I can't seem to get a sprite animation of smoke playing when I trigger it. Rather it plays everything all at once in one final image rather than as an animation as you can see in the image below on top of the head.
These are the settings I have for the smoke layer.
I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. I tried to switch the layer order from top to bottom and bottom to top but it still doesn't work.
On the surface it looks correct. You have not made a silly little mistake like putting the artwork in the final group by accident?
Things I would try - change the frame rate, click the refresh button in the scene window (then repeat with SHIFT and ALT) - it flushes some caches, try hold on last frame. I assume you don't have multiple profiles? Try hiding the group so trigger turns it on. Try exporting and importing the puppet is another way to refresh the definition.
As I said, it looks fine, but nobody has reported a real bug with cycle layers in a long time, so it feels solvable. Feel free to share the puppet if you get stuck.
What do you mean by:
"You have not made a silly little mistake like putting the artwork in the final group by accident? "
I ended up getting it to work somehow and swapped the smoke with flames. It appears to be some bug I believe. At first, the cycle layers wouldn't work and I would get a combined image, then next after playing around with it, the trigger wouldn't work, then when I removed it, the cycle layers would work with my facial trigger, then after adding it into a separate trigger, it now works again.