TikTok Tests New Augmented Reality Developer Tools

TikTok is testing an experimental set of developer tools that might one day let creators build augmented reality effects for the popular app. The platform is called TikTok Effect Studio and is currently in private beta, according to a report from TechCrunch. TikTok told the publication that Effect Studio is simply an experiment at this stage and may not make it to a full launch.

It is a sensible product for TikTok to build. Both Snap and Facebook have their own AR developer initiatives, which encourage people to build new camera effects for their respective platforms. It seems like a streamlined way to keep your audience engaged, outsourcing the development of new effects to users who know best what they want to see.

The Effects Studio was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra. You can view the sign-up page here on the web, but it doesn’t give anything away about what tools may actually be available in future. It will ask for your name, email, TikTok username, years of experience developing AR tools, and whether you plan to create effects for personal or business use.

On the form provided, developers fill out their name, email, TikTok account info, company and level of experience with building for AR, as well as examples of their work. The website also asks if they’re using a Mac or PC, and whether they would test Effect House for work or for personal use.

The site apparently launched earlier this month, but seems it’s still very much in the early stages of development. Speaking to TechCrunch, a TikTok spokesperson gave an impressively bland and vague statement.

The spokesperson said, “We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience. Currently, we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional tools to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”

TikTok confirmed that the website launched earlier in August, but the project itself is still in the early stages of testing in only a few select markets, one of which is the U.S. The company couldn’t offer a time frame as to when these tools would become more broadly available.

Instead, TikTok characterized Effect Studio as an early “experiment,” adding that some of its experiments don’t always make it to launch. Plus, other experiments may undergo significant changes between their early beta phases and what later becomes a public product.

The launch of an AR toolset would make TikTok more competitive with industry rivals, who today rely on creative communities to expand their apps’ feature sets with new features and experiences. Snap, for example, launched a $3.5 million fund last year directed toward Snapchat AR Lens creation.


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