2D vs 3D Animation

2D vs 3D Animation

March 25, 2023

2d vs 3d animation
2d vs 3d animation

October 09, 2023

Table of Contents

A majority of us grew up watching Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck. These are the kind of 2d vs 3d animations that gave us a blood rush whenever we missed watching, they are still hilarious and famous up to today because of their funny characters and scintillating scenes.


These animations were part of the old generation 2D animations that inspired many kids to pursue animation as a career. The current market of shows has transitioned due to Technological advancements to 3D animation which is being used frequently and adopted for many uses. While both forms have their unique characteristics, there are some fundamental differences that set them apart.

It's worth taking a look at some of the best animated movies of the decade. We have compiled a list of the top animated movies released in the last ten years.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between 2D and 3D animation and explore some of the benefits, pros/cons and drawbacks of each.

2D Animation

2D animation is a form of animation that involves creating a series of images, where each image is slightly modified to create the illusion of movement. The technique involves working within a two-dimensional space and is used to bring to life various objects, including characters, backgrounds, and effects.

Whether, the art of 2D animation and create stunning animations that engage and entertain your audience, you need to first understand what the main crucial steps to create 2D Animation. I would suggest to check out our step-by-step guide on how to make 2D animation.

Traditionally, 2D animation was done by drawing each frame by hand. This process involved creating a series of hand-drawn images that would be captured on film. With the advent of technology, animators can now create 2D animation using software tools. This has made the process faster, more efficient, and has opened up new possibilities for creativity.

Despite the advances in technology, the core principles of 2D animation remain the same. Each frame is carefully crafted to create movement, and the frames are played back at a speed of 24 frames per second (24fps) to create the illusion of motion. Animators have honed their skills over the years, leading to the development of more complex characters and actions.

The 2D animations to many may seem old but it still holds a special place in the animation industry and that has made it survive all this time and still be relevant to date. Like in the recent times, we have witnessed the combination of 2D and 3D in movies like a 3D bauble that glows was used in Disney’s The Black Cauldronthe 3D robot used in Warner Bros’ The Iron Giant which is entirely a 2D movie.


  • Lower costs of production. Their cost of production is relatively cheaper compared to what one may use to make a 3D animation due to the advancement of technology characters can be re-used, making it cheaper to produce.
  • Less production times. Producing 2D animation takes less time due to software advancement and since its objects and characters do not require much manipulation like those of 3D.
  • Simple without Complexity: Characters and object formulation in 2D is simple and the available software can run on many machines.
  • Versatile: It can be used for a wide range of projects, from simple explainer videos to more complex animated shorts.


  • Boring and Less Dynamic. The 2D animation can be boring, due to its simplicity and lack of the wow aspect even when the characters are not doing anything. Characters lack the complexities associated with real-life objects.
  • Less in demand. Currently, 3D has taken over a major share of the animation market as it can be used even in the corporate environment to showcase a project and achieve good results.
  • Time is money: Sometimes it is time-consuming to create 2D animation templates.
  • Limited movement: Because 2D animation is limited to two dimensions, it can be challenging to create complex movement and camera angles. This can make it less suitable for action scenes or fast-paced animations.

Best 2D Animation Software’s:

2D animation software remains a popular and essential medium for creating engaging and compelling designs and artworks. Animation comprises a broad perspective; it has been used in plentiful resources like educational videos, explainer videos, animated ads, cartoons, even in businesses.

While 3D animation is the most prominent type of animation in modern cinema, 2D animation remains a popular and essential medium for creating engaging and compelling content. Whether you’re looking to create animations for personal projects, marketing materials, or for a career in the industry, mastering in 2D animation video is a crucial step.


With the growth of technology, there are now several options available in the market, such as Adobe Animate, Synfig Studio, Toon Boom Harmony, and OpenToonz that enable animators to bring their ideas to life with ease. For more options and detailed reviews, check out this article on the best 2D animation software on IdeasAnimation.net.

3D Animation

In today’s world, 3D animation has become an essential part of the entertainment industry. From movies, television shows to video games, 3D animation is used everywhere to create realistic and engaging visual experiences for the audience. In this blog post, we will explore what 3D animation is and how it is used in the entertainment industry.

3D animation is the process of creating moving images in a three-dimensional digital environment. Unlike traditional 2D animation, which is created by drawing images on a flat surface, 3D animation is created using specialized software that allows artists to create 3D models of objects, characters, and environments. These 3D models are then rigged, animated, and rendered to create the final product.

3D animation is an incredibly complex and detailed process, but it is also one of the most rewarding forms of visual storytelling. It allows artists and animators to bring their imagination to life in a way that was once impossible. 

If you’re interested in learning more about 3D animation, consider exploring the world of rigging and the role of a rigger in the process. To learn more about rigging, check out this comprehensive guide on the role of a rigger in 3D modeling and animation.

Characters were made using materials such as clay and then moved around for different shots which are then put together to make an animation; movies such as Shawn the Sheep (1995) and Robot Chicken (2005) are products of Claymation. Popular examples of 3D movies that are available currently include Pets United, The Lion King, and many more.

Though highly favored in the current times 3D animation does have its Pros and cons that make it less adopted by many upcoming animators and they are:


  • Superior movement: In 3D all characters are in a 3D space, this gives the creator the ability to manipulate them, change camera positions to achieve your desired position or effect.
  • Realistic: Characters made in 3D are very superior and resemble real-life objects, this makes the 3D animation more believable than 2D as one can create the photorealistic renders of the animation.
  • Re-Using Models saves time: Once a character is created in 3D, it can be used over and over again in many projects with just minor alterations or none at all.


  • Longer lead times: Unlike 2D, before one fully realizes and makes a character, styling takes a lot of time and characters can appear to be the same as they adopted the same style as one’s imaginations may be limited by the rig.
  • Limited imagination: 3D is tricky to stylize compared to the vast array of styles that can be created in 2D. You are somewhat limited by the rig when creating a character.
  • Complex and Complicated: In 3D to make a character, you have to first model it, check on the lighting, animate it, and create its texture. Thereby the whole process becomes hectic and time-consuming.

Best 3D Animation Software’s:

Whether you are starting up from scratch or as a beginner in animation, there are a lot of software available in the market today for 3D animation which are both online free and paid.

Using Free 3D animation software is useful to bring objects, scenery, and characters to life. You need to grasp the best 3D animation software that top 100 animation companies utilize if you want to succeed in the animation and VFX sectors. There are numerous videography/ 3D animation software options available. As technology continues to evolve, 3D Animation Software’s has become more accessible, making it easier for businesses to create engaging and visually stunning animated videos for their brands.


Future of 2D vs 3D Animation


Animation has come a long way from the traditional 2D hand-drawn animation to 3D computer-generated animation. With the advancement of technology, there has been a significant shift in the animation industry, with 3D animation taking over the film industry by storm. However, the question remains, what is the future of 2D vs 3D animation?

Today’s 2D Animation:

  • 2D animation is still used in various industries, such as advertising, educational videos, and short films.
  • For those who enjoy watching anime, there are still many studios producing 2D animation, and it remains a popular art form in countries like Japan. If you’re interested in exploring some of the best anime streaming sites available, consider taking a look at this comprehensive list that includes both free and paid options.
  • As per the market figures, 2D animation will retain its visibility as Netflix plans to invest over $5 billion into animation, and many platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and many others are all coming up with a focus on 2D animation.
  • 2D animation has a unique style, and it’s more cost-effective than 3D animation.
  • The technological advancements being witnessed are a clear sign that 2D will remain to be the foundation of all animations, and the line between 2D and 3D will be blurred very soon.

Today’s 3D Animation:

  • 3D animation has become the standard in the film and gaming industry, thanks to its realism and flexibility.
  • With the help of VFX, 3D animation has become a crucial element in movies, creating realistic environments, characters, and creatures.
  • 3D animation is more time-consuming and expensive than 2D animation, but the results are worth it.
  • Augmented and Virtual reality is proving that 3D animation’s application in the future will continue to grow and dominate the market share.

Future of 2D Animation

  • The demand for 2D animation is still present, and it’s likely to remain relevant in the future.
  • Many artists are experimenting with mixing 2D and 3D animation, creating a unique style that merges the best of both worlds.
  • With the rise of digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, there’s a need for more content, which can be fulfilled by 2D animation, as it’s cost-effective and faster to produce.

Future of 3D Animation

  • The future of 3D animation is bright, as technology continues to advance. In the article “VFX & 3D Animation Takes the Film Industry by Storm,” the author discusses the latest trends and predictions for the future of 3D animation, including:
  • The use of AI and machine learning to speed up the animation process.
  • The rise of real-time rendering, allowing animators to see the final result in real-time, making the process more efficient.
  • The increased use of virtual and augmented reality in animation, creating immersive experiences for viewers.
  • With the increasing demand for 3D animation in the gaming and film industry, it’s likely to become more prevalent in the future.

Differences between 2D and 3D animation

The following are distinctive differences that will help upcoming animators and animation enthusiasts to fully understand them better.

  • Animation Process: The animating process differs greatly in each version. In 2D the animation is majorly composed of drawing and redrawing of objects for each pose or action while in 3D it involves altering keyframes. Everything that a character does in 3D is done using computer software before texturing and rendering.
  • Frame Rate: 2D and 3D differ completely here on the frame rates. While 2D relies on frame rate (mostly it uses 24fps) to show action or a different pose from the previous ones, 3D doesn’t at all as it relies on general movement by changing keyframes.
  • Cost: So if we talked about 2d and 3d animation costs, producing animations can be cheap and also expensive. This solely relies on what format one will choose. In 2D the cost of production is relatively cheap compared to 3D because of the complexities involved and software.
  • Applicability: The two versions (3D vs 2D) are still being used in different areas for different purposes. 2D is highly used in advertisements, films, cartoon shows, websites, e-learning courses, and engineering, while 3D is used in gaming, movies, medical, biotechnology, aerospace for simulation and conceptual works.
  • Texture: This is a major difference between the two versions. Through observation one can note that 2D is characters or images in 2D are flat or flattened. This is why 3D prevails as animators can add texture and make real-life models or characters which can be added into any videos and fit well like mimicking real grass, trees, or even animals.
  • Space: In 2D space is flattened and it’s in a two-dimensional form, this means that a character has to be drawn and redrawn in different poses to show movement. While in 3D animation, the entire model is first created and then the animator can manipulate it like a puppet in three-dimensions.
  • Shapes: Main difference between 2d vs 3d shapes is that 2D shape consists of 2 dimensions, i.e length & width, and 3D shape consists of 3 dimensions, i.e length width & height.


In conclusion, both 2D and 3D animation have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. 2D animation is simpler and cost-effective while 3D animation provides greater realism and flexibility. Moreover, there are a variety of software options available for both 2D and 3D animation such as Adobe Animate, Toon Boom Harmony, Autodesk Maya, and Blender.

The key difference between 2D and 3D animation is the level of depth and dimensionality they offer. It is important to consider your project requirements, audience preferences, and budget constraints when choosing between the two. 

Ultimately, the decision to use 2D or 3D animation will depend on the specific needs of your project. Regardless of your choice, Ideas Animation is a reliable and skilled animation studio that can help bring your ideas to life with our expert 2D and 3D animation services.

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