After Effects guru Angie Taylor says that the technique detailed in this tutorial is inspired by an old trick her grandad used to do with a five-pound note.

He would fold the paper in such a way that when tilted it would make the Queen’s face happy or sad. You can see how the trick appears here.

Angie wanted to use this idea in After Effects to create an ad spot for a hair product. The idea was to create a ‘Sad Hair – Happy Hair’ scenario where magical hair product Happy Hair cheers up your drab barnet.

Approaches like this are really useful as they allow you to create footage and animation from very few source files. All I’ve used here are five images of these models – and one audio track.

The images in this tutorial are from, which is now part of Getty and the audio track Pages is by up-and-coming electronic act Lifecycle (which features the bass skills of Digital Arts’ own Letitia Austin).

It’s very easy to replicate the effect with your own photos and music – and in the end you’ll have a complete animated advert for a hair product for very little budget.

Next month Angie will show you how to edit the pieces together for the most engaging results.

The project files do not include the photos, as we’re unable to distribute these for copyright reasons. It’s simple to replace them with your own though.

Time to complete

2 hours

Software needed

After Effects CC

Project Files

(it’s free!)

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