Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Business of Animation Logo

The Heartbeat of Animation: The Animation Time Chart

ben marvazi 2020

Make More Money as an Animator

Check out our FREE TRAINING on How Animators Can Make Over $10,000 Per Month

"Animation can create a world that is totally real but obviously isn't."

John Lasseter

Every stunning animation that has left an imprint on your mind, every character that has come alive on your screen, every scene that has kept you engrossed - they all have one thing in common: they are guided by the animation time chart. 

Like the rhythmic pulse of a heartbeat, the animation time chart plays an instrumental role in regulating the rhythm and pace of your animated creations.

In essence, an animation time chart lays the groundwork for the pacing and timing of your animated sequences. It is a blueprint that helps map out each second of your animation, determining the movement of characters and the transition of scenes. It sets the tempo, the highs and lows, the climaxes and pauses that make up the melody of your animated piece.

However, while it may be an invisible force, understanding and mastering the animation time chart's intricacies can be a game-changer for both aspiring and established animators. It can be the difference between an animation that is jerky and unnatural and one that flows smoothly, captivating the audience.

So let us embark on a journey of exploration and delve deep into the world of the animation time chart. We will unravel its purpose, its functions, and how it can become the secret weapon in your arsenal to master the art of timing in animation.

Cover GIF by Mashed via GIPHY

The Pulse of Creation: Understanding the Animation Time Chart

black and white translucent clocks ticking really fast in front of each other

GIF by Psyklon via GIPHY

When embarking on an animation journey, it's essential to understand the heart of it all – the animation time chart. Just as the rhythm of a heartbeat gives life, the animation time chart breathes life into your animated characters and scenes. 

This chart is the maestro, guiding the flow of your animation and ensuring that each scene unfolds with perfect rhythm. Today, we will delve deep into this indispensable tool, unveiling its secrets and exploring how it can help you master timing in animation.

Part I: The Crucial Role of an Animation Time Chart

video editing software showing the editing of a video

GIF by Detail Technologies via GIPHY

Timing is the soul of animation. It gives your characters their unique personality, injects emotion into each scene, and controls the overall tempo of the story. The animation time chart is an animator's guiding light in this world of measured movement. 

This invaluable tool helps visualize the sequence of actions, enabling you to understand and control how each frame evolves into the next. Through it, you can create smooth, lifelike animations that captivate audiences and bring your story to life.

Part II: Dissecting the Elements of an Animation Time Chart

an assembly production line for yellow objects with robotic arms being used to move and assemble the objects

GIF by RedefineTheObvious via GIPHY

An animation time chart is not just a collection of random markings. Instead, it is a well-thought-out roadmap consisting of annotations and instructions added directly to an animation drawing or a model sheet. These guidelines represent the timing and sequencing of actions within each frame, creating a rhythm for the animation.

The key components of an animation time chart include frame numbers, which highlight where a particular movement begins and ends, and spacing details that portray the speed and pace of the movement. Understanding these elements and their correlation is the first step towards mastering the animation time chart and, by extension, the timing of your animation.

Part III: The Allure of an Animation Time Chart

a man with orange hair chasing a turkey with his arms stretched out whilst the turkey is running away created with an accurate animation time chart for smooth motion


Using an animation time chart brings precision and control to an animator's workflow. It can help you manage complex animations, providing a clear visual guide to the progression of your scenes. With it, you can keep track of each movement, ensuring that your animation flows naturally and seamlessly.

This tool is particularly crucial in team projects, where it serves as a shared roadmap for everyone involved. The animation time chart ensures that all team members understand the sequence, pacing, and timing of the animation, promoting synchronization and harmony in the project.

Part IV: Mastering the Craft of the Animation Time Chart

an animated pink bird flying through the clouds very smoothly

GIF by Oliver Sin via GIPHY

Mastering the art of the animation time chart is a process that requires understanding, practice, and patience. To begin with, study different animations and break down their time charts. Notice the pacing, the flow of movements, and how each action transitions into the next.

Once you're comfortable with analyzing time charts, create your own for your animation projects. Understand that the animation time chart is not a rigid structure but a flexible guide. It allows for revisions and adjustments as you progress with your animation, keeping your creativity unrestricted.

Always remember that the rhythm of your animation should align with your narrative, and the animation time chart is your tool to ensure this alignment. As with any art form, mastering this tool will take time, but the result will be worth the effort.

How To Start An Animation Studio - Businesss of Animation

Looking to Elevate Your Business Skills as an Animator?

Unlock your potential with our FREE Masterclass

Our free masterclass is the perfect opportunity to do just that. You'll learn what you need to take your animation business to the next level.


Part V: An Ally in Learning: The Animation Business Accelerator Program

a character reading a book and all sorts of things come out his head against a rainbo like backdrop

Animated GIF by GIPHY

Our Animation Business Accelerator program understands that the journey into the animation industry can be challenging. We provide on-demand video lessons that offer easy-to-understand and actionable insights into starting and growing a freelance animation business or studio. 

Live mentorship calls with Ben Marvazi, our head business coach and a 7-figure animation business owner, are a part of our offerings. These live Q&A sessions aim to answer all your animation business questions and concerns, enabling you to overcome any roadblock you encounter.

Through our program, you also gain access to a supportive community of like-minded freelance animators and studio owners from around the world. This network is a great platform to ask questions, get support, and share experiences. We provide extensive hand-picked resources like contracts, pre-written emails, and more to help you navigate the business side of animation.

Crafting Success with the Animation Time Chart and Beyond

a bear standing on the 1st place position on the podium holding and raising a trophy and a rabbit on the 2nd place position on the podium wearing a medal with  a bird in a cup on the 3rd place position

GIF by Biteable via GIPHY

Mastering the animation time chart is one of the many steps on your path to becoming a successful animator. It’s an essential tool that will empower you to create fluid, lifelike animations. But remember, while it is important, it's not the only factor that determines success in this exciting industry. Your creativity, persistence, and willingness to learn and adapt are equally crucial.

Take the first step towards transforming your animation dreams into reality today. Join our Animation Business Accelerator Program and sign up for a free strategy session where you can get advice on what steps you need to take to live your dream life. Plus, don’t forget to check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio” to get more insights.

The captivating world of animation awaits you. So, let's bring your characters to life, let's make them move to the rhythm of your creativity. Start your journey today and let every frame tell a story that's uniquely yours!

rocket for boa

Lacking Business Skills as an Animator?

Transform your animation skills into a profitable business with our expert-led free training.
Business of Animation Footer Logo
Helping Animators Succeed

Feeling Stuck in Your Animation Career? Learn How to Break the $10,000 Per Month Barrier!

crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram