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What Are Differences Between 2D And 3D Animation

Liza Brown
Liza Brown
Originally published Jan 22, 22, updated Jul 22, 24
What Are Differences Between 2D And 3D Animation

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Creating an animation requires multiple processes and tasks to get that final result that we enjoy on the screen. Irrespective of the type of animations like stop-motion, sketch, computer, and others, all of them majorly falls under two main categories- 2D animation and 3D animation. The popular cartoons like Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, and others that became an integral part of all childhood were 2D animations and with technological advancement and 3D animation in use, they are more like aged-veterans.

2D And 3D Animation

Toy Story was the first 3D animation movie and after that, there is no stopping. Though 3D animations are more interesting and engaging, they are fields where 2D animations work better. This article will help you to learn in detail about 2D 3D animation, their differences, uses, and other aspects.

Part 1 Part Definition Of 2D And 3D Animation

012D Animation

The traditional method of animation is termed 2D animation and it has been in use for a long time. A 2D animated video has multiple images in different positions which when moved quickly one after the other simulates a movement. The flipping of the images creates an illusion of movement. Earlier 2D animations were created using hands but now there is advanced computer software that can create these animations in just a few simple clicks. The term 2D means 2 dimensional which means that an image for the animation can be moved in two-dimensional space that is X-axis and Y-axis. 

023D Animation

In simplest terms, a 3D animation is an animation that is created in three-dimensional space which makes the characters and objects appear realistic and lively. Thus, a 3D animation has height, width as well as depth. These animations are more complex and the process of creating them is totally different from that of 2D animations. Though 3D animations are used in different industries and platforms these days, majorly they can be found for creating movies, games, and cartoons. 

Part 2 Part Key Differences Between 2d Animations and 3d Animations

The major difference between a 2D animation and 3D animation lies in the final appearance. While a 2D animation appears like a flat animation which can be an image or a photograph at a fast movement while a 3D animation looks like real objects that can be seen from all angles and have their front, back, top, as well as the bottom. 

The table below will differentiate both these animations on various parameters. 

Features/Type of Animation
2D Animation
3D Animation
Full-Form Two-dimensional Three-dimensional
Meaning These animations with 2-dimensional objects appear to be moving when the images are moved at a fast speed. The objects and characters in these animations look more realistic as their appear in 3-dimensional space.
Supported Aspects and axis Length and height (X-axis and Y-axis) Length, height, and width (X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis)
Appearance Appear as flat Appear lively and realistic
Basic elements It’s all about frames The animation is all about movements
Axis Images appear at X-axis, and Y axis Objects appear at X-axis, Y-axis, and Z-axis.
Use and target audience Used for social media sites, demos, animated whiteboard videos, and similar others. Used for movies, cartoons, video games.
Use of software Hand-drawn images or computer-generated images can be used. Complex software is needed.
Cost Cheaper than 3D animations Expensive
Examples Snow White, The Jungle Book, Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, and more. The Toy Story, Transformers, Incredibles, and more.
Differences Between 2D And 3D Animation

Part 3 Selecting Between 2D Animation and 3D Animation?

Confused between 2D animation and 3D animation? Several factors can be considered to select between the two types of animations. Major ones are enlisted below.

Target audience: For general explanation and use, 2D animations are a good choice as they are interesting, engaging, and also pocket-friendly. If the target audience is professional people that need in-depth and important information about something, 3D animations are a better choice. 

Availability of software: There are different software used for different types of animations. The availability of the software can also be a deciding factor for selecting between a 2D animation or 3D animation.

Budget: This is another important factor to be considered. Since 3D animation requires more complex tools and procedures, creating them is expensive. So, depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can choose between the two. 

Part 4 Part Merging 2D Animation and 3D Animation

Why choose one, when both can be used? Yes, to get the best of both worlds, 2D animations can be used along with 3D animations depending on the type of the project. Both the styles can be adjusted as per the requirements and for this, good professional software is needed. 

We here suggest Wondershare Filmora Video Editor as the best tool as it not only comes equipped with all the latest features but the entire process is also quick and hassle-free. Majorly working as an excellent video editing software, the program supports multiple functions supporting animated videos. Using this Windows and Mac-based tool yon create dynamic animated videos and also edit them and customize them to suit your requirements. 

Try It Free

For Win 7 or later (64-bit)

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For macOS 10.12 or later

Key features of the software

Create interesting and engaging animated and other videos using more than 100 media layers, composting tools, and dynamic effects.

Apply motion elements, filters, and transitions for dynamic videos.

Audio functions like background noise removal, audio equalizer, keyframe audio editing, and others are supported.

Fast import, export, and rendering.

Option to preview the files in high resolution. 

Features like fisheye correction, speed control, stabilization, advanced color correction, 3D LUTs, and others are supported.

Additional supported functions include import from social media sites, portrait support, camera shake, audio-mixing, screen recording, auto-crop, and others. 

Windows and Mac support. 

Key Takeaways from This Episode

2D and 3D animation are the two major types of animations created for different uses.

A 2D animation appears in two-dimensional space while a 3D animation appears in a three-dimensional space and looks livelier and more realistic.

Both 2D and 3D animations can be merged using professional software like Wondershare Filmora Video Editor that supports a wide range of other functions as well. 

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