Skip to main content
Version: 4.3.0

Best Practices for Creating TikTok Effects

Effect Guidelines

All effects must apply to the Effect Guidelines.

Effect Goals

  • Interact: The best effects prompt users to interact and engage. Draw users in and give them reasons to play around with the effects you create.
  • Intuitive: Interaction paradigms in effects should be as simple and accessible as possible. Interactions should rely on physicality rather than abstract mappings.
  • Inspire: The most popular effects aren’t necessarily the fanciest ones, but those that empower creators to use them in creative and surprising ways. Effects should lower the barrier of creation and nudge a potential creator to create by offering them a prompt or theme.
  • Innovate: As a pioneer in the augmented reality field, you have the chance to push the boundaries of what can be done in the world of effects. Experiment with new visual and audio formats, storytelling tools, mobile hardware capabilities, and more.
  • Interconnect: TikTok celebrates the diversity of our community. Create effects that are inclusive and bridge cultural or social differences.

Design Principles

  • Simplicity: Effects should be easy to use. Having too many triggers or complicated UI elements can be disruptive to the overall user experience. When introducing new interactions or mechanics, teach the user in a clear and obvious way.
  • Physicality: Augmented reality is about integrating the digital with the physical. Create effects that interact with the user or the world, rather than floating in midair (unless there’s a specific reason).
  • Versatility: The more ways to use an effect, the more types of content that can be created. Making effects open-ended and extendable can allows multiple entry points in a TikTok video. For example, with our Green Screen effect users can upload their own content to be used as a background in their story. The versatility of the Green Screen effect has made it a top effect for TikTok video creators the community’s most beloved effect.
  • Remixability: TikTok embraces remix culture – effects like Duet and Stitch are all about sampling and riffing on others’ videos on the TikTok platform. Think about how your effect can encourage users to collaborate and co-create.
  • Repeatability: TikTok users watch many videos a day – ensure your effect is as engaging to see for the first time as it is to see for the 20th time. Think about tying effects to existing trends on TikTok.
  • Storytelling: TikTok powers content discovery. An effect is more than just a cool animation – it unlocks innovative ways for a user to tell unique stories. Some of our most popular effects provide built-in narratives by adding a punchline or “wait for it” moment to the video. For example, effects that freeze a video’s subject or dramatically zoom in and out can be used to accentuate a joke or set up a punchline at the end of a video.
  • Creation and consumption: Create effects that are as fun for creators to create with as they are for viewers to watch. Think about elements like color contrast and text legibility.
  • Visuals and audio: Sound and music are essential components of the TikTok experience. Think about how a user might use different types of sounds with your effect.
  • Diversity and inclusivity: When making effects, ensure it is inclusive of a variety of skin tones, hairstyles, facial features, body shapes, accessibility levels, and other differences. Avoid effects that reinforce negative or discriminatory stereotypes relating to gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity or disability.
  • User environment and platforms: Leverage different user positions such as standing up, sitting down, facial, and body movements. Take into consideration the environmental differences such as lighting, background, and noise. Finally, test your effect across devices and operating systems, such as iOS, Android, web, and TV.
  • Positivity: TikTok is a place for authentic, joyful, and uplifting content. Think about creating effects that empower creators to express themselves, explore their self-identity and share their creativity in uniquely TikTok ways. Effects should promote a positive self-image and avoid reinforcing narrow and unattainable beauty ideals. For example, don’t create effects that make users look thinner or which imply women must wear makeup – or that men can’t.
  • Failure: Always consider what happens if an effect feature or interaction paradigm fails to register or is triggered accidentally. If you’re creating an effect that has 10 steps and the user messes up step 9, think about letting them try again rather than starting over (unless that’s an intentional part of the effect).

Tips and Tricks

  • Keep the above design principles in mind when naming effects as well as when creating them.
  • Keep the TikTok user interface in mind when creating your effect – avoid placing important design elements in areas that might be covered by buttons or text. Remember, within the Effect House preview panel you can review your effect with the TikTok user interface overlay included.
  • The functionality of the effect should be clear to both creators and viewers. Provide clear instructions in an easy-to-read font that explain how to use the effect..
  • Avoid adding text (such as the effect title) that isn’t an important part of the effect itself – this text can be mistaken for advertising and detracts from the user experience.
  • For gamified effects, avoid over-filtering the creator (e.g., heavy color filters) unless character transformation is part of the experience (e.g., transform into an animal).
  • Avoid using matting within gamified effects to improve performance and device coverage.
  • Please ensure that you have all necessary rights to any intellectual property included either in the effect name or within the effect itself.