Learn 2D FX Animation for 85 Cents a Day

Adam Phillips

2D special effects animators are a breed apart. Their work is extremely detail-oriented and demands an incredibly high level of craftsmanship, yet the animation they create is rarely the center of attention like the work of character animators. Last month when I was in LA, I visited with retired Disney FX animator John Emerson who showed me how he animated the wings on the hummingbird Flit in Pocahontas and the way he did it nearly made my brain explode. Let’s just say he’s really good at handling an airbrush and cutting friskets. If 2D FX sounds like your dream job, then you may want to look into a new weekly FX animation course run by Australian animator Adam Phillips.

Phillips used to be the special effects supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Australia, and has since achieved Internet fame as the creator of Bitey Castle and the successful Brackenwood shorts on Newgrounds. His online course covers all the principles: lightning, flames, ripples, wave motion, smoke, dust, steam, and surface tension, among others. He tells me that, “It’s aimed at complete FX beginners and is taught from a traditional perspective so there’s no particular medium or software angle.” The real attraction is that the program is just $24/month and includes weekly articles, demonstrations, examples, illustrations and videos. The program length is approximately three months and can be started anytime. Find out more at Bitey.com.


  • Toonio

    Partner this online with Joseph Gilland books and you’ll be a 2d fx god in no time.

  • Dan Kyder

    Well you just got him at least one customer

    Though it seems the course is already about four months ahead of me. Oh well

  • Hank

    Does it get into shooting test wedges, writing x-sheets, and film stocks and/or digital output?

    • http://robertkohr.com Robert K

      Are you serious? If you are then I respect you… if not then I also respect your wit.

    • http://bitey.com Adam P

      Hi Dan,
      when you join the course, you’ll start at Week 1. There’s 5 months of course material completed but it doesn’t mean you’ve been left behind. It just means you won’t run out of weekly articles.

      Also, those people who are 5 months into the course, you can see their assignments on the forum and learn from them before you ever get to those lessons. Likewise, people who join after you may look ahead and be inspired by your work.

      • Victoria

        5 months? How long is the course? The article only talks about the first three months.

      • http://bitey.com Adam P

        Victoria, the course is ongoing and I will continue to deliver new articles until my brain dries out. Right now I’m working on the content for month six, so if you join and I fall off a cliff tomorrow, you’ll still be receiving weekly articles until July :)

    • http://bitey.com Adam P

      Hank, the course is taught from a traditional perspective in the sense that it’s hand-drawn effects, but steers clear of medium specifics. It’s designed to translate to any software and many other media. In one or two articles, there is some discussion of X-sheets but only to illustrate points of timing.

      Regarding digital output, every article has a “Treatment” section which talks about the appropriate digital filters to achieve the look of the effect.