The virtual influencer or “vtuber” Orion Kasama left the metaverse for the first time and joined us at SlavConf Virtuality along with his creator Matteo Fanchin from Pigiama Kasama who showed us how the world of avatars is fusing with our world.
Matteo started his lecture by giving us a bit of insight on how and why they started their company:
“By using virtual reality, a year ago, together with my partner we started creating an entire story full of characters that are called Kasamas. Then we started sketching and creating a children’s book that describes the story of the Kasamas and the relationships between the characters. We created an entire brand around the Kasamas with 3D printed characters and their accessories. At the bottom of everything there is our dream of making a video game, so this brand is built around this idea. We already have the first prototype of the game.”
Having been contacted by clients asking them to create vtube influencers for them, they developed this idea of turning one of their characters – Orion Kasama into a vtuber.
“During the last year the vtubing in Twitch grew about 400%. So there is this boom of people streaming with the face of characters.”
Matteo explained that the technology necessary for vtubing used to be very expensive, ranging at 5000-6000 EUR for suit, engine, etc. But nowadays it is possible with much simpler equipment at a much more reasonable price. This is one of the goals they at Pigiama Kasama are looking to achieve:
“The technology is growing really fast. One of our goals is making the vtubing more accessible than it was before.”
However, according to Fanchin, the part that cannot still be simplified is the creation of the avatars. For example, the avatar of Orion Kasama, he was using for the conference, had 52 facial expressions, applied gravity to the tentacles, his hands could potentially also move, he could change his background, etc. Matteo explained that by coding 52 facial expressions, your avatar conveys all of your emotions in real time.
Matteo disclosed the steps of making an avatar, the technology needed for its creation and the challenges they are facing. But he also admits that vtubing is actually really fun:
“It’s nice to see people using it because they start this moment of roleplaying. They think: If I am a Kasama, how do they talk, what kind of catch-phrases do they use, etc. It is quite interesting also in the way of acting.”