TikTok announced today that it’s launching a new Avatars feature that is designed to help users showcase their individuality on the app. The launch makes TikTok the latest social media app to add an avatar feature, as it now joins the likes of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more.
You can access the new avatar feature by opening the TikTok camera and navigating to the effects section in the app and clicking on “TikTok Avatars.” From there, you’ll see a panel with template avatars. You can try out the template avatars or click “New” to create your own customized avatar. You can create your avatar by selecting from an array of hairstyles, accessories, piercings and makeup. TikTok says it built the avatar feature to be inclusive, from outfits to skin tones and hair color down to texture.
Users can also try out the avatar voice effects to give a new voice to their avatar by choosing a voice style and speaking into the microphone. You can try out different voice styles and choose the one you like the most. Tapping on the different voice styles adds or removes them from your avatar. Once you’re happy with your avatar, you can start recording videos. When you record a video, you can become your avatar, as it mimics the way you move and follows your gestures.
There’s also a miniature avatar option where you can choose an avatar and add it to your video. You can adjust the size of the miniature avatar and place it anywhere on your screen. Users also have the option to change their miniature avatar’s reactions by tapping the different expressions displayed on the screen. The miniature avatar feature isn’t available at launch, but TikTok says it will roll out soon.
TikTok says it will continue to improve avatars to ensure that the experience is representative of all users. The company notes that it plans to look to creators for feedback and listen to its community. Alongside user feedback, TikTok is working with its Creator Diversity Collective to ensure that the feature is inclusive.
“We’re excited to see how people use Avatars to express their creativity and continue exploring ways to bring Avatars into more TikTok experiences, building spaces across TikTok for self-expression and expanding on the ways people connect and create across our global community,” TikTok said in a blog post about the announcement.
TikTok’s new avatars can be compared to Snapchat’s Bitmoji feature, which has existed since 2016 and has been updated over the past few years. Among the various updates is Bitmoji TV and the ability for users to play as their Bitmoji in third-party games. TikTok’s new feature is also similar to Meta’s Avatars, which were its response to Bitmojis. Meta recently brought its avatars to Instagram and rolled out updated avatars to Facebook and Messenger. The company now also allows users to bring the same avatar across all Meta platforms, including VR. TikTok’s avatars can also be compared to Apple’s Memoji.
Although avatars aren’t an entirely new thing, the addition to TikTok will give users a new way to create content on the app. Aside from being a new way to express yourself, the avatar feature could also be useful for people who don’t want to show their faces in videos and would prefer to keep an aspect of anonymity.
TikTok Avatars are rolling out globally to all users.