Animation: 2D or 3D?
19th January, 2020

What’s better than images? Images that move, of course. 

Animation has been used in storytelling for a long time, and has been the handmaiden of visual communication for decades. Most of it was 2D. Then technology came along and gave a new dimension to the flatter, less life-like pictures. And 3D animation was born.
video 2

Understanding dimensions in animation

2D animation, fundamentally, assumes that all objects are two-dimensional – height and width. Depth is the third dimension that adds more realism to the objects, coming closer to being life-like. 


While 2D animation uses flat images that are either hand-drawn or created through vectors, 3D animation involves creation exclusively through computer software. The development in 3D comprises of steps like modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging, rendering and so on. 


2D is more about frames while 3D is more about movements – of objects and characters.


Why is 3D expensive?

Remember watching cartoons as a kid? That was back when animation was predominantly 2D. It’s simple, easier to create and can be funny. 

3D, on the other hand, tries to replicate live action and is more realistic. The sheer amount of expertise involved makes 3D more expensive. Creation in 3D is a complex process, demanding the latest technology as well as knowledge from the animators. The process is also time-consuming – one error along the way and you got to start all over again from the top. Not to mention the requirement of high-end systems for both creating and rendering. 



Choosing between 2D and 3D depends on your brief. Are you looking to create something realistic? If yes, you need 3D. Of course, be mindful of the time and costs involved. 


If, however, you need something simpler (like an explainer video), all you require is good old 2D. It’s uncomplicated, to the point, and saves you time and pots of money. 


3D is attractive, no doubt, and is miles ahead of 2D in terms of looks, finesse and likability. But 2D, in all its humility, is the go-to animation method and comprises three-fourths of all animation. All because it’s simple and easy, inexpensive, less time consuming and more controllable.


For these reasons and more, 2D animation is here to stay!