TikTok Launches Effect House for User-Generated AR Filters

TikTok has officially gone live with Effect House, the augmented reality tool that allows users to create AR filters and share them with the community. The ByteDance company has been testing the feature since last summer. Since then, at least 450 creators have used Effect House to create more than 1.5 billion videos that generated over 600 billion global views, according to TikTok. “Whether you’re teleporting into new worlds with Green Screen or freeze-framing with Time Warp Scan,” Effect House empowers expression “through a wide array of engaging and immersive formats.”

“The launch will put TikTok in closer competition with both Snap and Meta, both of which already offer a range of tools that allow developers to build out AR experiences and effects for their own respective families of applications,” writes TechCrunch, noting that while TikTok already had a large library of in-app effects and filters, the build-your-own feature will “prompt even more video creation.”

TikTok has compiled extensive Effect House documentation to teach users how to create 2D or 3D effects within the app, including with prepared templates. Some of the more imaginative results are on display at the Effect House download page. Animation, Face Stretch, Head Tracker, Segmentation, Face Mask and 3D Face are among the toolkit options, as are adding textures and adding light or shadows.

“All submitted effects will be reviewed by our Trust and Safety team to help ensure they adhere to our policies before they’re released to the broader TikTok community,” the company writes, citing compliance terms including Effect Guidelines that in addition to offering best practices and technical specs also forbid effects that “threaten or incite violence,” depict vandalism or assault, promote drugs or firearms, and other restrictions.

“Among the filters that won’t be allowed on the platform include ones that promote plastic surgery. For instance, you can’t upload an effect that lets someone see how their face might look with lip filler,” writes Engadget, noting that while such AR effects have become popular, “in recent months there’s been a backlash against those among both users and lawmakers.”

“When designing effects for TikTok’s Effect House,” the company writes, “consider how creative effects, once applied, make users feel celebrated and empowered.”