"Noodle and Bun" "Noodle and Bun"

The controversy swirling around Tiktok, which has rocketed to global fame in the past couple of years, has a way of obscuring what’s made it so popular in the first place.

The video-sharing platform’s unique assets — its audience, its algorithms, its video lengths — form the ideal climate for certain species of content to flourish. Viral dances and kids pranking parents, yes — but also a wide, wacky, and wonderful animation scene.

What does Tiktok offer animators? What kind of artist thrives there? How could the platform better serve their needs? To find out, we present three case studies with animators who enjoy a huge following on the platform — one specializing in cgi, one in hand-drawn animation, and one in stop motion.


Noodle and Bun

Noodle, a quivering cat, dances, chases a mouse, and generally causes havoc in Noodle and Bun, a slapstick cg series with a following of 3.6 million on Tiktok. The series was created by Gottfried Roodt and Lloyd Wilgen and is produced by Polycat Visual Effects, an animation and vfx studio based in Cape Town, South Africa. Roodt tells us how the series took off on the platform after making little headway on Instagram…

Cartoon Brew: What is different about Tiktok, compared to other platforms you’ve used for your work? What makes it suited to animation?

Roodt: We posted our first Noodle video to Instagram and it only got 100 views. The platform isn’t designed for new discovery, so we thought our concept was lost. We tried Tiktok and Noodle suddenly blew up. Tiktok’s algorithm gives every first-time creator a chance: it gives you the audience, and if they respond well it gives you a bigger audience. We knew Noodle would do well if people could see it, and Tiktok gave us that opportunity.

@noodle_and_bun

5 points to gryffindor! ##noodleandbun ##cat ##dog ##dogsoftiktok ##catsoftiktok ##magic

♬ Noodle_and_bun Wizard – Noodle

Are there any features you would like Tiktok to add?

In order to not bloat the application, I would almost not add anything else. Perhaps something similar to Instagram stories, so that we can make announcements that disappear after 24 hours.

How do you monetize your work? Is Tiktok effective in this regard?

We currently make no money on the platform. Tiktok has approached us to plan future monetization and put us in contact with brands. Tiktok is effective for advertising, so your best route to make money is selling merchandise and collaborating with brands. Our long-term goal is to create a series and eventually a feature film.

How long did it take you to grow your Tiktok channel? Was it a question of a few viral videos or was it gradual?

Our first video we posted went viral; after that, the audience wanted more and more. So we kept posting every day, or every second day. The response stayed good and the virality continued. So our answer would be: it was a gradual viral growth. All of our videos have over a million views and our biggest one has 50 million-plus.

What is your aim for your channel? Do you see it as a launchpad for work elsewhere or an end in itself?

Tiktok is the perfect platform for experimentation — we’ve learned in two months what would have taken years in any other medium. We can try crazy ideas that either work out great or fail, but there are no consequences other than getting fewer likes than usual. So we’ll always remain on Tiktok, but with the goal of creating a mini-series for Noodle and Bun, and selling plushies and other merch.

"Noodle and Bun"

Do you use Tiktok to discover other animators? Is there a sense of an animation community on the platform?

There is a great animation community on Tiktok. The platform wants short and funny, so most of the channels have humor. We would love to collaborate with the big channels that are out there; the only issue is that the content on Tiktok is 13+, so there might be swearing or adult jokes in these other animations which wouldn’t suit our demographic. So we are a bit isolated and unable to collaborate.

Tiktok is 13+, but we have thousands of children duetting to our videos and watching them through their parents’ phones. So we have a responsibility to stay all-ages, but still be weird enough for adults to enjoy it too.

We are very excited to see where Noodle and Bun goes. We are in the process of finalizing our plushies which will be available soon!


TootyMcNooty

While studying illustration in the U.K., TootyMcNooty started experimenting with Tiktok before its popularity exploded globally — before it was even called Tiktok, in fact. Her channel, which is bursting with musical animated clips, has since netted her 5.3 million followers, as well as commissions from the likes of Snoop Dogg and Converse (she is represented by talent management firm Odd Projects). TootyMcNooty tells us how the platform has helped her develop as an animator…

Cartoon Brew: What is different about Tiktok, compared to other platforms you’ve used for your work? What makes it suited to animation?

TootyMcNooty: Tiktok is all about quick and entertaining content for mobile. It’s great for discoverability — I often discover amazing songs that are rising and learn about so many new creators!

It’s well suited to animation because on average the videos are shorter than other platforms. Animation takes a significant amount of time, so it’s helpful that each video can be as short as 10–20 seconds — it’s fun to test out a bunch of different ideas in short videos.

@tootymcnooty

Learn how to #countdown321 with ya boi @snoopdogg

♬ Countdown – Snoop Dogg

Are there any features you would like Tiktok to add?

It would be cool to see an awareness scale filter. I’ve tried it out on After Effects and the results can be so funny!

How do you monetize your work? Is Tiktok effective in this regard?

There are ways to monetize on-platform, such as opportunities like brand partnerships or the Creator Fund [launched in July, and under which Tiktok has pledged to distribute $1 billion to creators in the U.S. over the next three years]. But it’s also important to build a business and list of clients off-platform.

In the past I’ve partnered with brands like Converse and music labels like Warner. Most recently, I released plushies based on my “phrog” characters, and animated music videos for artists like Mxmtoon, Savage Ga$p, and L’Trimm.

How long did it take you to grow your Tiktok channel? Was it a question of a few viral videos or was it gradual?

I started releasing videos on Tiktok back in 2018 (when it was still called Musical.ly), so I guess I was an early bird. My early animatics were red line drawings, simpler than my current videos, but the reception was so positive that I kept animating and improving the videos, and that’s how things took off!

What is your aim for your channel? Do you see it as a launchpad for work elsewhere or an end in itself?

I see Tiktok as a place to get creative. It’s an art in and of itself, but it’s also a launchpad for other projects.

I want to use my platform to show how fun and versatile animation can be, so as to inspire other animators and illustrators to join in. I’m currently in university studying illustration, so I’m surrounded by talented artists who could benefit from combining their creative skills with the power of social media.

Do you use Tiktok to discover other animators? Is there a sense of an animation community on the platform?

Over time, as I’ve been on Tiktok, I’ve discovered amazing animators and artists. There is a lovely animation community full of fans and animators, and it feels amazing to be part of it. Animation is becoming a popular medium on Tiktok and it shows!


Justin Rasch

By the time he took to Tiktok, Justin Rasch had built a successful career as a stop-motion and cg animator, with credits on the likes of Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings and Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch game franchise. The California-based artist uses Tiktok to send out original stop-motion animation and educational videos to his 935,000 followers. He tells us how Tiktok ties into his overall social media presence…

Cartoon Brew: What is different about Tiktok, compared to other platforms you’ve used for your work? What makes it suited to animation?

Rasch: A huge, massive young audience. My best posts ever on Instagram or Twitter were tiny compared to the numbers I get on Tiktok! I get sooooooo much more attention and exposure. I have almost 20 posts that are between 1 and 19 million views. That is a lot of eyes!

@justinrasch_official

another monkey action test I animated.##stopmotion##Laika ##animation ##monkey # kubo # ##kuboandthetwostrings ##fight ##magic ##action ##puppets

♬ Fake – The Tech Thieves

Are there any features you would like Tiktok to add?

I am an older guy who was really hesitant to jump into social media, but I was advised by my good friend and Tiktok advisor Rob Flaska to join. He assured me that it would help in so many ways in meeting my goals as an artist. He was 100% right. I do not need any other features added right now, other than being able to edit a post after posting (misspellings, bad tags…). But I am really just getting to fully understand what I’m working with.

How do you monetize your work? Is Tiktok effective in this regard?

Tiktok has a Creator Fund which pays you for views. This brings in a small amount of money. There’s also live streams, where people can donate to you for the time, and just support you as fans.

Otherwise the views and followers make their way to other platforms like Youtube or Instagram, which also increases your value as an influencer and pay through monetization. The larger your audience, the more value you have to brands wishing to work with you [in terms of] brand deals, equipment, and of course freelance gigs for whatever you present.

Justin Rasch

How long did it take you to grow your Tiktok channel? Was it a question of a few viral videos or was it gradual?

It was insanely fast. I had half a million followers in less than six months. I am almost to a million now. I am not spending tons of time on it, but I am respecting the power tons. Once I hit 600,000, lots of brands started reaching out and lots of opportunities appeared.

What is your aim for your channel? Do you see it as a launchpad for work elsewhere or an end in itself?

The goal of my Tiktok is just to bring my name brand, skills, and animation to a large audience and get them to my other channels. I create episodes on my Youtube to share my knowledge of animation with the world. Secondarily it is to get projects for our home studio and potential funding for our own projects.

Do you use Tiktok to discover other animators? Is there a sense of an animation community on the platform?

Definitely. I love finding more artists and community on Tiktok and other social media. It is such a great source of inspiration and community and networking. I have learned so much in my short amount of time on social media.

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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