What is the Difference Between 3D and 2D Animation? Which one is better?

The method of planning, designing, drawing, and formulating photographic sequences that are integrated into videos and gaming is referred to as animation. Simply put, it is the rapid screening of images in order to create a scene. It creates the illusion of movement by using static images.

Even though 2D animation is primarily used for the creation of cartoons, it is increasingly being recognised as a valuable tool for marketing technologies and 2D images. It is possible to develop a business and content plan using the medium of 2D and 3D animation. Furthermore, using animated videos will make your brand more noticeable.

Given 3D animation’s rapid growth, you may be wondering where this leaves 2D animation. Is it being overtaken by 3D and fading into obscurity, or is 2D far more long-lasting and reliable than some give it credit for? How difficult is 3D animation compared to 2D animation? In this article, we’ll look into these questions and see where things stand between the two animation styles.

What Does the Term “2D Animation” Mean?

The process of creating motion in a two-dimensional space is referred to as 2D animation, also known as traditional animation. It contains a variety of elements such as backgrounds, foregrounds, and characters that contribute to the illusion of depth.

Traditional animation has existed since the invention of the first motion picture camera. This type of animation was discovered by chance when a camera was stopped for a few seconds and then resumed recording. When this was done, it revealed that the recorded material would ‘jump’. Adobe Flash, Toon Boom Studio, Storyboard, Pencil, CreaToon and Animate are examples of popular 2D animation software.

How Does 2D Animation Work?

When individual drawings are quickly sequenced together, the illusion of movement is created. One second of time is generally divided into 24 frames, and one second of animation (24fps) can have as good as 24 unique drawings or as few as two.

This technique is most easily demonstrated in “flipbook” animation. Make a balloon in the lower right corner of a notepad. Draw another balloon on the next page, but this time it should be slightly to the side of where the original balloon was. Continue this process for several pages, then quickly flip through them. If everything is done correctly, the balloon will appear to move as you turn the pages.

With various computer softwares such as Adobe after Effects and Toon Boom Harmony, mainstream 2D production has replaced these traditional hand-drawn processes using pencil and paper with much faster and more cost-effective digital techniques. This enables 2D animators to create what used to take weeks in minutes.

Two-Dimensional Animation Has the Following Advantages:

  • 2D Animation is simple to learn.
  • 2D Animated Videos Are Cost-efficient
  • 2D Animations are easier to create.
  • 2D Animation allows for more artistic freedom.
  • 2D Animations Are Simple to Update
  • 2D Animations Can Be Applied to Print and Web-Based Materials

Drawbacks of 2D Animation

On the technical and production side, there are many advantages to 2D animated videos, but there are some drawbacks that are frequently noticed in the design style. To be honest, 2D animation can be tedious or redundant at times. And by that I mean when compared to 3D animations. Because you aren’t getting a full 3-dimensional view, whatever is on screen lacks depth?While you can still create stunning 2D assets, they may not engage your target audience as much as a 3D animation.

What Is 3D Animation?

Animating characters and objects in three dimensions is what 3D animation is all about. Characters and objects in this type of animation have volume and depth, as well as the ability to rotate and move. In contrast to the illusion of depth in 2D animation, depth exists in 3D animation.

3D animation is very popular in movies, video games, and virtual reality. Lights and cameras can also be animated in this type of animation, which is also known as CGI animation. Frames are also used in this type of computer animation. Autodesk, Blender, Poser, Houdini, Cinema 4D and Unity are some of the best 3D animation programs.

How Does 3D Animation Work?

3D animation is a multi-step process that necessitates a wide range of abilities. Unlike 2D animation, which requires only the ability to draw to get started, 3D animation necessitates the creation of 3D models that are ‘rigged’ and animated.

The first step in creating 3D animation is usually sketching out how you want your scene and characters to look. Then you make a 3D model of your animated object. After that, the model is textured (the process of adding colour and detail to the model). Rigging is also required for the model. A 3D model rig is similar to a skeleton that aids in the movement of the model. The rig roughly follows the basic structure of a real skeleton (if the model is a human character or animal), but not exactly.

Your model is now ready to be animated. You can now place your rigged model in your scene and start posing it. Using keyframes to decide the position of a specific part of the model and allowing the animation software to parallelize the frames in between can save a significant amount of time.

Three-dimensional Animation Has the Following Advantages:

  • 3D Animation has an accurate and better portrayal of motion
  • 3D Animation is Visually Appealing
  • 3D Animation is more efficient and saves time
  • 3D Animation is Dynamic
  • The demand for 3D animation is increasing
  • The quality of 3D animation models is higher

Drawbacks of 3D Animation

Any in-demand service will be more expensive than a less desirable alternative. Furthermore, because 3D is created on a computer program, its possibilities are limited, limiting your animator’s imagination.

Because not all animators are capable of producing 3D animation, it is very rare to find single animator who knows everything. Instead, you can most likely have a team of animators who specialise in specific 3D animation styles like special effects or character animation, as well as techniques like lighting, texturizing and modelling.


There is another option for you to consider, and it is referred to as 2.5D animation. If you like the aesthetic look of a 3D animation but have a limited budget or timeline, this is a great solution.

2.5D animation is a 2D animation that has been drawn into a 3D space and involves the motion of a two – dimensional object in a 3D space. The tactic is camouflaged behind the perspective and shadows of 2D-animated objects drawn in 2D space and made to appear 3D. Animators create the illusion of moving 2D objects in 3D space by employing brilliant art skills in layering, shadows, morphing, perspective animations and a variety of other techniques. As a result, we see fluidity movement changes in depth that fool us into thinking that we are watching 3D animations when we are actually watching 2D-animated objects. Shadows applied to 2D objects can be used to create a 2.5D effect.

The distinction between 2D, 2.5D, and 3D is based on the depth that our eyes detect. 2D animation appears flat, 2.5D animation appears to have some depth, and 3D animation appears to have 100% depth from each and every angle that the camera follows.

2D vs 3D Animation: Which One Is Better?

There is no clear winner after analysing the two different styles of animation and their roles in various markets. Furthermore, it is clear that 2D animation is secure and will be around for a long time. Even though 3D animation is a newer technology that is gaining traction in the entertainment industry, users will always appreciate the creativity and ease that 2D animation provides and will continue to use it.

Making a choice between both styles will mainly be a matter of personal choice. It’s not so much a question of 2D vs 3D animation as it is of what you find most enjoyable. Though this is not a hard and fast rule, 2D tends to suit people who are more creative and artistic in nature, whereas 3D often suits those who have a more robust and mechanical imagination.

3D and 2D Animation courses are available both online and in person. Learners can make their selection based on their preferences. As humanity’s technological excellence continues to advance, we can predict 2D and 3D animation to grow and develop alongside.


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