2D v/s 3D animation

There are quite a few animation styles practiced today. It is almost like the animator’s signature style. We associate Disney with 2D animation, whereas Pixar is known for 3D animation. Further ahead, Aardman Animations is always associated with clay animation, and Laika Entertainment is known for stop-motion animation.

However, the most common forms used are 2D and 3D animation, both with their own pros and cons. A production team must determine the purpose, and the look & feel of the project before deciding on the course of action to take. In this post, we will discuss the merits and demerits of 2D and 3D animation, so that next time you know which method suits your story better.


Source: Bloop Animation


2D animation 

This is the oldest form of animation, and is still preferred by traditional animators around the world. With the evolution of animation, this form comes with its own sets of advantages & disadvantages.


  • Low production cost – Not every production team can afford the added expense of harnessing 3D technology
  • Quick time – Production lead time is low. It is quicker to produce 2D animation
  • Less complex – It is easier to produce a 2D animated sequence over its 3D counterpart due to less involvement of technology & software
  • Tried & tested – The method has been around since the late 1800s & works every single time
  • Easy to fix – It is very simple to fix errors in 2D animation. If it looks wrong, just redraw it


  • Old can be boring – Traditional animation can sometimes appear mundane. There is no comparison of quality between 2D & 3D animation; the latter wins hands down
  • Audience demand – 3D animation is fast capturing the market. Very few people prefer to watch 2D animation movies as compared to its 3D counterpart
  • Economic reasons – Not all 2D animation is simple to make. Sometimes, it takes less time and money to create a sequence in 3D due to advances in computer technology
  • Time is money – Several movie studios are giving up 2D animation altogether because it is time consuming to create cel-based animation templates, which can never be reused
  • Expertise – 2D animation requires a workforce that is able to draw & sketch. This is not mandatory for 3D animation



Source: airanuva


3D animation

With technological advancements & software developments, 3D animation is the order of the day. Animation films are released in a 2D & 3D version, purely because of audience demand. Yet, it cannot be forgotten that this technique has its own share of benefits & limitations.


  •  Visual output – 3D animation is more realistic and exciting
  • Technological advancements – New technologies are being developed everyday and the overall viewing experience is becoming exponentially better on a very rapid scale
  • Time is money – 3D models made for a particular project can be reused for future projects. This lowers the cost of production over the years for a 3D animation studio
  • Audience demand – The current generation of children are now used to 3D animation. They may not no easily relate to 2D animation
  • More workforce – Many animators are now shifting their skills to 3D animation so it is not very difficult to find a talented workforce anymore


  • Limited imagination – What can be done in 3D is limited to what the machine can do. There is more scope in 2D as it depends on the artists
  • The old charm – The highest grossing animated movies ever made have been created in 2D animation. Sometimes, simplicity takes a front seat when it comes to popularity with the masses
  • Profit & loss – A lot of effort, time & resources go into making a 3D animation project. The returns may not be as spectacular
  • Technical glitches – Sometimes 3D models may not work as they should. Bugs, computer viruses, all contribute to making 3D animation that much more difficult to create
  • Motivation – Sometimes, 3D animation is done simply ‘for the sake of doing it’, and the results can be quite lackluster

What is your favourite form of animation? Share with us your thoughts in the comment box below.


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