How This Aussie Artist Made a Career Designing Vtuber Models For Twitch Streamers

How This Aussie Artist Made a Career Designing Vtuber Models For Twitch Streamers

The streaming boom over the past two years has opened up many new careers, from asset creators to programmers. Within the vtubing space, avatar designers like 2wintails have flourished.

In case you’re not familiar, a vtuber is a streamer on Twitch or YouTube that uses an avatar (an icon or figure representing a particular person or thing). Avatar designers, like 2wintails, create and “rig” those models, making sure they sync up with how the streamer moves and acts through the camera. Vtubing is when you stream while using one of these models.

“If I had to describe [my career] to somebody who knew nothing about vtubers, like somebody whose never seen a vtuber in their life, I usually just say that I make animations,” 2wintails told Gizmodo Australia.

“But if I had to describe it more accurately, I’d say that I create a virtual body for online performers.”

Earlier this month, one of Twitch’s most popular vtubers and streamers, Ironmouse, celebrated her five-year anniversary of streaming, wearing a newly designed vtuber model from 2wintails. Ironmouse became the most subscribed female streamer on Twitch back in March during a 31-day subathon, in which she stayed live for a full month (even sleeping on stream).

Ironmouse’s new model was drawn and “rigged” (animated to match Ironmouse’s real-life movements through the webcam) by 2wintails, with designs provided by Epebe. It took months to create the model, 2wintails said, streaming some of the process to her own Twitch channel.

“As someone who did art commissions for a very long time, it was very natural to get into doing vtuber commissions, especially since there’s so much demand,” 2wintails told Gizmodo Australia.

Before being a vtuber and avatar creator, 2wintails went through an animation course and drew art commissions. By the end of it, she tells me she had two choices: trying to get into the animation industry, which is “known to be quite difficult”, or she could “work from home, do what I want, work for myself and make anime for a living.”

“So I chose that,” she said.

She later went on to learn vtuber animation by herself, through a friend who knew the software and through videos on YouTube or other online streams, all without any formal education in the specific area.

“A few years ago, what I do was not a job. It didn’t exist,” 2wintails added.

2wintails is obviously not her real name, and in the interview, we didn’t discuss any details that would potentially reveal her identity. Vtubers often like to keep their personal lives and their online lives separated, though I can confirm that I was talking to the real 2wintails.

2wintails designs and creates vtuber models full-time, and has been doing so for about a year now. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months. On her website, commissioning a full model from 2wintails, including body art, rigging and commercial rights costs about $US8,000 (about $11,375 in Australia). For full body rigging, 2wintails charges $US5,000 ($7,105 in Australia).

It’s enough to keep her employed on a freelance basis. Her work functions in line with a supply chain, where artists provide .PSD (photoshop) files to her, which she then turns into vtuber models, all at the request of the streamer the artists are designing the model for (the streamer will use the model when it’s finished). Often they’ll work collaboratively, changing things and discussing ideas openly.

It’s expensive, but keep in mind that 2wintails is one of the leading vtuber artists in the industry at the moment. Beyond the massively successful Ironmouse, 2wintails has worked with other big name vtubers, such as Shylily, Momo, Buffpup and Lumi, just to name a few.

She’s even worked with Cover, the company that runs Hololive, which is the biggest vtuber organisation in the world, to rig streamer Yukoku Roberu’s “Summer 2.0” outfit. She says that it was a big moment for her career.

But even though she makes highly detailed and expensive models for some of Twitch’s most successful stars, 2wintails says the entry point for vtubing is lower than people might think. If you’re interested in getting started, 2wintails recommends using a webcam for tracking, a PC, VRoid Studio for 3D model creation, VSeeFace for 3D model tracking and Vtube Studio for 2D model tracking (recommending that for 2D models, you’d buy a cheaper, pre-made one or have one designed by an artist). Streamers can use either a 2D model or a 3D ones, depending on preference.

“My opinion on it is that you don’t you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to start streaming and start vtubing. You can spend as little as zero dollars when starting up a vtuber stream (not including equipment), that’s what I did when I started out…. You just need a keyboard and a PC at the barest minimum,” she added.

Ironmouse is the most popular Twitch vtuber 2wintails has created an avatar for, and as I said earlier, it took months to create the “pink rock live2D model”. It’s far from the barest minimum and has become the model of choice for the Twitch star.

“I wasn’t working on it full-time because I had other projects at the same time, but I started working on that model back in January of this year and then I finished it last month,” 2wintails said.

“She gave me a lot of freedom when it came to picking the features of the model. She didn’t have a lot of specifications… It was really fun working with Mouse.”


At the time of writing, 2wintails has closed her commissions until 2023, working on three models between now and the end of the year and expecting a lot more work during that time as files from other artists are sent to her.

While vtubers continue to grow on Twitch and YouTube, it’s likely that she, and similar artists, will stay busy.

You can watch 2wintails on Twitch.

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