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How to use the Green Screen effect on TikTok

Make the background disappear

The TikTok music note logo against a dark background. Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Green screens used to be reserved for those with access to, well, a green screen. This method has been around for a long time: allowing creators to superimpose a photo or video onto a background in a film or video. Traditionally, that means using a setup that has a large sheet of (usually) green material behind the subject. The solid color makes it easy to digitally remove that color in post-production and add whatever image or video should be there.

Now the idea of green screens has gone digital as a way to hide backgrounds in meetings or to create fun videos on social media. TikTok has taken this idea and run with it by creating an effect within the app that does basically the same thing. While not as polished as a traditional green screen, it still gets the job done and allows the creator to remain on-screen while showing the audience an image in the background of the video.

The effect is a great way to spice up a video and provide an interesting visual. I use it regularly on The Verge’s TikTok so the audience can see whatever object or topic I’m discussing. Even though I usually rely on the basic green screen option, which adds a photo to the background, there are plenty of different effects to choose from.

Here’s how you can do it in TikTok:

  • Tap the + icon in the bottom center of the screen to create a new video.
  • Click “Effects” in the bottom left corner.
  • Choose “Green Screen” from the menu.
  • Browse all of the Green Screen effects and decide which one best suits what you want to do with your video.
There are a lot of different Green Screen effects to choose from.
Whatever image you choose will become the background.

The most common effects used are the simplest: they add a photo or video to the background that stays in place as the subject moves around the frame. But there are others that you can try that get pretty creative. You can add an image as a sticker that can be resized and moved around, or you can superimpose an image over your clothing to change your look. There’s even a feature to add parts of your face to a photo just in case, say, you want to pretend your dog can talk.

The options are limitless once you use a little imagination.

Turn your pet into a terrifying creature using the face green screen effect.
Change your outfit up using a photo or design.