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Applied Foundations - FX Animations

Instructor: Jason Keyser
Included with VFX-A All Access

Learn how to animate 2DFX like fireballs, lightning, sparkles, and negative blips. Apply the principles of animation to create next-level effects.

In All Access

12 Hours

This course includes over twelve hours of FX animation training.

Skill Level

Beginner Level One course for new and aspiring VFX artists. 


Toon Boom Harmony,
Adobe Animate

Instant Access

This course is immediately available to All Access members. 

Course Breakdown

Lesson overview.


8 Lessons

Learn to create dynamic flow in your animation, allowing each shape to blend together along an organic path, with satisfying and zippy timing.


Fireball FX Sketches & Timing

Plan before you animate! Create motion paths to help you nail down your primary motion of this fireball animation in the concept phase.

Define a style target and block out your motion. This will result in a quick prototype animation that covers the primary motion of this animation.

Fireball FX Animation: Part 1

Use your guide and focus on designing fiery elements with a style target in mind.

Create the flame elements of our fire animation. Jason will go through the process of creating the designs, referencing the style target he created in the previous lesson to ensure that his animation stays consistent.

Fireball FX Animation: Part 2

Continue your first motion pass of the fireball effect by focusing on the shape design. 

Remember, it's perfectly normal to go back and forth and edit the animation until the shapes and motion look good.

Fireball FX Revisions

Trial and error is all a part of the process! Watch along with Jason Keyser as he focuses on improving his shape designs throughout his animation.

Learn how to analyze and break down your animation, with a special focus on secondary shape design and motion.

Fireball FX Touch-Ups & Polish

Revisit your work and improve troubled areas.

Changing shapes can create more variation, so it's important to find areas where shapes feel repeated or mirrored. This can help if your dissolve shapes feel noisy, stiff, or repetitive.

Cleanup & First Color Pass

This fireball effect has come a long way! It's time to clean it up and add some nice color to it.

Jason Keyser talks about intention with the shape design, with both interior and exterior shapes. You will also clean up and improve the secondary shapes as we go!

Second Color Pass

One color is cool, but to really get to the hot core, you want to add your secondary shapes and colors to your fireball effect.

Fireball FX Final Adjustments

There's always more tweaking you can do to your effects! Here are some final adjustments to this fireball effect.

Abstract Lightning

5 Lessons

Play around with perspective and shape, while applying a few other foundational principles, to piece together an exciting composition!


Studying Lightning References

Using references is important for every artist to develop their visual library! Let's start with reviewing an effect frame by frame and break down the principles used that make it so visually appealing.

Lightning FX Explorations 

Explore different shapes and ideas for creating electric animations! Go through the first pass of this lightning zap effect. See the creative process for designing different shapes and motions, and how those will improve in the next attempt.

Lightning FX Follow-Up Attempts

Review Jason's next lightning attempts together and learn more about shapes, motion, and timing.

Final Lightning FX Review

Break down the final lightning animation and learn some tips and tricks for creating your own effect!

Lightning FX Cleanup & Polish

 See the final polish and adjustments made to the lightning effect, and get ready to post your own attempt on your FX portfolio.

Sparkle FX

4 Lessons

So shiny! Learn the importance of timing variation for simple rays that grow and shrink at offset times.


Animating Sparkles

Sparkles are one of the most common primary and secondary elements FX artists make. Master the timing so your effects don't look too static.

Cleanup Sparkle FX Animation

Clean up your sparkle FX animation to help it start shining like the star that it is!

Adding Glows to Sparkle FX

Add glow to your layers and make your sparkles shine!


Sparkle FX Animation

Learn how to push FX to another level. See Jason Keyser's first sparke fx attempt and see his thought process on ways to improve the effect.

Negative Shapes: Blip Animations

3 Lessons

Here we'll be making a cool blip animation! This effect relies heavily on creating nice, dynamic dissolves, making it good practice for future effects.


Straight-Ahead Animation

Train your brain to create and animate negative shapes and dissipation. Jason takes you through the straight-ahead animation process, which feels looser than animations controlled by keyframes.

Negative FX Animation Cleanup

Learn advanced ways to improve your flipbooks to make them production-ready.

Improve and change different elements of the effect non-destructively so you can experiment with color and scale.

Symbol Technique

Learn how to use Symbols in Adobe Animate to create negative shapes!

You'll discover very quickly that there are many, many different methods that people use to achieve the same effect.

Line Wiggle Warmup

4 Lessons

Got artist’s block? Learn a handy warm-up technique focusing on free-flowing, straight-ahead animation for whenever you need to loosen up!


First FX Animation Warmup

Get your creative juices flowing with this short, handy warm-up exercise!

First FX Animation Cleanup

Cleaning up your animation loops and making them presentable.

Second FX Animation Warmup

Here we'll be starting another short warm-up exercise. More practice never hurts!

Second FX Animation Cleanup

Finish out this lesson by reviewing and improving your own line wiggle animations.

Student Gallery

More Student Work

What members say about VFX Apprentice

Ron Anati

VFX-A All Access Member

Been in love with game VFX since I can remember. I joined VFX Apprentice after a LONG time thinking about it, and loving every moment of it, studying whenever I can.

Bruno Cano

VFX-A All Access Member

Joining VFX Apprentice was, for sure, the best decision I've made in my early VFX career. The courses are great and the mentors and students are always trying to help. I just love being here!

Learn 2D and 3D FX with VFX-A All Access

All 2D FX, 3D VFX, and Advanced courses are included with VFX Apprentice All Access. Learn stylized and real-time FX from professional artists and animators.


All Access (Annual)


12 months billed once

  • Save an extra $578
  • 200+ Hours of VFX Training
  • New Lessons Monthly
  • Weekly Live Sessions
  • Project Files + Assets
  • Lifetime Community Access

All Access (Monthly)


Regularly $189/month

  • 200+ Hours of VFX Training
  • New Lessons Monthly
  • Weekly Live Sessions
  • Project Files + Assets
  • Full Community Access

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