Creating VRM Avatars

Custom Avatars using VRM assets.

What is a VRM Avatar?

VRM is a 3d file format that is designed to allow creators to build and use custom 3D Avatars in a growing ecosystem of virtual spaces.
VRM Avatars can be just about anything, from a photorealistic human to a grocery shopping cart. And they are powerful too -- you can trigger emotes and lip sync, depending on the metaverse platform you use.
Creating Avatars for the metaverse though has certain elements to keep in mind due to the number of platforms that they can be on. Many metaverses such as Mona use web, VR or Mobile devices and therefore the VRM needs to be designed in a way that will work smoothly on all of those devices with the one Avatar.

Creating a VRM Avatar

Creating a VRM is a lot of fun and you can get some amazing results if you are willing to learn all the ins and outs of asset creation. That said, it is still possible to get great results if you think within your current skill set!
Generally, you will go through the following sections of the process, and each is covered in the following tutorials.

Creating the Avatar model

As noted, due to the platforms that these VRMs are to be used on you will need to keep in mind the requirements of the lowest common platform which is standalone VR and mobile devices. For these you will create a Mobile VRM. It is possible to create a higher end VRM for use on desktop, this is called the Mintable VRM. It is possible to use the Mobile VRM for the Mintable VRM if you like.
Understanding these elements will sometimes affect the design and creation of your character.
For more information, go Getting Started with VRM

Rigging the Avatar

Rigging means applying the asset to a skeleton. All VRMs require a bipedal skeleton at the moment, that said, how you rig your asset is completely up to you. It is possible to have an entire car be rigged to the pelvis bone for example.
It is possible to use applications such as Mixamo and Accurig to speed up the rigging process significantly.
For more information, go Rigging an Avatar

Refining the Rig

As an option, it is possible to create a more complex rig/skeleton that can support secondary motion on your asset such as cloth, tails, ears etc. For this you can use Spring bones within the VRM system, but you will need to manually add the bones and then paint the weights. Weight painting defines how much each vertex is applied to a bone.
For more information, go Refining the Rig (Optional)

Creating the VRM

Once you have a rigged model that suits the target platform you need to create the VRM itself. There are a number of ways to do this, but two that are covered in the following tutorials are :
  • UniVRM - This uses an addon for Unity. It has the benefit of being able to see the Spring Bones in action without having to build the VRM and test it in Mona.
  • VRM for Blender - This is an addon for Blender, that allows you to export the asset as a VRM directly from Blender itself.
For more information, go Creating the VRM
Adding Spring bones and Collider Groups, or elements that spring bones can collide with, would be done in this stage. These are completely optional however.
For more information, go Refining the VRM (Optional)

Using or Selling the VRM

Once you are happy with your VRM you can then upload it on a host such as Github or Web3.Storage to use it as you see fit.
For more information, go Uploading your VRM
It is also possible to upload it on the Mona VRM Marketplace to sell! In order to do this however you will need to pass QA in order to make sure it is suitable for the target platform otherwise it may slow down the space, especially when it is possible to have up to 100 users in a space!
For more information, go Submitting your VRM