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how to make a VRChat avatar from scratch
Imelda @ Payhip

How to Make a VRchat Avatar from Scratch [2022 GUIDE]

Last updated: November 14, 2022

Virtual reality has taken the world by a storm. There are an estimated 171 million VR users worldwide. As of 2022, the VR gaming industry has a market size of $12.13 billion.

In this article, we’ll be going over a virtual reality platform called VRChat, how you can make a VRchat avatar, and a step-by-step guide on how to sell VRchat avatars online.

Here’s a list of quick links so you can jump ahead to specific topics:

What is VRChat and VRChat Avatars

what is VRChat
Source: https://hello.vrchat.com/press

VRChat is an online virtual world platform where users can interact with others with user-created 3D VRChat avatars and worlds. VRChat has a massive fanbase, offering fans the ability to create online personas or even worlds where they can look like anything they want.

While VRChat is designed primarily for use with virtual reality headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, users will still be able to use VRchat in a “desktop” mode designed for traditional computer mouse and keyboard.

How to Make a VRChat Avatar

There are 2 main ways that you can create VRChat avatars:

  • If you are familiar with building 3D models with 3D software, we’ll go over how to make a VRChat avatar from scratch
  • If 3D modeling isn’t your wheelhouse, you can create VRChat avatars using avatar creators online or by getting a premade 3D models online

VRChat provides a comprehensive doc on how to make VRChat avatars. But here are the general steps:

1. Create a 3D model or Find a 3D model

If 3D modeling isn’t your thing, you can get a 3D model in a few different ways:

Ready Player Me allows you to create a free VRChat avatar from a photo or selfie. Tafi allows you to create free custom VRChat avatars that are already optimized for PC and Oculus Quest, but some customization options are paid-only.

  • Commission VRChat avatar creators on Fiverr or Upwork

You might spend about $50 to a few hundred dollars to get a satisfactory avatar. Some Fiverr and Upwork artists might create their 3D models using the free platforms we have mentioned above, so we recommend clarifying this with the artist that you’re going to work with. If needed, make sure to obtain proper commercial rights if you’re planning to resell the artists’ work.

VRChat recommends getting a 3D model avatar from Unity Asset Store as they are usually already fully rigged. In other words, you won’t have to do anything special to get it uploaded.

Regardless of how you decide to obtain your 3D model, make sure your 3D model is fully rigged and is in a format Unity accepts. In addition, make sure to obtain a license to use the model that you have purchased or downloaded for free. Do not use any artists’ 3D models without understanding the exact usage permissions, and definitely do not resell other artists’ 3D models without having the commercial rights to do so.

Once you have a 3D model on hand, all you have to do next is to customize your avatar with various facial features, clothing options, hairstyles, skin tones, and other customization options.

If you are already familiar with making 3D assets, you can simply build your 3D model from scratch using software such as Blender and Maya to create your 3D model. This is the most customizable option for creating VRChat avatars, you can create literally anything!

2. Import 3D Model into Unity project

Tip: From this step onward, you will most likely need to download the Unity Hub that VRChat uses as well as the VRChat SDK

Once you’ve obtained the 3D model that you’re happy with, it’s time to import it into your Unity project. Remember to also import any related textures into your assets folder.

Select your model, click on the Rig tab, and make sure the Animation Type is set to Humanoid. You may want to click configure and review to ensure that your model’s skeleton has been mapped correctly.

3. Add 3D Model into a Scene

Drag your 3D model into your Hierarchy or into the scene. VRChat recommends having one scene per avatar and placing it at 0, 0, 0. If the avatar isn’t standing up straight, rotate the model until it is. Make sure that the avatar is approximately the size of a unity cube, which is 1x1x1m. Do not go bigger than 5x5x5m.

4. Add an Avatar Descriptor

Select your 3D model on your viewport or hierarchy, and a component VRC_AvatarDescriptor.

You’ll start by setting the view position by adjusting the Y and Z values. If your avatar has a head, the recommended position for the view point (i.e. the grey sphere anchor) is in between your avatar’s eyes.

Next set up your avatar’s lip sync so that your avatar’s mouth (and other facial features) will move/react when you talk. You can find other customizations such as jaw bone, eyelid types, and more on this video tutorial.

5. Review Your Avatar on The Build Tab

Once you’ve finished customizing your avatar, the next step is to review that your avatar is good to go in the build window. Go to VRChat SDK, then Show Control Panel, and finally Builder. Review and fix any errors and warnings that appear. Here’s what VRChat mentioned as one of the most common errors:

the most common error is too many polygons though to fix this you will need to decimate your avatars mesh(es) which if you know how to do then go do so but if not just go back and choose another model for now.

6. Upload Avatar

Once your avatar is ready for upload, go to the VRChat SDK control panel, and click on the Build & Publish button. The SDK will then build your avatar and get it ready for upload.

Afterward, you’ll be brought to the upload screen where you can name your avatar, upload an image, write descriptions, and more.

That’s it! Your avatar should now be uploaded to VRChat. You should be able to see it in-game or via the content manager in the SDK via VRChat SDK > Show Control Panel > Content Manager.

How to sell VRChat Avatars online

VRChat for sale
Source: https://payhip.com/bambivr

There are many creators who earn hundreds even thousands of dollars per month by designing and selling custom user avatars for VRChat. Virtual reality is a growing industry with more and more people turning into the online world for socializing and relaxation.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to sell VRChat avatars online:

1. Get your VRchat avatar ready for sale

  • Product file – The file that you’ll be selling is essentially a Unity Package that contains your avatar. Some creators may also choose to include project files (Blender projects, etc) as an optional download. Consider including a PDF file containing terms of use so that your customers have a clear understanding of what to expect when purchasing your files (i.e. personal use rights vs commercial rights).
  • Photo thumbnail – Upload an appealing product photo of your avatar. This is most likely one of the main factors that will convert your store visitors into paying customers. 
  • Video preview (Optional) – Provide a short video preview of your avatar so your customers can see what it’ll look like.
  • Product description – Create a short description to describe your avatar. Think of specific audience groups that your avatar would appeal to. Include some key instructions such as links to VRChat SDK and Unity if needed.
  • SELL VRCHAT AVATARS ONLINE

    Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip

    2. Set a price

    VRChat avatars typically sell for anywhere from $15 to hundreds of dollars depending on the complexity of your model.

    If you’re using Payhip to sell your VRChat avatars, you also have an option to sell your avatars using Pay-What-You-Want pricing. This allows you to set a minimum price for your product listing, but also allows your customers to pay you more if they’d like to. If you have a loyal following who loves your 3D models, this is one way to get your customers to support your business even more!

    Separately, you can also use Payhip’s subscription feature to charge your customers on a monthly basis. In exchange for a monthly subscription, you can give your loyal followers free avatars every month. Think of this as creating your very own avatar fan club!

    3. Upload your avatar for sale

    signup on payhip

    Once you’ve got your VRChat avatar ready and set your price, it’s time to make it available for customers to buy. With Payhip, this is really easy to do. Just go to the Payhip home page, enter your email address, and click the ‘Get started’ button to sign up for a free account. No payment information required.

    By default, you will get a custom domain for your store that looks like this payhip.com/[yourstorenamehere]. You can connect a custom domain (www.yourstorename.com) to make the website feel more like your own. It’s free to connect a custom domain to Payhip, but you’ll need to purchase your own domain first.

    Go to the Product tab to add a new product. Upload your Unity package for your VRChat avatar. Payhip will instantly deliver your files to your customers as soon as they complete their payments on your Payhip store. You won’t need to be involved in the selling process as everything is done automatically (say hello to earning passive income in your sleep!).

    See this article for more information on how to get your store set up from start to finish (for free!).

    Here’s a quick list of features that you’ll enjoy when selling VRChat avatars using Payhip:

    • Forever-free platform. You’ll only get charged 5% when you make a sale, otherwise you get to maintain your store for free!
    • Payment integration with Paypal and Stripe
    • Instant file delivery
    • Supports single or multiple files with various file formats
    • Ability to include video preview of the VRChat avatar on the product listing
    • Automatic UK & EU VAT management for selling internationally

    4. Customize your storefront (optional)

    You can create an entire website/customize your storefront using Payhip’s free drag-and-drop store builder. Payhip provides a lot of prebuilt sections that you can customize, no coding skills or design skills needed.

    5. Promote your avatar

    Note that publishing your VRChat avatar as a product listing is the first step to selling. But you’ll need to get your product in front of your target audience to get sales!

    Here are a few ideas on how to promote your VRChat avatars:

    • Create Youtube videos to showcase what your VRChat looks like in different settings or create short videos on Tiktok and other social media channels
    • Join relevant Discord communities for VRChat and promote your avatars
    • Set up marketing promotions such as discount codes, referrals, cross-sell, and more to gather more interest

    FAQ

    What is VRChat SDK?

    The VRChat SDK provides users with the ability to create interactive worlds and avatars for VRChat using Unity3D. VRChat provides a guide to choosing your SDK here. Most tools that Unity provides should work in VRChat including lighting, nav meshes, particles, animations, and other standard Unity features. You can install the SDK using the VRChat Creator Companion.

    Can I create my own world on VRChat?

    Yes, addition to being able to create your own VRChat avatar, you can also create your own world using VRChat’s Unity SDK. It will start off as a private world, meaning you can only bring people in by opening up a portal or through inviting friends. Once you are ready to make the world public, you first have to go through the process of submitting your world to the Community Labs.

    Quick Summary: Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to make VRChat avatar:

    1. Create 3D model or find 3D model online
    2. Import 3D model into Unity
    3. Add 3D model into a scene
    4. Add an avatar description
    5. Review your avatar on the build tab
    6. Upload avatar

    Quick Summary: Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to see VRChat avatars online:

    1. Get your VRChat avatar ready for sale
    2. Set a price
    3. Upload your avatar for sale (free platform recommendation)
    4. Customize your storefront (optional)
    5. Promote your avatar

    Final Thoughts

    Whether you’re an aspiring 3D artist, or simply a VRChat fan, selling VRChat avatars could be a great way to make some extra cash (while having tons of fun!). Hopefully, the information in this article has helped you learn exactly how to make VRChat avatars and how to sell them online.

    Start creating and selling VRChat avatars today! Sign up on Payhip for free to get started.

Payhip

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