VTubing, short for "virtual YouTubing," is a popular form of online content creation that originated in Japan and has since gained a global following. VTubers are creators who use digital avatars to interact with their audience in videos, live streams, and other forms of online content. Heavily influenced by Japanese culture, many VTubers incorporate anime, manga, and gaming elements into their content.
Fans of VTubers often participate in online communities and events centered around their favorite content creators, which has led to the development of slang and customs within the Vtubing community. If you're new to VTubing, understanding these customs and slang terms can be overwhelming. However, this guide will provide a beginner-friendly introduction to some of the most common VTubing words and customs, organized alphabetically for easy reference.
2D Model: VTuber avatar made up of flat, 2D art that has been “rigged” to move. Various elements of the avatar, including eyes, mouth, eyebrows, and even certain pieces of hair, accessories, and body parts are drawn using software like Procreate or Photoshop and saved onto different layers.
3D Model: These avatars are created using 3D modeling software and can be customized to have unique appearances, movements, and expressions. The 3D model is then rigged with a skeleton system, which allows the VTuber to animate the avatar in real time during their streams or videos.
Avatar: The digital representation of a VTuber that is used to interact with their audience.
Change Form: Used to describe a VTuber changing the appearance or design of their avatar, either temporarily or permanently. This can include changes to the avatar's clothing, hairstyle, accessories, or overall appearance. Some VTubers may also have multiple versions or variations of their avatar, which they may switch between for different types of content or events.
Collab: Short for "collaboration," a term used to describe when two or more VTubers work together on a piece of content.
Comiket: A bi-annual doujinshi (self-published magazines, novels, comics and other content) convention in Japan that is often attended by VTubers.
Commissions: Designed avatars made by a professional based on purchaser’s preferences.
Debut Streams: When a new VTuber is introduced, they often hold a debut stream as their first official appearance. These streams are meant to introduce the VTuber to their audience and showcase their avatar and personality. The idea is to build hype around your VTuber model and your streams in general so that when you go live for the first time, there’s a crowd of followers ready to support you.
Dere: A suffix that is often used in Japanese slang and anime/manga culture to describe a character's personality or behavior. The term is derived from the Japanese word "deredere," which roughly translates to "lovestruck" or "affectionate."
Doxxing: The act of publicly revealing personal information about a VTuber, such as their real name or address. Generally, this practice is looked down upon in the VTubing community.
Face Tracking: Used to capture the movements and expressions of the VTuber's face and translate them into corresponding movements and expressions in their virtual avatar.
Fan Art: Artwork created by fans of a VTuber or their avatar.
Hand Tracking: Used to capture the movements and positions of the VTuber's hands and translate them into corresponding movements and positions in their virtual avatar's hands.
Hololive: A virtual YouTuber talent agency in Japan that manages a roster of popular VTubers. The company is owned by the Japanese tech company Cover Corporation.
Hololive English (HoloEN): A branch of the Hololive agency that features English-speaking VTubers.
Introduction Videos: Also, known as Self Introduction videos. Many VTubers will create an introductory video to introduce themselves and their avatar to their audience. These videos often provide basic information about the VTuber's personality, interests, and background.
Kaomoji: Japanese emoticons that use Japanese characters and punctuation marks to create facial expressions.
Kawaii: A Japanese term for cute or adorable.
Live Concerts: Some VTubers hold live concerts and events where they perform for their fans. These events are often highly anticipated by fans and are a way for VTubers to connect with their audience in a more personal way.
Live2D: A software used to create animated 2D avatars with dynamic expressions and movements.
Lore: A VTuber character’s backstory (often fictional and unrelated to the actual VTuber’s life story). Lore can help make your character more interesting and can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire.
Mama (also Papa): Refers to the VTuber’s commissioned character designer.
Moe: A Japanese term used to describe a feeling of affection towards a character or person.
Nekomimi: A term used to describe cat ears, which are a common feature on many VTuber avatars.
Oshi: A term used to refer to a viewer's favorite VTuber. It originates from a Japanese word for “push forward” or “to support”.
Overlays: A type of VTuber asset that is displayed over a VTuber's live stream to provide additional information or visual interest. Overlays can be customized to match the VTuber's branding and aesthetic, and are often used to enhance the viewer's experience and engagement with the stream. Overlays are sometimes available through streaming software used for VTubing such as Streamlabs Desktop or can be downloaded/purchased from artists.
Papa (also Mama): Refers to the VTuber’s commissioned character designer.
PNGTuber: A term used to describe virtual content creators who use a static image or "PNG" file as their avatar instead of a fully animated 2D or 3D character. The term "PNG" refers to a type of image file format that supports transparency, allowing the avatar to be superimposed on top of the VTuber's video feed during a livestream or recording.
Reveal: Used in the VTubing community to refer to the moment when a virtual YouTuber reveals their true identity or appearance to their audience. The reveal can take various forms, such as a live stream, a video, or a social media post, and may include details about the VTuber's real name, age, location, or personal background.
Rig/Rigger/Rigging: The process of creating a digital skeleton system for a 3D model or virtual avatar, which allows it to be animated in real time during a livestream or recording. The "rig" is the digital skeleton itself, and the person who creates it is called a "rigger." Rigging is a crucial step in creating a 3D model or virtual avatar for VTubing, as it allows the VTuber to control the movements and expressions of their avatar in real time.
Senpai: A Japanese term used to address someone who is senior or more experienced.
Stream Sniping: The act of deliberately joining a VTuber's game or chat session in order to gain an unfair advantage or disrupt the stream.
Superchats: A feature on YouTube that allows viewers to donate money and have their message highlighted during a live stream. Superchats are often used by fans to show support for their favorite VTubers. Also referred to as Supa or SupaCha.
Tsundere: A personality type portrayed in anime and manga as someone who is initially cold and hostile, but eventually warms up to others.
VShojo: A virtual talent agency in the United States that manages an all female roster of VTubers. Also noted as one of the first VTuber agencies outside of Japan.
VTuber : A virtual YouTuber who creates content using a virtual avatar.
Yandere: A personality type portrayed in anime and manga as someone who is initially sweet and loving, but becomes obsessive and violent.
Zatsudan: A type of VTuber content that involves casual conversation or discussion. Also known as “Just Chatting”.