Social Media

How To Use The Rotoscope Effect, TikTok’s Vibiest Filter

The viral animation is a 30-second party on the For You page.

A screenshot from a viral Shay Mitchell TikTok using the rotoscope effect.
Screenshot via TikTok

If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you might have been suddenly shocked to see that everyone on your For You Page has become talented animators overnight. Also, dancing queens? With an aesthetic bordering somewhere between cheesy ‘80s music video and the classic iPod dancing silhouette ads of the 2000s, the Rotoscope effect has been taking TikTok by storm.

Though the effect might have started trending on TikTok in 2022, “rotoscoping” is an animation method that was invented in 1915, where artists trace over a moving image to create an animation. The effect functions similarly — allowing users to trace their body in real time into a vibrant animation. With flashing colors, sunglasses effects, and more, TikTok’s take on rotoscoping has naturally lent itself to a new wave of one-person dance parties.

Since going viral the first week of April, nearly 170k videos using the effect have been posted. Videos using the effect have garnered anywhere from a few hundred thousand to almost 2 million likes, and the #rotoscope hashtag has nearly 500 million views.

For more on this neon-flashing trend, and how you can join in on the fun, here’s everything you need to know about the Rotoscope TikTok trend.

The Rotoscope TikTok Trend, Explained

Since the effect has gained recent popularity, most TikTokers have been using the effect with two different sounds. “Captain [Whistle],” a catchy rap song that has been a trending sound since 2021, is one popularly used with the effect thanks to its beat drop. The other sound, from house music artist Never Dull, also offers a funky switch-up in melody for users to activate their boogie mode.

As the trend has taken off, many users have also poked fun at their own technical difficulties with the effect — whether it’s the effect “doing them dirty” by making their animation look unattractive, or others making the mistake of thinking the animation would automatically dance for them.

One of the most common uses of the effect utilizes the beat drop as a way to set up some kind of celebratory moment. (See: actor Shay Mitchell celebrating her nearing due date and nearing return to drinking tequila, posted on April 10.)

How To Use The Rotoscope Effect

If you’re ready to make a rotoscope video of your own, throw your dancing shoes on and open up your TikTok app.

You can easily find the rotoscope effect by tapping your camera tab then clicking “Effects” and searching “Rotoscope” or by searching “Rotoscope” in your Discover tab. However, if you’re looking to hop right into the trends, you can head to either of the popular sounds from Nutcase22 and Never Dull. Click on one of the rotoscope videos under the sounds, and then click “Use sound.” By clicking this button directly from a video using the rotoscope effect, it will automatically apply the effect as well as the sound.

Set up your camera as preferred, and, when the beat drops, nod your head to activate the effect. Then, bust a move, or tap the screen to change the facial expression of your animation. You can even change your facial expressions to the beat, or just throw on the heart-shaped glasses expression and go for it.