TikTok is making its metaverse play — taking a page from rivals like Apple and Snap with the launch of TikTok Avatars.
TikTok Avatars is “yet another way for people to showcase their individuality” on the popular short-form video app, the company said in announcing the new feature. Users can customize their avatar from an array of hairstyles, outfits, accessories, piercings and makeup, along with various voice styles.
Using motion-detection software, the TikTok Avatar mimics your motions, mouth movements and expressions. To create a TikTok Avatar, users must first open the camera; then, open the effects section in the app and select the Avatar effect. You can pick from several avatar templates or start from scratch. After creating your own personal avatar, you can start recording videos with it.
In addition, TikTokers will soon be able to add a miniature avatar to their videos, shrinking it down and placing it anywhere on the screen. Users will be able to select from among six reactions (e.g., “love” or “crying”) for their miniature avatar to display different expressions.
TikTok emphasized that it wants to make the TikTok Avatars feature “the most inclusive and representative experience for our community.”
“We’re excited to launch the first version of TikTok Avatars globally and will continue to improve and innovate to make sure the experience is truly representative of all who are on TikTok,” the company, a division of China’s ByteDance, said in a blog post announcing the feature. “From outfits to skin tones and hair color down to texture, building inclusive features and experiences remains our priority, and we’ll continue to listen to our community and look to creators for feedback at every step of its development.”
Animated avatars aren’t new, of course. Snap in 2016 acquired startup Bitstrips, creator of the Bitmoji cartoon-avatar app, for $100 million. In 2020, Snapchat debuted “Bitmoji TV,” a parody of TV and movie genres that feature the Bitmoji avatars of users and their friends. Apple, meanwhile, introduced personalized animated Memoji in 2018 with the rollout of iOS 12.