What makes TikTok’s visual aesthetic so distinct? A combination of things no other social network can replicate.
It’s not just the sounds of TikTok that make it unique among social networking platforms, the app also has a specific visual quality that no other platform has.
That’s probably because TikTok isn’t just a social network. It’s also robust editing software that’s simple and sophisticated at the same time. In other words, it can do a lot, but you don’t have to be Spielberg to use it. Collaboration is also currency—and really easy—in TikTok. These two elements pave the way for new approaches to visual storytelling that are impossible elsewhere.
Curious about what gives TikTok its often weird and wondrous visual appeal? Check out our scientific observations below (because we all know social is a mad science).
Effects on TikTok alter details or add pizzazz to your video. It’s one of the most overwhelming things about starting on TikTok, and it doesn’t help that there are literally hundreds of them to play with. The good news is, once you know what effects are, using them is pretty straightforward.
In the app, effects are divided into categories like Trending, Interactive, Funny, and more. Some popular effects include green screen, clone trio, slow zoom, the spider effect, appearance filters, and animal effects (that let you turn your pet cat into a lion… or your pet lion into a cat).
While many effects are also called filters, they’re not quite the same thing (we know, so confusing). Filters are much more digestible than effects, and not as powerful. Similar to Instagram filters, they function as presets that enhance the overall look of your video. Use filters to adjust tone, saturation, contrast, and the like.
Discover how to make a winning TikTok video—including getting all the clips you need—in our step-by-step live tutorial. (Plus ask our experts all your video-making questions.) It's all part of our three-day TikTok webinar series.
Clever storytelling is quintessentially TikTok, which means doing cool things with your video—usually through editing—to tell a story. Perfect loops and videos with multiple characters all played by one person are popular techniques you’ll see.
It could also mean using collaborative features unique to the app to do something interesting. Duets let you feature someone else’s clip side-by-side with yours. Stitch, meanwhile, is where you use a short clip from another video to open or set-up your own TikTok.
Are flashy effects and cool editing tricks necessary to do well on TikTok? Hard no. If anything, candid and unpolished videos with little to no production design are just as common—even from the platform’s biggest names. These all contribute to TikTok’s authenticity, a defining feature of the social network. At the end of the day, it’s all about the vibe on TikTok—and you don’t need fancy techniques for that.
Stay up-to-date with our biweekly newsletter.