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FX Timing Principles

Instructor: Dan Elder
Included with VFX-A All Access

Timing plays a big role in defining the look and feel of an effect! Learn about seven fundamental principles and how to use them to create world-class FX.

In All Access

1+ Hour

This course includes just over an hour of FX animation training.

Skill Level

Beginner Level One course for new and aspiring VFX artists. 

Videos & Files

This course includes downloadable project files to follow along.

Instant Access

This course is immediately available to All Access members. 

Course Breakdown

Lesson overview.

Number of Frames 

How does your animation get from point A to point B? Determine how long that process takes and use timing charts to help you determine the number of frames that will give you control over the speed.

Straight-Ahead & Keyframing 

Learn about two different approaches to animation: straight-ahead animation and keyframing! Both have strengths, so it is worth learning each technique.

Ease-In & Ease-Out 

Convey speed and give your animation natural motion by easing in or out. This is a classic animation technique that will elevate your FX instantly.


Anticipation helps amplify the energy of your effect. Before your main action, build anticipation with smaller movements. 

This can be as simple as a crouch before a jump, a wind-up, or a pull-back. These secondary actions draw the viewer's focus toward the major action and give your animation a little extra punch.

Impulse & Rhythm

Animation can often be tied to music! Learn how impulse and rhythm can be used to help control the tempo of your animation.

Impulse effects come to life in a strong burst, and disappear the same way. Rhythm effects have more gradual changes, and tend to be looping effects.


Follow-through, sometimes called secondary animation or overlap animation, is essentially Newton's law of motion. Anything in motion stays in motion unless acted on by another force.

Follow-through creates a sense of realism in your animations


Arc motions have a natural appearance and add visual interest to your FX designs. Straight-line motions should generally be reserved for high speeds or stiff and unnatural movements.

It's important to apply arc motion to the entire effect, even secondary elements, to avoid abrupt drops.

Stretch & Smear

Stretch and smear are great for adding punch to an effect!

Stretch and smear frames let you add exaggerated frames during your animation, and when combined with anticipation, they can really make quick action effects pop! 

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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