Effect House: Intro to TikTok’s AR Development Platform
TikTok surged in popularity in early 2020. Today, TikTok reigns over both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as the most downloaded app. In 2020, the video-sharing platform accumulated 980 million downloads. Downloads decreased by 2021, but TikTok remains on top of the charts with over 745 million downloads.
TikTok continues to grow, surpassing social media platforms like Meta (formerly Facebook), Instagram, and YouTube. In 2021, TikTok hit 1 billion users since going online in 2016. For comparison, Meta (launched in 2004) gained over a billion users in 2012, whilst Instagram (launched in 2010) hit the 1-billion-user mark in 2018.
TikTok’s popularity and success reinvented how people consume content. Shorter attention spans call for bite-sized content and eye-catching visuals consumed on our smartphones (majority on iPhone and Android devices). While TikTok is making waves with short-form videos, the app also aims to harness the creativity of content creators.
At present, TikTok is looking forward to the launching of its very own AR development platform. TikTok’s Effect House inspires creativity through intuitive design and development, amplifying content creation among its users. It looks like a direct competition to Meta’s Spark AR platform.
Effect House: The AR Development Platform of TikTok
In August 2021, TikTok launched the closed beta version of Effect House. Effect House was to become TikTok’s augmented reality (AR) development platform where developers would build AR camera filters and effects for the TikTok creator community.
Just this April, TikTok launched Effect House for open beta. In doing so, TikTok can further enhance the platform’s features, consequently propelling TikTok to greater heights.
Effect House, Community-Inspired Creativity, and Inclusivity
Effect House allows its users to build AR camera effects and face filters for the TikTok community. Everyone is welcome to develop AR filters with Effect House — who knows, your effect creation may just be the next trendsetter.
TikTok nurtures a safe and inclusive space for users to fully enjoy Effect House. It doesn’t allow acts suggestive of colorism, stereotyping, and negative criticism of physical appearance.
Careful observation of the Community Guidelines is a must. Before submitted effects go public, the Trust and Safety team overlooking Effect House will process them for review and approval. Community effects and videos caught violating effect guidelines can be taken down to protect vulnerable users on TikTok.
Effect House Is Free for Everyone to Enjoy
Effect House is a free-for-all AR development platform. It offers an extensive collection of guides, tutorials, and a rich toolkit for anyone interested in exploring AR design.
Upskill in AR Technology With Effect House
Upskilling in AR design and development is more relevant than ever today. Through Effect House, users can get a good grasp of AR design by creating face filters and camera effects.
Tutorials, templates, and guides familiarize users with the different effects and features they can build using Effect House. Segmentation, Face Mask, Head Tracker, Face Stretch and 3D Face are some of the fundamental effects in the creation of more complex Community Effects.
Effect House as TikTok’s Approach to User-Generated AR Experience
Snapchat is considered the progenitor of integrating augmented reality experiences into social media. Snap Lenses are AR experiences that follow movement and facial expressions in real time. In 2017, Snapchat launched Lens Studio, a free AR development platform for creators, developers, and casual explorers of AR to build and modify AR applications.
Meta and Instagram soon introduced AR experience to their respective platforms. With Effect House, TikTok is closing in on its competitors as it braves the waters of AR development and community-inspired AR effects and filters.
Effect House and Its Progress Thus Far
Little is known about the progress Effect House has made since going live for open beta. During its closed beta run, at least 450 creators developed effects on Effect House. These effects inspired at least 15 billion videos.
Laura Gouillon, an AR/VR director and a TikTok content creator on TikTok, was among the early adopters of Effect House. In just a week of tinkering around the platform, Laura published 18 effects. More than 100 million people have used the effects she has created, gaining her over 240,000 followers.
How to Join the Effect House Program
To join the Effect House community, head on to the official website. Scroll down until you see “Join community,” which will launch the Discord global community app (if you have it installed) or website in a new tab.
Effect House’s invitation to join the Community
The TikTok Effect House Discord server is public. Here, effect creators and developers interact and discuss Effect House announcements and passion projects.
A Quick Tutorial on Using TikTok Effect House
Effect House has a vast collection of learning resources to familiarize users with its tools and features. To supplement your knowledge in building TikTok Community Effects with Effect House, Kim Alban shares a video tutorial below on navigating the platform and creating AR effects.
Kim Alban is a proud alumnus of the Circuit Stream’s 10 week Interaction Design and Prototyping for XR course. She was also among the early adopters of Effect House.
Effect House and AR Development in a Nutshell
As a low-code technology, users aren’t required to have formal knowledge in coding to experience AR development with Effect House. Beginners can work comfortably at their own pace, while veteran developers can work more efficiently with a low-code development platform.
If you’re interested in building your own face filters outside of TikTok, you can use Unity, a versatile development platform powering many video games for both PC and mobile. Here is our beginner-friendly tutorial on building AR face filters in Unity.
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