An example of three PNGTubers and their avatars.

PNGTubers

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Updated Apr 06, 2022 at 11:35AM EDT by Zach.

Added Mar 23, 2022 at 01:33PM EDT by Phillip Hamilton.

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About

PNGTubers or PNG YouTubers are a type of VTuber who use 2D PNGs as their virtual avatars. The avatar characters are often drawn with several emotions and talking animations for reacting to content and use sound-reactive software to make it appear as if they're talking throughout the video. PNGTubers became increasingly popularized throughout 2021 and early 2022. They have inspired criticism by viewers who see the genre as lazy and annoying. PNGTubers are similar to Rantsonas although are most known to make Minecraft content rather than rant videos.

History

One of the earliest precursors to PNGTubers is the YouTuber known as Sub2Me4ASub or TheStick, which began posting videos in 2008. The videos are archived to the YouTube[1] channel TheStickvidVault, and feature a number of 2D stick figure avatars who talk through text-to-speech (examples shown below).



YouTuber[2] Saberspark has been using a PNGTuber avatar since March 31st, 2016 (first video shown below). The avatar is a representation of the creator and uses a variety of emotions to react to content.



Fandom

/r/PngTuber

On December 27th, 2020, the subreddit /r/PngTuber,[3] a forum for discussing and promoting PNGTubers, commissioning original PNGTuber art and sharing PNGTuber assets was opened, gaining over 750 members in just over a year. The first PNGTuber to post on /r/PngTuber[4] was Megg Kloy, a creator[5] who uses an avatar depicting a green character (shown below).



Tutorials

Throughout September and October 2021, YouTuber The Art Squirrel posted a series of videos creating a fox PNGTuber using a piece of software called Honk, advertised on itch.io[6] as a "simple VTuber creation and mic-only lip-sync suite" (shown below, left and right). Honk syncs up images of PNGTubers in various states of talk with the YouTuber's speech to make it appear as if they're talking.



Criticism

In early 2022, some YouTubers and creators began calling out PNGTubers in critical videos, overall calling their video content lazy, annoying and derivative of prominent Minecraft YouTubers. The hate was largely sparked by a hate campaign against PNGTuber JellyBean orchestrated on TikTok in February 2022 under the hashtag "#jellymid."[10] On February 17th, YouTuber WackyTV posted a video criticizing JellyBean (shown below, left) followed by a video titled "PNG YouTubers Need To Be Stopped" on March 15th, gaining over 465,000 and 51,000 videos respectively by March 23rd (shown below, left and right).



On March 21st, YouTuber Memus made a meme criticising PNGTubers, gaining over 90,000 views in two days (shown below, left). On March 22nd, YouTuber Lil Bored X made a video criticizing PNGTuber Frost Fox, gaining over 143,000 views in a day (shown below, right).



On March 23rd, Lessons In Meme Culture posted a video examining why people hate PNGTubers and defending them, gaining over 310,000 views in under a day (shown below).



Notable PNGTubers

SaberSpark

YouTuber SaberSpark has been using a PNGTuber since March 2016 and creates reaction content. The creator boasts over 1.5 million subscribers as of March 2022.



JellyBean

YouTuber[7] and Twitch[8] streamer JellyBean started using a PNGTuber depicting a purple character in November 2021.[9] They use the character during Twitch streams and in their YouTube reaction content, often displaying the reaction content over a background of someone playing Minecraft parkour games. JellyBean boasts over 1.8 million subscribers as of March 2022.



Frost Fox

YouTuber and Furry Frost Fox began uploading videos using a PNGTuber to YouTube[11] in January 2022. Their channel boasts over 162,000 subscribers as of March 2022.



RedVelvety

YouTuber[12] RedVelvety began using a PNGTuber avatar in December 2021 and largely makes Minecraft content. Their channel boasts over 829,000 subscribers as of March 2022.



Search Interest

External References

[1] YouTube – TheStickVidVault

[2] YouTube – saberspark first pngtuber video

[3] Reddit – /r/pngtuber

[4] Reddit – MeggKloy Post

[5] YouTube – MeggKloy

[6] Itch.io – Honk

[7] YouTube – JellyBean YT

[8] Twitch – JellyBean Twitch

[9] YouTube – Minecraft but…

[10] TikTok – jellymid

[11] YouTube – Frost Fox first PNGTuber video

[12] YouTUbe – RedVelvety

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Top Comments

DavidM
DavidM

my general rule with content creators is : as long as they dont hurt anybody with their content, they are not actively predatory with their content and they are not an asshole , they are ok in my book, even if its shitty or gringy content , I can just ignore it or tolerate it.

Live and let live.

+45
wisehowl_the_2nd
wisehowl_the_2nd

I mean I'd say the hate for PNGtubers began with "rantsonas" back 4-5 years ago. Essay content with little supplementary animation, illustration, or individual expression is harder for some to find captivating, like being in a lecture with a teacher that only sits at the desk and reads. Plus a lot of rantsonas back in the day would write essays on controversial topics which makes them easy bait to poke fun at. There's nothing wrong with PNGtubers really but I think the rather… toxicity that developed during the time when they were called "rantsonas" hasn't really gone away.

+43

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