Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

Some time ago, a news that the monthly income of face pinching masters could reach 45,000 yuan rushed to the hot search. These face pinching masters were called “the first batch of migrant workers in the Metaverse”.

Face pinching has another name that is easier to understand – the creator of virtual avatars . As the name suggests, they make money by creating virtual avatars for others.

When I first heard the name, I thought that the face pinch artist was just a makeover illustrator.

Looking back a few years ago, my colleagues who were engaged in new media secretly signed up for various illustration and hand-painting classes, dreaming of making some extra money by painting avatars for others after get off work. Could it be that this industry has now been renamed “face pinching”? Could it be that they have quietly achieved sideline freedom?

Until I saw that all kinds of reports on face pinchers were inseparable from high-tech words such as “artificial intelligence” and “computer”, I gradually believed that things were not that simple.

So, I followed the clues of the news reports and experienced the work of a face pinching division. How should I put it, the first feeling is the upgraded version of the ancient QQ show and the dress-up mini-game——

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

“Pinch face” is to combine the elements set by the system into a new work. /soul screenshot

Use some basic design elements that come with the system, such as face, eyebrows, eyes, hairstyle, etc., to recombine and match into a avatar work, which is called “pinch face”.

How did this seemingly low threshold work achieve a monthly income of tens of thousands of yuan?

Pinch your face, make more money than work?

Ze Bai is a face pinching artist on the social platform Soul. During the 2020 epidemic, he downloaded Soul out of curiosity, a software that does not allow users to upload real-life avatars, and everyone uses virtual avatars uniformly.

Zebai found that some users changed their avatars frequently, which he found very interesting. At the same time, some face-pinch interest groups were born on the platform. A group of young people who love pinching faces gathered together and organized activities such as the “5-minute speed pinching contest”.

In June last year, Soul’s Personality Mall was launched. Users can either “pink” an exclusive avatar with the help of Soul’s own face pinching tool, or pay to buy their favorite virtual avatar in the mall. The price is divided into three levels, and the platform-specific Soul currency is used for trading.

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

The virtual avatar in the mall. /Soul screenshot

Zebai settled in the mall logically and became a creator of virtual avatars, earning income by uploading his own face pinching works, with a maximum monthly income of 50,000 yuan, which is far more profitable than his own job, a leather goods customizer.

But he also admitted that the income of being a face pinch artist is relatively unstable. The higher-income months benefited from the sales of popular avatars, but when will the next hits be made?

“It’s best to treat it with a normal heart. After all, it’s similar to doing business, and there must be good times and bad times.” Ze Bai never considered quitting his job and becoming a full-time face pinch teacher.

In his own words, making leather goods customization and being a face pinch maker are things that he likes, and neither can be left behind.

From the accidental contact with pinching faces to the present, Ze Bai has pinched thousands of faces, some of which took dozens of minutes, and some took three or four days to complete. The best-selling work, six or seven hundred people bought it.

According to the experience summed up by Zebai, the best-selling virtual avatar works have some commonalities, for example, they all tend to be sunny in style, and “cute, naughty, and handsome” are all popular passwords.

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

Some of Ze Bai’s face pinching works. /Photo provided by the interviewee
Someone came to Zebai with his own photo, hoping that Zebai could use the photo as a prototype to make a virtual avatar work, but Zebai often refused such requests.

Because, rather than restoring something, he prefers originality and can realize the wild ideas in his mind. His inspiration may come from a cartoon, a game or an object, or it may be a flash of thought at work.

Before becoming a face pinching master, Zebai did not specially study design, but he believes that there is a connection between leather goods customization and face pinching, and both require a basic grasp of aesthetics. To a certain extent, his main business has accumulated a certain foundation for the development of side businesses.

It is understood that there are currently more than 80 face pinching artists on Soul’s virtual avatar mall, and they have uploaded more than 30,000 avatars for users to choose from.

Roblox has proposed eight characteristics of the Metaverse, one of which is “identity”. The virtual identity it refers to is a bridge connecting people and the Metaverse, and the virtual avatar is one of the symbols of virtual identity.

Some people are still lamenting the rise and fall of their industry, while some people have become “the first batch of migrant workers in the Metaverse”.

The past and present life of pinching the face

At one time, I was full of doubts about the emerging profession of face pinching, because in addition to the staggering income, it has many factors that I have been familiar with, and it has awakened my dusty memories for many years——

On the one hand, the word “pinch face” is still booming in the game post bar. I am keen on surfing the Internet, and I have heard a little from many senior gamers; The things that have been popular for many years and sell hand-painted avatars are similar.

Pinch face was originally born in the field of games. In short, in the game system, people “dress up” the characters representing their own identity, that is, “pinch their faces”.

The earliest game with a built-in face pinching system can be traced back to The Sims launched by American game companies. And “Perfect World”, released in 2005, was one of the first domestic online games to have a face pinching function.

In recent years, the joke of “starting for two minutes, pinching your face for two hours” has been circulating in the game circle, because many players are willing to spend a long time pinching their characters’ faces.

The game pinching face provides the soil for netizens to create passionately. They can not only “pinch” the imaginary people, but also “pinch” their idols vividly. For example, the picture below shows the netizens in the game “Tianya Mingyue Knife” Jay Chou, who was “pinched” in the middle —

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

It is estimated that Jay Chou was shocked when he saw it. /image source network

Well-known artists such as Yang Mi, Zhao Liying, Jing Tian, ​​and Lisa, a member of the Korean women’s group, have all been used by players as the prototype of pinch faces in different games. There are also some foreign bigwigs who used to be all-powerful in the political arena, which netizens pinched out in the game. Guess who it is——

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

Source: @Su Kuan_

In 2018, the first “Cold Against the Water” face pinching contest was vigorously carried out. Players contributed a large number of entries. The grand occasion was unprecedented.

Some people “pink” the heroic royal sister, the immortal hero, some people “pink” the cute and charming loli, the scholar-like son, and some works that do not take the usual path . All of them show the author’s free will of letting go of himself , such as——

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

The face value is all in the hands of the face pinch master! /image source network

In addition to large-scale competitive online games, some dress-up and social games also have their own face pinching systems, with varying degrees of sophistication.

Zepeto, launched by the South Korean company in 2018, is a social software for strangers. Users can “pink” a cartoon image representing an individual in Zepeto, and then use this virtual image to “walk into” different scenes, such as cruise ships, campsites, etc., to chat, chat with strangers, and make friends.

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

Zepeto, which was popular on the Internet that year. / Source: Zepeto

It can be said that before face pinching became a livelihood skill, it has always been an entertainment item that many netizens talked about. People who posted face pinching works and shared face pinching skills and parameters on the forum have gathered a huge circle.

How charming is pinching your face

In a world dominated by the Internet, people’s true colors are hidden behind screens. There are always people who want to highlight their individuality, taste, and aesthetics in some aspects, so they carefully upload avatars, dress up QQ space, and create QQ shows…

Pinching your face is also one of the carriers of personalized expression. If you want to express yourself with a dignified and dignified appearance, then you can give yourself a domineering CEO face; if you want to show a gentle and pleasant side to the outside world, then you might as well make your avatar soft and dignified.

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

It’s also fun to watch other people pinch handsome guys! / “Proofreading Girl Kono Etsuko”

American psychologist Higgins put forward the “self-difference theory”. He believes that an individual’s self-concept includes three parts: “actual self”, “ideal self” and “should self”.

In short, what you are like in reality is called “real self”; and what you are in ideal is called “ideal self”. When the difference between the two is narrowed, the generation of negative emotions such as depression and depression can be suppressed.

To a certain extent, pinching the face is the process of shaping the “ideal self”. Some people like literature and art, and some people like mature intellectual style. When you choose facial features, makeup, and outfits in the system according to your own preferences, and pinch a role that represents your personal identity, this in itself is to project your “ideal self” on the role.

When you “pinch” a satisfied “face”, the gap between “real self” and “ideal self” is narrowed.

In the face of this work that you fully participated in the creation of, the more emotion and labor you put in, the easier it is for you to overestimate its value, and the more willing to show the “pinch” “face” to represent yourself in the virtual world. games or socializing – this is derived from the “egg theory” in psychology.

Make your face look like Jay Chou, someone earns 50,000 a month

How beautiful is the face you pinch yourself! / “Proofreading Girl Kono Etsuko”

Most of the young generation Z, represented by the post-95s and post-00s, grew up in the only child environment and conditions of material prosperity, and their desire for personalization and socialization is more prominent.

The “White Paper on Generation Z’s Consumption Power” points out that the three major consumption motivations of this group are social interaction, personality design, and self-pleasure. “Pinching your face” on a game or social platform is part of creating a personalized character.

The Internet obscures everyone’s true identity, but sometimes you can use an avatar or avatar to roughly identify each other’s personality. For example, you immediately open your WeChat friend list and see how many flowers, reds, willows and greens are hidden in the avatars of your elders. Competitiveness–

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