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How animation studios and artists work their magic on TikTok

One week ago, Laika—the Oregon-based stop motion animation studio behind films like Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and Missing Link—won everyone’s heart with a funny and endearing 1-minute TikTok video mixing live action and animation.

The clip, which was inspired by the stunt-driven #fightchallenge, shed a light on how TikTok is emerging as a go-to platform for exquisite animation content.

Allowing users to create videos of up to 60 seconds, the increasingly popular video-sharing app (it recently reached 2 billion downloads) is a great destination for concise storytellers and artists who want to showcase snippets of their animation bravura.

And if you think that one paltry minute is not enough to tell a story, let’s not forget that are heaps of great short films (both animated and live action) clocking in at less than 60 seconds.

Big studios like Laika and Adult Swim are starting to learn how to harness the power of TikTok justs now but the app has been teeming with talented young animators for a while. Here, I gathered a few accounts you might use as jumping-off points into the rabbit hole of TikTok animation. The almighty algorithm will do the rest. Enjoy your scrolling.

1) With over 4 million followers, TootyMcNooty is arguably one of the most popular illustrators on TikTok. Her wacky animations combine catchy tunes and a variety of different styles. She’s in her early twenties but that’s kind of the norm here.

2) Dating back to at least the XIX century, flip books are one of the oldest forms of animation so it’s interesting to see how the format is capable of thriving in the time of social media and cheap CGI. Edward Contreras is the undisputed king of flip books on TikTok. His account is a bit of a one-trick pony but the posts are often delightful. 1.5 million users follow his work.

3) If you’re into clayanimations, and specifically horror clayanimations, Trent Shy’s profile (almost 120 thousand followers) is worth a click. And then another one. And another one. Until you realized you watched all his videos.

 

4) In between stop motion and motion graphics, the TikTok videos made by Clau Murra, a 30-year-old animator from Mexico, are always innovative and well-crafted. It isn’t then suprising that she worked for major brands the likes of Lancome, Apple and Mastercard.

5) Ben Treat (aka FranticFrames) is another enfant prodige (he’s 17) of TikTok. A completely self taught animator, he often illustrates the process behind his works in depth. His account (almost 600 thousand followers) is a must-follow for all animation buffs.

6) This list could go on and on. From alexrabbit to okaykaren1, from dedouze (one of my favorites) to King Science (a social juggernaut with millions of followers across several platforms), there are plenty of animators on TikTok that are worthy of your short-spanned attention. Just beware: TikTok videos last maximum 60 seconds but those minutes can quickly add up to a few hours courtesy of the platform’s addictive nature.

In all of this, TikTok is still a young, quite controversial app that needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. In May, Kevin “Buzz Lightyear” Mayer, the former Disney’s Head of Streaming, joined the company as CEO. The move seemed to indicate that TikTok wants to invest in original content, commissioning their own shows. We’ll see how this impacts the young, raw and brilliant talent that happily populates the platform’s animation scene today.

Credit header image: Missing Link (Laika Studios/Annapurna) 

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