Mio has a Vtuber Channel!

Hey everyone! Artist Panda here.

Some of you may know by now that I’ve got a Mio Vtuber channel now! I stream myself drawing, playing games, and chatting on Twitch a few times each week. It’s been a blast, because I’ve enjoyed the communication and collaboration with the peeps in chat. Especially when I do draw streams, like coming up with new character designs for Crush Crush – it’s super helpful and awesome to have feedback coming in live from the chat.

(3D Mio)

I wanted to do a lil blog post talking about my setup and how I got started as a Vtuber. Maybe dig a little into the process Twitch has, and other tools I use. Most of my setup I learned about by reading online or watching other Vtuber’s videos like Girl_DM has a bunch that explain how her setup works. But I’ll go into mine below!

(Screencap from Mio’s debut stream)

Early on I knew I wanted Mio to be my character since her persona is closely aligned with my own, and she’s kinda already based on me 😛 So developing her design/character traits was easy because she’s already been established in Crush Crush and Hush Hush. Plus I wanted to do a hybrid approach where, yes I am Mio, but I am also me – the Sad Panda Studios developer. It’s nice because I don’t have to worry about slipping out of character or breaking the 4th wall with the ‘lore’ – I’m just me, being me. But I can definitely appreciate the Vtubers who go the extra mile to stay in character for the persona they’ve created.

(Lovely reference sheet made by Osiimi)

I wanna go over the things I got working ahead of my ‘debut’ – since there was a ton of work and time put into it before I even had my first stream. This isn’t meant to be a list for everyone to follow, it’s just my own checklist that I had leading up to it. In case anyone was ever curious! I recommend any new Vtubers or wannabe streamers start much smaller than I did. If you can do the art and modeling/rigging on your own – do it! Otherwise costs will stack up pretty quick the more people you commission.

  1. I reached out to my talented artist friend Osiimi to help design the model sheet & outfit for Vtuber Mio, because I know she had some experience doing something similar with her own Vtuber. She also had connections to a super amazing 3D modeler, so I took advantage of that 🙂
  2. Once I was happy with the design, I reached out to Rui who took on the task of modeling and rigging my 3D model so I could have different expressions and 2 variations of my outfit (jacket on/off). I also asked him to set up some special functionality with the rig so Mio’s eyes would have tracking enabled (ARkit is what he called it).
  3. There are lots of software options for hooking up a Vtuber model to sync with your movements, but I decided on Luppet because it had the nicest looking movements. It’s Japanese software and was a little tricky to get working, I gotta say!
  4. I bought an app for my phone called iFacialMocap which captures my face using my phone’s selfy camera, and translates it to a 3D character on the screen. This facial data is then sent to my computer so I can pipe it into Luppet, and Mio’s model will be able to match my facial expressions and head movements the same way my phone is seeing it.
  5. While my model was being worked on, I ordered a few things – 
    1. One was a device called LeapMotion which is used to capture my hand movements. That was a tricky thing to get working, and I’m still not 100% happy with how it syncs up to my hand/arm motions so I might have to buy a proper necklace to hold it in place.
    2. The other thing I ordered during this time, was a logo for my streams/channel. I simply went to Fiverr and there were so many options with different price ranges, it was really nice. It’s helpful that Vtubers are so popular right now; it generates lots of interest from artists who do commissions.
    3. Along with the logo, I reached out to an animator in Japan, Hoopyon (whom I found on Twitter by checking out other Vtuber’s recommendations) to help create some animated stickers and interstitial screens.
    4. During all this, I decided to commission Osiimi for some illustrations of Mio to use as my interstitial screens (in case the animator took a long time). She got those done super quick and then I sent them to another person to animate.
    5. Then I found an awesomely talented designer on Twitter (Izu) who was up for making my overlay. That’s the screen that has all those pretty animated stars and buttons, and he even animated my logo for me 🙂
(Some stickers/emotes made by Hoopyon)

Once I had most of those things finished, like the model and logo, I was ready to put together a little intro video. I drafted up a script, got Witchy Panda’s help refining it, and recorded myself acting it out with my Mio model using the Leapmotion hand tracking and iFacialMocap to capture my expressions and movements. I put that together with my friend Screenhog (who has helped us make most of our game trailers) and after a few weeks it was ready to go!

(Screencap from the Intro video)

The whole process from original character design, to getting everything ready to launch took around 9 months. I debuted near the end of February, and the first stream went super smooth! I had no audio issues or internet dropouts (aside from the one at the very start… thanks Starlink >.>)

All that time I watched as many Vtuber videos as I could and instructional YouTubes about how to set up and use Twitch. Turns out there is a TON to learn. But I installed Streamlabs which made it easier, and leaned on some Pandas who had experience streaming to give me tips. At the end of the day, streaming is just one of those things you learn quickly once you start doing it. The schedule I’ve been sticking to is pretty demanding on my time, but I’m hopeful that it’ll become easier and will turn into a fun relaxing hobby. Of course I still get nervous just before going live on stream, but after a while it starts to feel like I’m just hanging out with a big group of friends. And it gives me time to game, which is something I really missed doing. I’m always working on making games so that was my ultimate goal with this whole Vtuber adventure – play more games and have fun! Even if nobody shows up to watch, it’s OK, because I’ll be doing what I love.

(This is my setup – you can see my mic, my leap motion attached to my collar, phone with facial tracking, etc)

Thanks to everyone who has checked out my streams. If you want to join a live chat then please consider following me on Twitch here: https://www.twitch.tv/mioschannel

Or if you just want to watch some of my past streams, they’re all archived on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKVx-05Sz1vYHwUZsCC9ehQ

I love you so hard!

~Artist Panda

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