11 Amazing VTuber Expressions: A Must Have For Your Model
Just to quickly answer the question what is a VTuber? VTubers are Virtual YouTubers who are extremely fun and charismatic avatars, thanks to their ability to perform expressions. They are controlled by a human so the nature of being able to express emotion makes their content so much more interesting to watch, hence why many creators invest so much time and effort into expressions on their VTuber models.
Getting expressions right is super important, as no one wants to watch an unresponsive, buggy cartoon. Instead, when we’re presented with a fully rigged and animated VTuber model that can seamlessly switch between expressions, it can really bring the character to life. Today we’re going to look at some of the best expressions you can include on your VTuber model, and maybe a few places to get them done.
How Do VTuber Expressions Work?
VTuber expressions are a pretty simple concept but difficult to execute well. For most 2D VTubers it’s very dependent on the rigging. Rigging is essentially defining the movements that can be picked up and displayed by your motion-tracking software. VTuber rigging is a specialist job that requires a lot of patience and fiddling around. However, it’s not uncommon for most VTuber artists to be well-versed in rigging.
In order for an expression to be displayed by your VTuber model parameters need to be set in order to trigger it. For instance, laughing will be triggered by the user closing their eyes, opening their mouth and tilting their head back. Assigning movements like this depend on the parameters set whilst in the rigging process and how sensitive the tracking software is.
Each expression is a custom face that is designed for your VTuber to display when the right trigger is activated. Some expressions won’t be drastically different from the default face of your avatar so luckily you will not need a whole new expression. For these you can rely on the accuracy of your tracking software to show the face you’re pulling.
As you can imagine there is a lot of room for things to go wrong, especially when a VTuber model can have upwards of 15 expressions. Hence, toggle animations were created. Toggle animations are essentially movements that can be mapped to a button and turned on or off. Most VTubers will have some of these at their disposal, being able to press a button to show their sad face and then turn it off when they’ve gotten their point across. It’s way easier than holding a sulky face every time you’re upset on stream.
The main benefit of having animations triggered by facial movements is that you maintain the ability to be expressive while doing other things on stream. Many VTubers love to do Let’s Plays and various other activities on stream that require high concentration. It would be pretty difficult to toggle expressions while playing video games or vice versa.
Inugami Korone Live VTuber Expressions
Must-Have VTuber Expressions
When VTubers stream they have to be ready for any situation given the unpredictability of live content. Of course, those who make prerecorded videos have the luxury of doing multiple takes but still, good expressions are essential. So, here are some of the must-have expressions for your VTuber model.
A lot of VTuber models like to have a smile or happy face as their default position. Of course, this depends on your character and VTuber model, if you’re a demon from another dimension you might not be so welcoming all the time. It’s also important to note that the best-performing VTuber streams are happy and uplifting with a lot of their time spent laughing. So much so, they have multiple different happy expressions in order to prevent the stream from getting bland.
We’re not saying you need to go this far but it is still crucial to have a good clear happy expression to use throughout your content.
Sometimes during your streams, things aren’t always going to go your way. You might get matched up with terrible teammates, react to an annoying video or even get frustrated with setting something up. Regardless, it’s always great to have an angry face in your back pocket. Most VTubers follow an anime art style so it’s really common to have the typical red anger symbol appear in the top corners of their head. Some faces show moderate anger while some show pure burning rage where only the whites of their eyes become visible.
Hopefully, your anger expression won’t be used all the time but they can be great to sprinkle in every now and then for comedic effect.
This expression is perfect for those who dabble in horror games. Pulling a scared face can be a great way to build tension for your viewers as something spooky is happening. Amazing jumpscare reactions make viral clips on Twitch with YouTube channels being dedicated to the top jumpscares of the week. But this isn’t just reserved for gamers as you might have to react to a video a viewer has sent you or even something that they’ve said in chat.
Frightened faces can best be outlined with wide eyes, an even wider mouth and droplets of sweat dotted around the forehead and face.
If you’re a cute VTuber then this is something you’ll definitely need in your expression repertoire. In order to bring your VTuber model to life, we need to give them a sense of self-awareness. What better way to do that than with a blush when they get self-conscious? There will undoubtedly be plenty of instances where viewers or collaborators will comment on your beauty, blushing is a great way to show how you feel about that.
Some popular VTubers such as Gawr Gura and Ironmouse are renowned for their blushing faces that make them exponentially more adorable.
The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” may come in handy here. Hopefully, when things go well you’ll be entertaining a chat full of thousands of people, now with this inevitably comes the stress of calming them down. There might be instances where your chat can say some inappropriate things, rather than telling them every time you’re disappointed with their behaviour it can be easier just to show them with an expression.
The disappointed face can be stern showing a touch of disgust or it can be more of a sad and unapproving look. Make sure that you cater it towards the personality of your VTuber.
Sometimes it’s best to prevent embarrassment on stream by showing that we’re confused and that there may be silly mistakes on the horizon. For those who play video games on stream, this expression will certainly come in handy. Whether you’re struggling to solve a tricky puzzle or can’t figure out where to go next in a level your confused face will be a saving grace.
Some confused faces like to be depicted with a dull and gormless stare accompanied by a bunch of question marks. In recent times some VTubers have even added a loading symbol that spins around on their head to show that the cogs are really turning.
Let’s face it, embarrassing moments are going to take place on stream so having an expression to acknowledge it can add so much more character to your VTuber. Also, an embarrassed face is very commonly used amongst ditzy and bubbly VTubers as it creates a cute aura of innocence around their mistakes.
The embarrassed face includes a blush but usually has a wobbly or partially open mouth, alongside a few beads of sweat on the face.
You know those times when you were right and you just wanted to rub it in the other person’s face? Well, a smug face is a hilarious way to show it. In recent times the smug face has increased in popularity probably due to the increasing level of interaction with the chat. After all, there are always plenty of know-it-alls in chats so it’s nice to be proud when you prove them wrong.
The typical tropes of a smug face usually include squinted eyes accompanied by a cocky grin. But some VTubers like to make it way more comedic by slapping a pair of sunglasses on their model just for these special moments.
The joys of streaming can present loads of shocking moments so we have to be prepared with a surprised expression. The surprised expression has to be one of the more versatile expressions as it might need to show excitement or worry. It’s common for VTuber to have two different expressions in this case but it could easily be substituted by something like frightened.
Surprised faces can show wide starry eyes or an iconic O-shaped mouth.
A wink expression is a great deal of fun when you’re looking to be playful, cheeky or flirty. Sometimes it’s not necessary to design a whole new expression for the VTuber as it can be picked up by the tracking software when one eye is closed. But if you’re looking to go the extra mile you can add more detail and make it a toggle animation.
This is just a dramatic way to show sadness, but it can be extremely effective and entertaining. For those anime lovers out there, you will be familiar with how quickly characters can switch from being happy into a gushing river of tears. The chaotic nature of these excessive emotions makes the stream so much fun to watch.
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VTuber Bao’s Expression Chart
How Do I Create VTuber Expressions?
Creating VTuber expressions is normally an integral part of making a VTuber from scratch. It will require some experience with graphic design and animation but if you’re patient enough to learn then there’s no reason why you can’t do it yourself. It’s best to familiarise yourself with the process of how to make a VTuber avatar so that you understand what we’re referring to here.
To make expressions for your VTuber you will need access to graphic design software like Photoshop, GIMP or Clip Studio Paint. And you will also need the PSD file of your existing VTuber avatar. Here we are going to be creating different expressions for our VTuber to display once we’re ready to activate them.
Now it’s important to note that some expressions can be made without any additional layers or faces being created. In fact, they can be made and rigged in Live2D Cubism using parameters and deformers. This essentially means moulding the existing parts of the face we have into the desired expression that we’re looking for.
In the graphic design software of your choice, you will be adding things like anger lines, tears and various changes to the facial features of your VTuber model. Once you’re happy with the layers save them. Now it’s time for the difficult part. Adding and rigging the various different expressions.
In order to add and rig expressions for your VTuber, you will need to download Live2D Cubism or VTube Studio. Both are free and are entirely based on your personal preference. The process of rigging the expressions is best explained in these tutorials:
2D VTuber Expression Tutorial
3D VTuber Expression Tutorial
Where To Get VTuber A VTuber Model With Expressions?
Online there are a few VTuber maker software that can be used to make one for free. Of course, the customisation options will be limited as well as the variety of expressions, however, you can’t go wrong if it’s free. Obviously, as you get more comfortable with VTubing you’ll need to scale up with your own custom VTuber model but these can be great to start out:
- VRoid Studio
- VTuber Maker
- Ready Player Me
- Animaze by Facerig
If you’d like someone to take care of your entire VTuber model including the expressions and rigging, then look no further! Professional artists work alongside their customers to bring their VTubers to life. It’s the best way to get ahold of the VTuber model of your dreams without any of the hassles involved in making it.
Some of the best places to find VTuber model commissions are Fiverr, Etsy, Twitter and VTuberArt. Sometimes it can be difficult to find an artist who’s available or better yet one that won’t break the bank. Here at VTuberArt, we wanted to provide a service that will take on all of your avatar commissions no matter what.
So, you provide us with the vision and we’ll do the rest!
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