Sward’s amazing claymation-style Hololive videos

The VTuber scene is consistently amazing — and not just for the talent on display from the VTubers themselves. No, one of the most impressive things about the VTuber community as a whole is how it inspires others to create. Whether it’s clipping and editing funny moments from livestreams or producing elaborate fan works, VTuber fans are some of the most creative people online. And one that you should really be paying attention to if you aren’t already is Sward.

Sward’s channel on YouTube is themed entirely around short clips of Hololive English’s first wave, HoloMyth. The twist is that Sward isn’t a conventional clipper; instead, they take amusing (often famous) moments from HoloMyth’s livestreams and create 3D animations from them — and said 3D animations are deliberately designed to look like stop-motion clay animation rather than being obviously “computer-generated”.

Sward's Ninomae Ina'nis

In fact, many people to date have mistaken Sward’s work as being conventional claymation, but Sward has admitted in the comments that their work is 3D computer graphics created using the popular software Blender; to create the “stop-motion” effect they use constant interpolation with keyframes set at intervals of 2 or 3 frames. This creates the characteristic slight “jerkiness” that is distinctive to stop-motion animation.

Sward’s first videos featured just Gawr Gura, who was a natural choice since she is by far the runaway success story of HoloMyth — not that any of the others are slouches in terms of subscriber numbers, mind. Ninomae Ina’nis was next to be added, followed by Amelia Watson, and it’s looking like Mori Calliope might be next, with good old Kiara bringing up the rear. Sward hasn’t yet given any indication if they’re going to expand their remit beyond HoloMyth, but the audience is certainly keen to see it happen — if only to see Ouro Kronii’s numerous “Gwaks” immortalised in animated form.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the best videos from Sward’s lineup to date!

Simple but effective, Sward’s first video is Gura referencing the famous Simpsons quote. It’s also a great example of quite how detailed the 3D models are, since you can see the imperfections and finger marks on the “clay” with a shot this close up. Truly impressive stuff, for sure.

Another Gura classic, though probably not one for the arachnophobes out there. Gura’s argument that tarantulas are twice as cuddly as cats and dogs due to their additional legs may not be overly convincing, but once again Sward’s spectacular work on the model is. The close-up shots in this animation once again show an astonishing level of detail on the surface of the model, absolutely committing to the claymation look. The edge of Gura’s hoodie even looks slightly frayed, as if the white strip has been created with a bit of fabric.

This video, which introduced the then-new Ina model, is a great example of how Sward has an excellent sense of comic timing as well as being a talented 3D artist. Ina’s silently pleading look at the camera towards the end of the clip is simply fantastic.

Well did you?

This video not only introduced the new Amelia Watson model, but also gave us barefoot Ina. Sward admitted in the comments that Ina is only barefoot in this because they forgot to make her any shoes. No-one was complaining because… well, you know what people are like.

Where there is Amelia Watson, there is discussion of how she ground pounded your mom last night. This one features some absolutely wonderful work on the facial expressions — you can practically see the inappropriate comments suddenly occurring to Amelia partway through what she’s saying as she stumbles over her words. And the sad Ina at the end is just the cherry on top.

A personal favourite, this clip from one of Ina’s early drawing streams sees her referencing a famous Japanese tongue-twister and piece of spoken entertainment — one that is perhaps best known for its use as a gag in Fullmetal Alchemist.

And finally, if you were looking for a new alarm sound to put on your phone, both Gura and Ame here are more than happy to oblige.

If you want to stay up to date with Sward’s latest animation, be sure to subscribe to them on YouTube!

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Pete Davison
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