Have you seen the new Avatar effect on TikTok?
Avatars are a growing trend across social media. Think Bitmoji on Snapchat, or the iOS Memoji—animated, customizable 3D faces cartoonifying your real-world expressions. TikTok has now joined the avatar game with its new globally-available Avatar maker.
Read on to learn what a TikTok avatar is, why users love it, and how to make your own (plus the bonus move that shoots stars from your eyes).
What is the TikTok Avatar Maker?
Billed by TikTok as a way for people to “showcase their individuality,” this new feature generates an animated face that hovers in front of your own on screen. It tracks and mimics your motions as you shake your head, smile, raise your eyebrows, stick out your tongue, etc.
The TikTok avatar isn’t the floating head of Apple’s Memoji, nor the full-bodied Bitmoji on Snapchat. It’s more like an expressive Halloween mask, leaving your body and the background in-frame and unaltered.
Is it the most true-to-life avatar? Not yet—the mouth in particular is a bit stiff. Is the tongue awkwardly the size of a baby carrot? Yes. But there are sufficient customizable features to have some fun.
There are twenty predesigned faces to choose from, or you can create your own avatar with variables in the following categories:
- Skin tone, freckles, and blush
- Hair color and cut
- Face shape
- Facial features: eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, and facial hair
- Accessories: makeup, piercings, glasses, and headwear
TikTok is working with its Creator Diversity Collective to offer representative design options, stating, “From outfits to skin tones and hair color down to texture, building inclusive features and experiences remains our priority.”
How Do You Make a TikTok Avatar?
- Click the + to open the TikTok camera.
- Select "Effects" and type "avatar" into the search tool (the magnifying glass icon).
3. Click "TikTok Avatars" and choose from a line of pre-made avatars or click the plus sign on the left that says "New" to create your own.
4. Click any of the pre-made faces to start customizing it. You'll have the same options no matter which face you start with, so go with whichever's already closest to your goal.
5. Move panel by panel ("Skin tone" to "Hair" to "Head," etc.) and be sure to scroll down, as options extend below what's visible in the frame.
6. Click "Done" in the top right corner and your avatar effect will come to life.
7. Tap record and start filming! The avatar you designed will appear as an option when you next go to use the effect, so you don’t have the reinvent the wheel each time.
Two bonus moves:
- Pout your lips or blow a kiss and a heart will float out of your mouth
- Flash a peace sign and stars will pop in your eyes
What Do You Do With a TikTok Avatar?
There are a few different reasons you might want to try a TikTok avatar effect.
- Anonymity: Videos can go viral for a thousand different reasons, but often it’s talking directly to the camera that helps maintain an audience and build loyalty to an account. If you don’t want to show your face but still want to engage, then use the avatar effect for story times without sacrificing privacy. Throw in a TikTok voice effect or green screen and you're doubly disguised.
- Hiding: It's 2022, and you don't have to look "perfect" to show yourself online. And yet, sometimes when you've got a hot take, your hair's greasy and you'd rather not show it in case your video goes viral overnight. Or whatever. You don't need to defend yourself to me. Avatar time!
- Characters: You can shift camera angles or put on accessories to play different characters in a skit—or, try an avatar.
- Fun: Do you feel like golden sunglasses and neon hair today? Go for it. When that silly, goofy mood strikes, enjoy watching your voice come out of a reindeer-antler-wearing, pink-eyed, silver-haired head.
If you want to try out the avatar effect but don't have an idea for a video, check out free resources on the web like Kapwing's TikTok templates to jump on a trend or spark your brainstorming.
The TikTok avatar can be a tool to express yourself, explore a fantasy, maintain anonymity, or create an alter ego (or seven). Have a ball!
If you found this helpful, you'll find inspiration for content and more TikTok news on this dedicated TikTok resources page.