2D vs. 3D Animation – Differences and Meaningful Application

What is 2D

2D animation has been around since the end of the 18th century. Century. So, 2D or two-dimensional, if you want to put it that way, is a very traditional animation method. The focus of 2D animation is also on the creation of characters, storyboards, and backgrounds. Therefore, both creative and technical skills are required.

2D can be created by hand or with a computer, but in both cases, you can only look at one angle at a time. For this reason, 2D animation only shows the height and width of the characters, while 3D animation also shows their depth. If you work with a computer, you can use a special type of software for 2D animation. Don’t hesitate to visit https://kevurugames.com/game-animation/2d-animation-services/ for help.

You may think that you can achieve more with 3D animation instead of 2D animation. However, 2D is still used a lot nowadays. Think of television advertising, cartoons, websites, or e-learning courses. Sectors that mainly use 3D are the healthcare industry, biotechnology, and the gaming industry. Films are also still shot in 2D and nowadays sometimes even in 3D. Some famous examples of 2D are classics such as Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and modern cult hits such as Family Guy and The Simpsons.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • + Relatively simple technology, easy to learn
  • + Very creative and artistic
  • + Cost-effective depending on the project
  • – Not always equally dynamic (especially frame-by-frame)
  • – Realism is difficult

Workflow

Script – Storyboard – Illustrations – (Rigging (create skeleton for movements) – Animation – Compositing (sound/cut) – Export.

Programs for Digital Animation

After Effects, Photoshop, Adobe Animate

Field of Application

TV, advertising, logo animation, cartoons, websites, e-learning courses, explanatory videos

Also, can read: 5 Phases of Video Production That Will Give You Amazing Results

What is 3D

As the name suggests, 3D adds a third dimension: depth. This seems to make the whole thing more complex. However, this is not always the case. Basically, the workflow of 3D animations is longer, because, for example, textures or the light are added. But simple objects can be animated relatively quickly, cool, and dynamically. However, the complexity increases exponentially from experience. 

To create 3D animations, you need special programming applications on your computer. You can’t create a 3D animation just by drawing on paper. Since it is created with a computer, you can change the lighting or move the camera in the application. This is not possible with 2D animation. Something that is also a useful addition to your video is adding 3D in a live-action video for a special effect.

Some examples of famous films with 3D are: The Transformers, Toy Story, Shrek, and Jurassic Park. Since 3D is more realistic and requires more specific tools, the prices for this type of video are also higher than for 2D.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • + Dynamic
  • + Realism is possible
  • + Change of perspective possible
  • + Characters and objects can be used again and again
  • – Quickly becomes complex
  • – Can take a lot of time (especially rendering)
  • – Needs a lot of computing power

Workflow

Script – Storyboard – Modelling (the “building” of objects) – Texturing (give color & structure) – Rigging (create skeleton for movements) – Animation – Lighting (light) – Compositing (sound/cut) – Rendering (export) – (post-processing).

Programs for Digital Animation

Blender, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Maya

Field of Application

Gaming, logo animation, 3D visualizations (e.g. for architecture, natural sciences), special effects in feature films, films (e.g. Disney, Pixar).

Which is better, 2D or 3D?

They are two very different ways of working and stylistic devices. 3D animations are gaining popularity at the moment, but they will not replace 2D animations right away.

If you have to decide, you should consider the following points:

Does the idea work if everything is represented two-dimensionally (2D) or is a third dimension required (3D)?

Are there any elements that should be realistically represented? (rather 3D)

Is it possible to mix 2D and 3D? (e.g. Background 2D, object 3D)

How much time should be invested? (3D usually takes longer)

If you are unsure, a non-binding consultation on https://kevurugames.com/unity-developers-for-hire/ can be useful so that you can remove possible obstacles before the start of the project.

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