TikTok wants you to build your own AR - if you own a Mac

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TikTok is opening its Effect House tool as a public beta for all creators and developers to try out and create their own filters. 

The service was originally launched back in Fall 2021 as a closed beta with around 450 TikTok creators adopting it. That relatively small group published their own created effects, which have gone on to be used in 1.5 billion videos garnering over 600 billion views.

Learning as you create

Creating AR filters does require a certain level of technical knowledge. TikTok has provided a series of guides that people can follow to learn how to create a filter. There’s a guide on creating a Face Mask, Segmentation effects, and 3D Face textures.

And there’s even a guide on how to do effective lighting and shadows. It’s all pretty comprehensive, and the best part is that it’s all free.

When you’re done, you can submit the filter for the Trust and Safety team to look it over and approve it. TikTok has implemented a set of Effect Guidelines that everyone must follow when creating a filter.

The company doesn’t want any negative or controversial content. Examples include no threats of violence, drugs, sexual content, or hateful behavior.

Hardware requirements

You can download Effect House right now to begin creating, but there’s a catch: the app is currently only available for Mac computers. Downloading on your PC will not work and if you try to get Effect House on your Android phone, the website will tell you to use your Mac.

At least the Mac hardware minimum requirements aren't too high. To give an example, you’ll need a Mac that has an Intel Core i3 2.5Ghz processor and Nvidia GeForce 710 graphics cards. That's a relatively low-powered CPU, which leads us to believe that the discrete graphics is doing most of the heavy lifting here.

Some of the hardware listed by TikTok has been out for almost a decade, so as long as you have a relatively recent Mac computer, you’re good to go and ready to start creating.

There’s a good chance that Effect House will release outside on at least one mobile platform. In the Effect guidelines page, it mentions the technical requirements for the Android version. However, TikTok didn’t say when other versions will release.

And because Effect House is in beta, TikTok is asking its community to offer feedback if there are any bugs or problems.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.