Live2D Cubism

Making illustrations lively

By: Skyla Tran, Journalist

What is Live2D Cubism?

Live2D Cubism is a program used to rig and animate art, and it’s used a lot for animations and games. There are story games that use Live2D to show characters emotions and have them talk. Another example that uses Live2D, something that’s popping up on the internet lately, VTuber (Virtual Youtuber) models. These models can use face tracking, showing how advanced technology has been getting nowadays.

Live2D Tutorial] Ep1 - Drawing for live2d : Overview - YouTube

Live2D Cubism can rig drawings that have been separated into parts. Taking the avatar models that VTubers use for example, the model is separated into many different body parts, like the hairs, eyebrows, upper eyelids, lower eyelids, pupils, nose, upper lip, lower lip, teeth, tongue, inner mouth, the point being, there are indeed many things to separate for the rigging process. As for rigging normal drawings into animations or loops of sorts, they wouldn’t have to be separated into as many parts, because they don’t use face tracking. Basically, the things that should be separated are things are the things that would be moving and flowing around. Pretty simple

Live2D Cubism

Once the Live2D model is prepared, meaning it’s all separated, then it’s ready to be rigged. Live2D uses .psd files. As mentioned before, the models can be rigged into simple motions, like for story game characters, or can be rigged for face tracking softwares. When rigging for face tracking, there’s actually many expressions and other animations that can be created for the model, which the person using the model can use hotkeys to trigger. But for basic rigs, there should be things like blinking, mouth shapes, face turning, and hair physics. Those allow the model to be somewhat lively.

Alchemy Stars - Apps on Google Play

Some games that have used Live2D are games like Tourdog’s Alchemy Stars, Yostar’s Revived Witch, and Disney’s Twisted Wonderland. A lot of games like these that use Live2D are gacha games, which involve characters having their own cards that you can get by… honestly, the only word that can describe this in English is gambling, but at least with an in-game currency, until you get desperate to get your favorite character and actually use actual money. In these kinds of games, they involve stories that usually use Live2D to have the characters speak and show emotions, adding visuals and making the stories easy to follow.