I'm trying to create a 2D tentacle effect for an animation that I'm currently working on, and I'm wondering whether or not there is an easier way than going through and animating everything frame by frame. What I want to achieve is to have a wave 'ripple' along a mask path or stroke. 'Wave warp' is similar to the effect that I'm looking for, but this effect causes the thickness of the stroke to be distorted and doesn't work when the path is curved.
Does anyone have any idea how I could do this?
Text layers with animated masks as path and pulsing text animators, shape layers with repeatrers, custom stuff rigged with expressions. Impossible to tell without knowing the exact design and animation requirements. Even some distortion effects like the puppet tool might still work if combined in the right order and pre-composing multiple deformation steps suitably. In any case, you probably should get used to the fact that any character animation takes time and can end up grinding things frame by frame. Any reputable character animator will tell you that...