Anthony Possobon shows how to get 2D heads to look like they are 3D with a fake head rotation.
When working with 2D characters in After Effects, there are all kinds of tricks that you can use to give the characters more life. One of those tricks is creating a head rotation that looks as if it’s 3D but is actually 2D. Check out this tutorial from Anthony Possobon that dives into how to get that 3D look from 2D characters in Ae, and how to create a fake head rotation from detailed artwork.
Possobon does issue a warning for unsure users of After Effects though: “Beginners beware, I’ll be covering advanced techniques with expressions and skimming over the basics,” Anthony says. The technique involves working with the Liquify Effect in After Effects. It is worthily to note that other 2D animation applications like Moho, Spine 2D, ToonBoom and others make this kind of thing much more comfortable on the artist and animator than After Effects does. Nonetheless, it is possible with a bit of work in Ae, some scripts and the patience of a patron saint.