Digital Avatars in VR
Virtual avatars are suddenly taking off for some very good reasons. Social gaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch to name just a few have huge opportunities for budding entertainers to share their personalities without having to appear on camera themselves. Having your personally designed avatar that can reflect your persona in a realistic way is such a superb way to keep your own image off camera but still get your content out for the world to see.
The technology and the level of creativity you can achieve with your finished avatar are varied but there is something here to suit all needs. With many apps on the market currently that start with simple 3D models and escalate quickly to full-face mapping moving in sync with your own facial muscles, the world really is your oyster when choosing the perfect digital buddy to express yourself with. Let’s get into it!
VTuber Maker is one of the most popular apps to date on the market. Available on Steam and with over 900 reviews and a rating of ‘mostly positive’ it’s a great place to start! The best of the app itself is free to download. You will need a Live3D account to use it but that’s the only prerequisite in getting started. In the own words of the creators: ‘No need to show your face, just use a webcam to enable your live talent and keep your privacy. More importantly, we provide a great number of 3D VTuber avatars and 3D assets and support customization and painting, so that your virtual live broadcast journey is creative and fun, not stereotyped or boring.
They’re not wrong either. Getting set up is very easy and if you’re not very creative, you can choose from one of the many pre-made examples within the app. Once you’ve your avatar ready to go, then the skies the limit. Use it to liven up your Zoom calls (maybe not your work ones though!). Create content on YouTube or stream live over Twitch with the avatar mimicking and staying in sync with your movements. Or take it further than that if you wish. Strap on your VR headset and use your newly created avatar to express yourself in VRChat. Visiting chat rooms and partaking in mini-games with your new buddy is all possible thanks to VTuber Maker! Your own VTuber avatar is at your fingertips. What an amazing experience!
The app is flexible with plenty of options and it’s easy to use. The potential uses are up to you! But don’t forget to set up your Live3D account first before you get started!
VTuber Maker and VTuber Editor all fall under the umbrella of the very successful Live3D program suite. A subscription with Live3D gives users access to a full range of content and assets for use on a generous list of platforms. Live3D can be used in tandem with successful platforms like Twitch, Skype, Zoom, TikTok, and Microsoft Teams to name but a few. You can opt for a free subscription but obviously there a different tariffs offering more and more options the more you decide to invest. Varying from zero dollars right the way up to 99.90 USD per month which is a little on the expensive side.
That said, for as little as 3.90 USD per month, you have access to ‘Lite Suite’ which has a lot to offer users and is more than enough for even the most dedicated creators. Boasting amazing options including 15 public avatars, 8 interaction effects, 20 prop assets, and unlimited editor assets. This is probably more than you will ever need. Our advice though, try the rather robust free option first and only upgrade if you feel you’re missing out on any of the paid-for options.
Whatever package you choose, it’s fair to say you’ll be impressed with the amount of content that’s now at your fingertips. Many users create their avatars to enhance their brand across multiple content creation sites which in turn boosts their income. To put it in more simple terms, the subscription pays for itself if used correctly. Definitely worth checking out if content creation is something that interests you.
This is probably the simplest app out there in terms of how to use it and what it’s for. Designed by Wolf3D, this creative app allows you to add your own avatar to VRChat in a matter of minutes. The idea and execution are really simple. All you need to do is take a selfie with your phone or camera and within minutes, the app will create a digital 3D model of you for use with VRChat. The finished product is actually quite impressive. Getting a realistic cartoonish avatar of yourself without any hard work is very impressive. Once you’ve imported your selfie, there are over 300 customization options to choose from to complete your look. So get the most stylish clothes and accessories to finish off your avatar and apply those perfect finishing touches. Designed to be used anywhere in the Metaverse but mostly a perfect fit for VRChat this app simply won’t let you down.
The website also boasts that its app is currently being used by over 2000 developers making it one of the most versatile and compatible apps currently on the market, topped by none. The support for VRChat and Animaze is also very impressive.
Wolf3D was founded back in 2014 and first started with 3D scanning and printing. The company has grown from strength to strength over the years. They have collaborated with huge companies such as Tencent, Huawei, HTC, Vodafone, High Fidelity and H&M among others. They have ran public scanners in active spots and can boast scanning over 20,000 human faces to the highest quality. This culmination of data and experience has lead to them becoming one of the most renowned names in the virtual avatar space. With their years of experience and strong work ethic, they have created realistic NPCs for some of the most famous games we all know and love today. It’s hard to dismiss a pedigree like that!
Another option now for you to try. FaceRig creators working in conjunction with Animaze focus on the upper body with your facial expressions being the star of the show here. Available from their own site with different subscription options. However, you can also try out free versions on Steam with pre-rendered models ready to go for your amusement. Check it out here.
The Animaze website offers far more scope, however. They have only two versions, free and paid. The free version is truly incredible though boasting the following for you to try out :
A ton of free fully customizable content:
Full-featured Character Creator
30+ free avatars
20+ free backgrounds
30+ free accessories
8+ voice effects
A ton of customization options for all content:
Ever-expanding tracking technologies set enabling you to better express yourself:
iPhone-based tracker – ARKit technology (best tracking there is!)
Best tier webcam-based tracker
4 audio-based tracking technologies
Ultraleap hands tracking
Axis Neuron full-body tracking
Mouse & Keyboard retargeting
gamepad triggers and hands control
triggerable special actions, special poses, and idle animations
plus a ton of procedural overrides and configuration options
10+ quick scenes slots to quickly change from one setup to another
4 Twitch actions that you can connect to your stream and react to your chat
Custom-tailored implementation and support for importing:
Custom Animaze Standard models
Live2D models (with support for Live2D animation standard and an Extended Live2D animation standard enabling enhanced expressivity)
VRM models (with support for VRoid animation standard and Perfect Sync)
Ready Player Me models
Unlimited streaming time with Animaze Virtual Camera
Unlimited Imports for backgrounds, avatars, and props
Realtime and offline video recording
The fun doesn’t stop there though. If you somehow exhaust all the free content and feel like you need more options then check out Animaze Plus! You can pay either 3.99USD a month or 19.99USD for a yearly subscription. The website goes to great lengths to explain that you do not need the Animaze Plus subscription unless you are earning over 500USD a month directly linked to your created content using their product. This is a remarkably frank and honest admittance from the developers and refreshing to see. Usually, companies are just out to take as much money off you as possible but here it’s not the case. The paid version covers commercial copyrights allowing you to earn more and removes watermarks from your content.
There is a lot of great stuff to sift through here and you’ll be hard pushed to get through it all. Simply a stunning amount of content for all your avatar needs. One that is worth your time and attention for sure!
Another free one here so what’s not to love. A 3D model creator that you can pick up on Steam for absolutely zero bucks here.
With over 2000 reviews currently on Steam and its current rating being ‘very positive’ this clearly is not one to pass up. The software itself is incredibly well balanced. Yes, there is a huge amount of options available but they’ve also made it easy to use so whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned 3D model creator, you’re going to have a good time here with VRoid Studio. With presets and adjustment sliders to play with, anyone can get to grips with creating their perfect avatar with as much or as little detail as desired.
The list of preset items including clothing, accessories, and hairstyles is simply staggering to look through. If you want to start from scratch though and design everything yourself from the ground up, then the software here is robust enough to support your every need. A 3D rendered preview updates in real-time as you draw, so you get to see instantly how your efforts are affecting the finished model for good or for bad!
Anyone who has ever used the create a wrestler portion of a WWE game or played around with recreating their own sporting heroes in MLB the Show franchise or The Sims will be very familiar with how the sliders and presets work. The detail available during creation is staggering. Being able to adjust every conceivable body part with the use of a slider opens up an endless wealth of creation. The finished results will speak for themselves and whatever your mind can dream up is very possible using VRoid Studio.
The fact that this detailed package can comfortably cater to professional 3D model makers and amateur enthusiasts with zero previous experience is quite impressive. Add to that the fact that it’s free to use and you’re definitely on to a winner here. Your finished model is downloadable and yours to own freely as a VRM file. This can then be used with any flatscreen or virtual reality app that supports VRM files. Simply a fantastic way to bring your own creations to life. Not one to be missed!
TafiAvatar is an avatar creator designed specifically for use with PC VR and Oculus. The app makes it easy to create the perfect avatar for use in VrChat. Whether you’re a PC owner or a Quest headset user, the developers have made it really easy for you to get up and running with your perfect digital representative! It basically has three simple steps.
Download the App
Create and customize your avatar
Export it for use in VRChat
Sounds really simple in essence and it is. The focus here is to work directly with VRChat so no matter what platform you’re on or what headset you’re using, TafiAvatars makes the process seamless and easy to follow. Endlessly tweak and adjust your avatar, whenever you want. Morph your species, skin, hair, and eyes, to change your look in minutes. Once created, you have over 400 options to customize your avatar and add those perfect finishing touches. Choose from a range of body types, hairstyles, tattoos, accessories, and even make-up to tweak your overall look and make the most adventurous avatar your mind can come up with.
TafiAvatars in conjunction with N-IX have an amazing work ethic and their own description of their app is worth repeating: Tafi Production shared with N-iX team their vision of the project and provided references for nearly every customization component. To accomplish the Client’s tasks, N-iX Game & VR team took the following steps:
3D Modeling. Our team sculpted high-poly models using ZBrush and provided them to the Client for feedback. After approval, our dedicated artists brought each item, from jeans and sneakers to space costumes and Halloween masks, to a distinctive low-poly style of TafiAvatars: VRChat Edition copy.
Animation. Our talented animators made many body and facial animations to make avatars react to appearance changes applied by a user in the Tafi Avatar creation tool. Additionally, we created animations for VRChat to help users express their emotions.
UX. Our team worked hand-to-hand with the Tafi development team to design meaningful and relevant user experiences.
E-commerce. The best customization items can be bought from the in-game store. Our game design team developed and implemented the game economy system based on the grade & rarity of customization components.
Quality assurance. To minimize the number of bugs and glitches, N-iX team tested all provided customization components.
Hard to argue with a vision like that. The results also speak for themselves. The seamless integration between downloading the app and experiencing your finished results in VRChat is amazing. It’s quick and easy with no fuss. Easy to use, great scope for being creative and an overall quality finished product for free. What’s not to love, go check it out!
Last but definitely not least, we have VRCMods! What’s better than creating your own avatar or assets you ask? Well having them made for you of course! Welcome to VRCMods. This is one of the largest freely downloadable library of digital avatars and creations you’ll find. You can simply browse through the astonishingly large library, find what you like and download it. No need to create your own. No need to tweak or customize your own piece of art … .it’s all already done for you! Of course, you lose out a little on not sharing your creative vision and bringing it to fruition but you also have zero hassle in getting your chosen avatar up and running in VRChat!
From famous cartoon characters, anime, and manga you’re bound to come across something you like. The library is simply staggering and all needs can be catered for. The website is also easy to navigate and you can select to see the most popular or most recent uploads that have been publicly shared. Apart from avatars, you can download other assets and animations the pad out your finished avatars. If you like what you see and are feeling generous, you can support the website developers on Patreon here.
So have at it! Not everyone has a creative streak or even the time to dedicate to creations so this is the perfect solution. Find something you like and download it. It’s as easy as that!
That’s our list folks. Plenty to get you started with and enough variety to cater to all needs. Everyone is different though, so we hope you find exactly what suits your needs. In any case, there is a huge selection on offer here and whether you’re a YouTuber, Gamer, Content Creator,, or just dipping your toe into the Metaverse, we’ve got everything you need to get you started. Now go, explore and enjoy! Put a smile on your digital faces!!