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Anime Studio Debut Head Turn – Anime Studio Tutorials & More
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Anime Studio Debut Head Turn

How do I make a smooth head turn in Anime Studio Debut?

(Charles, this answer is for you.)

Doing a smooth head turn in Debut is going to be a pain.  You have two options:

1)  Each time you want to turn the head, you need to move the eye pieces, mouth switch layer folder, eyebrows, hair, nose, ears, etc. with the same timing from position 1 to position 2.

2)  Use SWITCH LAYERS.  Remember that “smooth” animation you see on TV isn’t smooth at all.  Watch a 2D Disney cartoon frame by frame and pay attention to a head turn.  It’s multiple head “stills” that your brain interprets as a smooth turn.  In Debut, you can work around limitations by using a BONE LAYER in place of a GROUP LAYER.

Note that the top level folder, the main character folder, is a SWITCH LAYER FOLDER containing front, side, and rear character views.

Anime Studio Character Setup

Anime Studio Character Rig

Anime Studio character rig, side view

Anime Studio Character Rig, side view

Anime Studio Debut Character Rig

Anime Studio Character Rig, rear view

Create a SWITCH LAYER FOLDER and name it something like “HEAD TURN”

Anime Studio Debut Head Turn

How to do a head turn in Anime Studio

Create a BONE LAYER and name it “HEAD FRONT.”

For Anime Studio Debut users:  In my example, the “HEAD FRONT” layer is a GROUP LAYER instead of a BONE LAYER.  Just us a BONE LAYER.  Unless you’re using PHYSICS, there is essentially no difference.

Anime Studio Pro users should use GROUP LAYERS whenever possible.  If you’re using Anime Studio Pro 7 and have a character with a bone layer within a bone layer, it won’t react to PHYSICS.


Move all your head pieces into the BONE LAYER.

This includes your mouth switch layer folder, eye whites, pupils, eyebrows, face, hair, nose, ears, etc.

Anime Studio head turn with switch layers

How to use a SWITCH LAYER FOLDER for a head turn in Anime Studio

Anime Studio Duplicate Layer

Duplicate Layer, make subtle changes for head turn, and repeat until you have all the stages you need.

Select your HEAD FRONT LAYER and click the DUPLICATE LAYER BUTTON, highlighted in the above picture.

This will duplicate the whole thing.  Debut users will duplicate the bone layer and automatically all layers within it will duplicate.  Pro users will duplicate the group layer and all layers within it will automatically duplicate.

Now, make the subtle changes to the individual parts within your new HEAD SWITCH LAYER, which you should rename as “20 degrees,” or something that indicates what stage of the head turn you’re at.

Repeat this last step until you’ve completed your head turn.

If you want a “smooth” head turn, the other option is to upgrade to Anime Studio Pro.  You can then create a head turn blend morph or you can make one head turn action and reuse it whenever you want.


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