Gold Saucer minigame that gives players hints to find the best outfit for MGP.
Last but not least, Kiri Ahri is another cat girl vtuber who describes her stream to be full of chaotic, high energy fun.
FrostyTV: I just realized that we have three cat people and two potatoes on the show. [4:45]
Xyros: What’s up with this human? He’s nasty. [5:13]
FrostyTV: I could have done vtubing, but my stuff would look really cheap and bad, although that could have been funny. I think it’s more entertaining for me to not do vtubing for this show and be surrounded by awesome vtubers. Some people watching the show might be confused because not everyone knows what vtubing is. When I was talking to my friends yesterday, they asked, “What’s a vtuber?” Can someone explain vtubing? [5:30]
Spofie: For me, vtubing gives me more freedom to express myself. I have social anxiety, and there is a lot of pressure to be on camera with streaming. Vtubing makes it easier to express myself through a character, like when playing FFXIV. [6:32]
Xyros: I just thought it looked cool. [7:31]
Kiri Ahri: I think that vtubing originated as another form of content creation and entertainment a long time ago. Only in the last year or so has it hit the western world and really blown up in popularity. A lot of people use it as character creation and a way of giving life to their characters. For me, I don’t really portray a character. I use my avatar and be my own goofy, dumb self, and it has helped me expressed myself in a way that I am much more comfortable with. [7:32]
Kaiyoko Star: A lot of the reach vtubing has gotten in the western world is thanks to Hololive and the pandemic. Many people at home wanted entertainment. With a lot of time on their hands, people started researching how to get involved in this, and artists started figuring out how to make rigs while having this free time. [8:15]
Kiri Ahri: I get to stream without pants now, so that’s kinda cool. [9:00]
Stal: I’ve never used a face cam or anything due to anxiety, and I’m not very good with the whole social thing. I actually thought about being a vtuber for a long time because I thought it’d be nice to have something on the screen as a form of interaction. The artists that I’ve worked with while streaming started dabbling into the whole vtubing scene, so I decided to jump in on it. [9:32]
FrostyTV: There’s so many different forms of vtubing and technology that goes into it. For example, Xyros has the ability to move his hands, right?
Xyros: Because I have a 3D rig, my hands are connected to a motion controller that can track what I’m doing with my hands. [10:33]
Frosty then mentioned CodeMiko, a 3D rendered character that has taken Twitch by storm. Known for the hilarious shenanigans that have been coded for her stream, she is rumored to have spent upwards of 20-30 thousand dollars on her motion capture suit.
Kaiyoko recommends those interested in vtubing to start for little to no cost with pngtubing, which involves using interactive images on stream.
FrostyTV: I remember seeing vtubing explode around the start of 2020. Is that when it started? [13:25]
Kaiyoko Star: That’s when it really exploded, but it started before on YouTube with creators like Kizuna AI. At the time, the technology was a lot less developed. Over the years, it gradually got more and more intense. [13:37]
FrostyTV: I remember thinking that this technology was the smartest thing that’s ever happened to the streaming world. People are often horrible to streamers when they show their face. They stalk them and say stupid stuff. Vtubing gets rid of half of that, right? Streamers can also make a character and be who they want to be on stream. [14:23]
Xyros: Before, I never wanted to stream with a webcam on because I didn’t want to be stared at. Now, I have a cute little character that does hand motions, which is more interesting to me. Vtubing gives your channel a bit more of its own personal flavor. You can put yourself into a character that others can relate to a bit better. This avatar is also hilarious when it makes mistakes, and I absolutely love the little glitches it does. [16:27]
Spofie: For me, I realized that being on camera was negatively affecting me. After doing some self-reflection, I realized I no longer wanted to be on camera. Twitch comments were getting me to the point where I wanted to change my appearance. At first, I was just doing no cam streams, but it evolved into me actually expressing myself through vtubing again. [18:15]
Kiri Ahri: My biggest anxiety before streaming was using my cam. People used to comment when I looked tired or didn’t do my hair. That stuff really does affect your psyche, especially dealing with people analyzing your mood and what you’re thinking. This is the first year I’ve streamed consistently due to previously taking long breaks from the mental fatigue and anxiety that stemmed from it all. [19:05]
Stal: One the reasons I didn’t want to use facecam was because of the issues with streamers getting doxxed. There was a time when viewers looked into the eyes of streamers and used their reflection to determine where they lived. I was so afraid that I went so far as to not speak in real life because my voice is really distinct. If anyone heard my voice, they would immediately know it was me. After getting a vtuber model, my stream started blowing up, and my interactions with chat got a lot better. [22:43]
Kaiyoko Star: My online presence has always been based on my character. I try not to use my real life as much as possible. In general, vtubing gave me an outlet to use my character to represent my online self in a different way. [24:47]
FrostyTV: There’s different types of vtubing in general. Some people want to be a character that is not them at all, and others want to represent themselves and their emotions. [26:25]
FrostyTV: Maybe I shouldn’t ask this, but are you spending a lot on vtubing? [31:01]
Xyros: Considering that I’m about to go through a whole rebranding, yes. It is expensive. [31:36]
Kiri Ahri: The real answer is that you can start for free. Then, the budget can range anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands. I’ve seen people spend upwards of 5-10 thousand and others spend a couple hundred. [32:01]
Kaiyoko Star: There’s also a cost involved depending on how expensive you want to be with your camera. On the high end, you need at least an iPhone because the face ID gives better tracking when using 2D. [32:43]
FrostyTV: Regarding the FFXIV community, is there anything unique about vtubing within this community? [34:45]
Kiri Ahri: There’s something special in the FFXIV community. Vtubing allows everyone the opportunity to express their characters and OCs, especially in the roleplaying scene. [35:13]
Spofie: A large majority of people are expressing their characters from the game in some way. [35:28]
FrostyTV: Next, let’s talk about some of the problems people may have with vtubing. [37:35]
Spofie: It’s still new. Since it’s getting more popular, it’s getting progressively easier. [38:07]
Kaiyoko Star: It takes a lot of research to understand all of the different resources available to you. There’s tons of technology plug-in wise for various tools, like Vtuber Studio. [38:29]
FrostyTV: It sounds like you almost need to be an IT professional. [39:07]
Xyros: You find these tools and need to figure out how it works with the program you use. It stacks on top of itself. Apparently, there’s an update for the app that I use that let’s me wink. [39:27]
Spofie: When I transitioned from camera to vtubing, I expected it to be really tough on my channel due to it being such a drastic change. Very few people disliked it, and even those who did stuck around anyway. [42:47]
FrostyTV: What you were doing before isn’t what you wanted to do. It doesn’t matter what they think because it’s what you want to do. My thought process is that if you’re not happy, then there’s no reason for you to be doing it. [43:29]
FrostyTV: What are some of your ideas on how vtubing can become more technologically advanced or prominent in the future? [52:10]
Kiri Ahri: With Pokimane and some of these really big content creators getting into it, I think it’ll be a more normal thing to see. [52:22]
Kaiyoko Star: I’ve already seen vtubing in sponsorships already. There’s a vtuber that’s sponsored by Cloud9. I also think that the technology around it is going to become even more accessible. You can already use Live 2D apps with your phone and customize a character using default models. They’re not super elaborate, but I do foresee a character creator with a bunch of Live 2D assets being available at some point. [52:39]
Xyros: We’ll know it’s really big when people are able to make their own Sonic OCs. [54:38]
The group of vtubers then went on to happily explain to Frosty what Sonic original characters are, along with the meme of using Google to search your name followed by “Sonic.”
FrostyTV: Next, I’d like to talk about some of the negativity out there towards vtubers, so listeners can understand these struggles. What negativity have you faced since you started vtubing? [58:12]
Kiri Ahri: I think that people feel like they don’t have as many boundaries because they don’t see you as a real person. They say more offensive stuff because they think they’re talking to a character, not a person. [59:25]
Stal: Even without the vtuber thing, a lot of people have an issue with my voice. You get used to it after a while. [1:02:09]
Xyros: You do get comments about how your avatar doesn’t match the voice. Sometimes, people say “that’s not what you really look like.” No shit! [1:02:20]
Spofie: Sometimes people mistake you changing their perception of you as you being fake. Maybe you are just trying something different or exploring a different facet of your personality. When they see you in a different way, they may think you’re putting on a front. Everyone is so deep with many different parts of them that they may not even know about yet. [1:05:04]
FrostyTV: That’s true. With vtubing, you can explore your own personality. [1:05:33]
Next, Frosty opened the floor for the vtubers to discuss anything they’d like concerning the realm of vtubing.
Xyros: Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about how there is a specific way of vtubing and how many people are moving away from this specific way. There was a tweet about how you shouldn’t be hot or pretty on screen if you’re average looking in real life. Others are upset that some vtubers don’t have a story for their character, but there’s so many ways you can go about doing this. [1:19:02]
Spofie: Someone was upset at vtubers posting real-life selfies and claimed that their immersion was ruined. [1:19:51]
Stal: I feel so bad for them because some of them end up getting doxxed. [1:19:58]
The group of vtubers then tried to convince Frosty to join them in the world of vtubing, suggesting he use the big moogle suit as an inspiration for his model.
FrostyTV: I have thought about being a vtuber myself and doing that instead. It feels so much better. [1:29:16]
Kaiyoko Star: I think you’re infected. It’s coming soon. [1:29:47]
Kiri Ahri: We have to upgrade, Frosty. We need that model. [1:30:33]
FrostyTV: What else is there about vtubing that you think people might want to know? [1:36:04]
Stal: I think a lot of people may want to know exactly how much it costs. [1:36:12]
Kiri Ahri: There’s not a good answer. It could be anywhere from 50 dollars to thousands. [1:36:17]
Stal: I try to describe it that way to people, but they always want a price range. [1:36:25]
Spofie: I’m pretty comfortable with sharing. As a disclaimer, getting a vtuber model is like commissioning art. There’s no real indicator of what each artist is going to charge. My original vtuber model was around 800 before I added other expressions. [1:36:35]
Kiri Ahri: I started around 1100. I have a full model, though. You can go for half models, which are more affordable as well. [1:37:00]
FrostyTV: Does that include all the equipment, like the cameras? [1:37:12]
Kiri Ahri: No. That’s for art and rig only. [1:37:19]
Kaiyoko Star: It also depends on whether the person who makes your model also does your rig. In my original model’s case, the artist did the model and the rigging. This model has a completely separate artist from the rigger. In that case, two people must coordinate to set it up. [1:37:27]
Stal: Is it difficult to coordinate? [1:38:00]
Kaiyoko Star: I actually went to two people who had previously worked together, which is why I was scared to work with a rigger who hadn’t previously worked with a specific artist. [1:38:10]
FrostyTV: Can you explain rigging to me? [1:38:31]
Kiri Ahri: Rigging is the motions that happen when the iPhone or webcam tracks the person moving. The rigger must preset motion parameters from point a to point b that it will follow. [1:38:39]
Stal: Every strand of hair moving and everything that you see moving is all done by rigging. [1:38:57]
Kiri Ahri: They must separate each item, like each strand of hair, and it will follow your movement. There’s a lot more tutorials now about rigging. People were very secretive about their techniques for a while. [1:39:14]
Xyros: The models are cut up into very little pieces. It’s not like you’re taking a flat image and animating it. For example, my hat is probably over one hundred pieces. [1:40:30]
The vtubers also explained that artists raise their prices as they gain more experience and the demand for vtubing grows. Because of this, the prices they listed on the show may not be completely accurate to what someone might spend on a model today.
MogTalk is a weekly podcast airing every Saturday at 5PM ET on twitch.tv/Frosty_TV. The show is entirely focused on bringing the community together to discuss topics of interest regarding FFXIV, including patch notes, game mechanics, and raid insights. Mogtalk Digests are now available thanks to Patreon supporters! If you are interested in supporting all of the content MogTalk has to offer, please visit our Patreon page.