Top 5 Differences Between 2D Animation and 3D Animation

Apr 16


Mark J Guillen

Mark J Guillen

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

Animation industry is expanding unbridled. With new technologies and modes of operations making their way in, an animator simply cannot forego the very basics that lay the foundation of this multi-billion dollar industry. This article here elaborates the key differences between the two founding stones of animation – 2D animation and 3D animation


We all grew up watching cartoons like Looney tunes,Top 5 Differences Between 2D Animation and 3D Animation Articles Tom and Jerry, and plenty of Disney classics like Bambi, Mulan, and many others. These popular cartoons and movies are all shining trophies of the animation industry.

While our stomach brimmed with laughter and joy by watching these cartoons and movies, a multi-billion dollar industry was embarking its journey to push itself to new inconceivable heights.

The animation industry has genuinely traveled a long way through time, bearing hardships and troubles while also enjoying several perks and rewards. One can notice a very vivid and visible difference in animation from when it started to how it is today.

Several advancements and technological evolution are due for credit here. It all began with simple 2D animation, and over time, has transformed and developed into the 3D animation we see today.

2D and 3D animation share a number of differences that explain why such a major distinction lies in the outcome of both these animations.

The 5 Basic Differences between 2D and 3D Animation


1.   DEFINITIONS What Is 2D Animation?

2D animation, also known as traditional animation, refers to the process of creating motion in a two-dimensional space. Mainstream 2D animation, however, is nothing like the conventional animation it used to be. It has evolved from hand-drawn methods to implementing the same techniques to computer software.

What Is 3D Animation?

3D animation refers to animating characters in a three-dimensional space. Objects and characters have volume, depth, and can be rotated and moved as desired.

3D animation is also referred to as CGI animation. Unlike 2D animation, 3D animation allows animating lights and cameras as well. This form of animation makes use of frames and uses motion to bring characters into life.


The appearance of 2D animation is flat, as it only consists of X and Y axes. The X-axis is the horizontal dimension, while Y-axis is the vertical dimension. 2D animation is widely used in videos, promotional ads, animated films, engineering demonstrations, and mobile video games.

On the other hand, the appearance of 3D animation is more realistic and life-like. It comprises X, Y, and Z axes, where X refers to height, Y refers to the width, and Z refers to depth.

3D animation is generally used in architecture and medical industry, animated movies and cartoons, and high-end video games as well.


2D animation is very reasonable and cost-effective as compared to 3D animation.

The benefits of 2D animation, besides being cost-effective, include low lead time, easy to produce, artistic liberty, and efficiency. Whereas, the benefits of 3D animation overweigh its cost.

3D animation portrays movement realistically, creates visually appealing and life-like animations, and produces high-quality results that are in demand these days.


The animation process of 2D animation requires a lot of hard work, effort, and time. To animate in 2D, drawing is mandatory. Everything you see in traditional 2D animation had to be drawn frame by frame. However, with the advancement in technology, the modern 2D animation process makes use of software in developing action sequences.

On the other hand, a 3D animator is not necessarily required to possess drawing skills. Every production-step is done using different software. In 3D animation, characters are an animator’s puppet that goes through several phases such as modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, rendering, etc.


The most commonly used software in 2D animation includes After Effects, Photoshop, and Adobe Animate. Since 3D animation is more frequented by animators, the industry has remarkable 3d animation software, some of which are free of cost!

The animation industry is on the rise, and there’s nowhere to go but up. Many businesses use animated videos to upsurge their marketing and promotional activities.

If you are someone looking for adept animations, hire an agency today and get yourself some animated videos to promote your products and offerings.