Last August, TechCrunch noted that TikTok was working on creating its own augmented reality (AR) development platform called Effect House, which would allow creators to create AR effects for use in TikTok’s video app. Today, the House Effect is officially online. The platform has been operating in a close beta since last fall, where it has so far been embraced by more than 450 creators who have then posted their effects to TikTok, where they’ve been used in 1.5 billion likes. videos earning over 600 billion views worldwide. , says TikTok.
The company is now opening beta access to encourage further development.
The launch will put TikTok in closer competition with Snap and Meta, which already offer a range of tools for developers to create AR experiences and effects for their own respective app families. Meanwhile, TikTok’s vast library of effects is a key part of what powers its video service today and helps inspire creators to create videos. By allowing creators to create their own effects, TikTok will be able to incentivize even more video creation.
Although creating tools with Effect House may require some technical know-how, the company has created a detailed set of documentation that teaches users how to use the platform to create specific types of effects, like segmentation , Face Mask, Head Tracking, Face Stretch, 3D Face as well as how to use different textures, materials, lights and shadows, and more. The site also features templates, online tutorials, and a knowledge lab where TikTok engineers will give a live demonstration of creating a particular effect using Effect House. A demo already available shows creators how TikTok created the TikTok “Bonk!” effect and sharing tips on how to create similar effects eg.
TikTok has also released a dedicated set of guidelines for Effect House, which detail additional policies beyond the existing community guidelines that effects creators must adhere to. These explain that TikTok will not allow creators to post effects that promote colorism, negative stereotypes against protective groups, those that depict cosmetic surgery (e.g. lip fillers) or those that encourage scrutiny of someone else’s appearance.
The latter is an interesting choice from TikTok, as some of the most popular filters and effects to date on all platforms are “beauty filters”, which smooth skin, adjust jawlines, change the shape of features face, apply makeup, plump lips and more. TikTok also has its own set of them. But there has been a growing backlash about this type of editing, as the impacts of filters on the mental health of users – and especially young girls – have become more evident. A majority (59%) of Americans now say they find beauty filters disturbing, a Consumer Reports poll noted last fall.
Lawmakers, in particular, have been interested in how social platforms affect how young people see themselves, as they consider bills to regulate the industry. Last year, they surveyed social media companies including Snap, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok on topics including eating disorder content. It’s likely that TikTok didn’t want to create an unnecessary minefield of potentially problematic creative effects, given that the app – already popular with young people – is also licensed to serve an under-13 crowd via a system of age control.
TikTok says user-created effects will be reviewed by its trust and safety team to ensure they adhere to company policies before being made public. And if the company misses a breach effect, the community can report it using the “Report Effect” feature. This will prompt the team to review it to make sure it meets the effects guidelines. The company also says that if it finds that an effect is being used in a way that violates the guidelines (even if the effect itself was not in violation), it will remove the effect and any videos that use it. have used.
And TikTok will block some of the creative effects, like those depicting alcohol, from appearing in Effect Try in the app.
The company kicked off the launch of the House Effect by promoting a number of early adopters of the tools, including:
When creator effects created with Effect House are viewed on TikTok, the effect results page will include the creator’s username and a link to their profile. All of the creator’s published effects in their portfolio can also be viewed from a designated tab on their profile page.
Although open to the public, Effect House is still considered a beta, TikTok notes.