2D vs 3D: Which Animation Services are the Best Fit for Your Business?

18 February 2022

When you think of animation, you probably think back to those early years of watching cartoons on the sofa in your jammies. And perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why animation is such a powerful tool. It’s emotive, and it can be used to communicate complex ideas that keep audiences engaged for longer. Whether you’re looking to market, educate, or entertain, animations are a great way to use video to your advantage.

In this blog post, we take a look at two popular styles of animation services our team specialise in: 2D vs 3D, and discuss what each type is best used for.

Evolving from 2D to 3D Animation

If you’re anything like our animators, some of your fondest childhood memories, consist of sleepy Sunday mornings spent on the sofa watching your favourite cartoons. Whether it was Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo or The Jungle Book, that took your fancy, most of your childhood animation favourites would have likely been presented in a 2D format.

If you dig a little further, you’ll discover that animation techniques are as old as storytelling, and continue to enchant audiences at home and in the workplace to this day. Perhaps it’s because of this enthusiasm and curiosity that the animation industry has evolved so rapidly.

The Early Days of Animation

Animation has come a long way from its early days when artists had to physically draw each image frame by frame and then play them back like a flipbook to create 2D movement.

Once limited to the classic, 2D, hand-drawn animations we see in original classics like Micky Mouse, animators like our team here at AVC build their creative craft through the support and their skill in a range of tools, programs and technologies to help in the aim to push boundaries and create incredibly lifelike animations.

Even though the first few animated films were extremely primitive, they revolutionised the way animation was done. A great example of this was “Hummingbird,” released in 1967. It was developed using a computer and included 30000 photos and 25 motion sequences.

The Emergence of 3D Animation

Some of the first 3D animation was stop-motion/ claymation. This technique sees an animator posing an object and taking pictures of it, then changing the pose/setting and take images of it again.

When these images are stitched together, they form a style of 3D animation. Nick Park’s “Wallace and Gromit” is a well-known stop-motion animation. It premiered for the first time in 1990.

Stop-motion animation was a success, and it paved the way for computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) was employed in 3D animation creation. In this form of production, computers played a crucial part. To create 3D animated content, today’s 3D animation studios use increasingly advanced tools and software to bring the best skills and talent out of the people crafting their creations.

These tools assist animators in producing more creative animation in a shorter amount of time. Concept design, character design, environment design, and the use of particles and other animatic makeups are some of the new characteristics that have been brought to the forefront of the animation industry in recent years.

3D animation’s unique characteristics help people retain and process information better than before. It’s impact on commerce, entertainment, and education is immense.

2D vs 3D: Spot the Difference

2D Animation

  • “2D” indicates that the animation is two dimensional, like a drawing on a piece of paper.
  • 2D animations feature characters or objects visualised by height and width alone, on an X- axis and Y-axis.
  • 2D animation services are all about frames.
  • 2D animations were traditionally drawn. Every movement was created frame by frame. This technique is called cell-animation. However, modern 2D animations tend to be created using software. Once the first action scene has been created, software will generate the rest.
  • 2D animation is a more simple format and can be a cost effective alternative than 3D dependent on requirements.
  • Conceptual or complex ideas are difficult to display in a 2D format.
  • You’ll find 2D animation being used in adverts, films, cartoons, websites, e-learning courses, whiteboard animations and so on.

3D Animation

  • 3D indicates that the animation is three dimensional, like a physical object.
  • 3D animation includes a 3rd dimension – depth. This makes characters appear far more realistic than in 2D.
  • 3D animation services are all about movement.
  • One of the earlier techniques of 3D animation was the stop motion picture approach. Today, however computer software aids the talented animators working on projects like ours at AVC Immedia. The development consists of several phases or steps such as modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging, rendering and so forth.
  • 3D animations are far more complex and are therefore more time consuming. To develop a 3D animation will require professional animation services.
  • 3D animations are ideal for depicting conceptual designs, complex products, services and processes because objects can be viewed at depth.
  • 3D animation services are widely used in gaming and movies as well as within a number of sectors, including medicine, biotechnology, aerospace, architecture, oil & gas, energy and engineering through animated explainer videos, employee training courses and promotional content.

Which Animation Services Best Fit Your Business Needs?

Choosing the right style of animation to suit your business goals will depend heavily on the industry you work in, how you plan to use your animation, who your target audience is, how complicated your concept is and how big your budget is.

For example, if you are a small B2C business looking for a beautifully crafted, snappy and impactful ad to promote your business online, a 2D animation could be a great fit for you.

If however, you are a large B2B corporation, that offer complex, technical services, a 3D animation of your service offerings, would enable potential customers to better understand what you do and how you can help them. Using a 3D format could provide a better fit for you, because you can depict your processes, products or services in greater detail.

If your still feeling hesitant, our pros and cons guide below will help you decide which style is the best fit for your business:

Why Use 2D Animation Services?

The Pros

  • It can be time and cost efficient – 2D animation can be less expensive than 3D. This is owing to developments in software, which have drastically reduced production time and expenses.
  • Your story takes centre stage – 2D animations tend to be more story-driven. It’s easier to capture the ‘wow factor’ with sweeping camera motions and dramatic effects when working with 3D objects, but this can occasionally detract from the storey or more intimate moments.

The Cons

  • Your animation depending on the target demographic may appear less dynamic. Movement and life like rendering is captured in far greater detail in 3D.  Animating a car rolling, for example, is incredibly difficult to achieve using 2D as opposed to 3D.
  • Your animation could be susceptible to ageing with time – As 3D becomes more available there seems to have been a change in personal preference for 2D animation. It is still widely used and popular, although 3D is very much on trend in 2022.

Why Use 3D Animation Services?

The Pros

  • Enhance the movement of your animation – Because all character animations and their settings are designed in 3D space, you can rotate the camera in the same way you would in real life. This allows you to move through the world you have created with more freedom and experience characters and objects from various angles with ease. Viewers, can therefore, feel immersed in your animation. You can also take the viewer to places not possible with the human eye on through the lens of a real life camera.
  • Create more realistic simulations – Technology has progressed so far that photorealistic representations of your animation are now possible.
  • Enjoy endless possibilities – 3D animation allows you to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do in 2D or even in real life. Returning to our car-rolling example, it’s become common for film makers to incorporate 3D animations into their live-action productions, rather than performing risky stunts like this on set.
  • Available content and experience – Using a team like we have at AVC Immedia with a wealth of 3D animation experience can mean access to models or environments and methodologies used for 3D animations in your sector that can save on time and money than developing something from scratch.

The Cons

  • 3D is far more complex and time sensitive to produce – When working in 3D, you must model the character, product, or environments, animate them, apply lighting, and create textures before you can get a real sense of how the overall animation will look. It’s a time-consuming operation that uses up a lot of computer processing power.
  • That’s all before you hit the render button. Some detailed animations can take many minutes to render, and with 25 or 30 frames in a second of many animations, that can take considerable time to produce which is often overlooked by those not experienced in the field.
  • A 3D animation company such as AVC Immedia will be able to help you achieve the look you want using our skills and expertise to maximise the production process and minimise time where possible.

So what will it be?

You should be able to tell by now that both formats come with their own set of unique advantages and disadvantages, which are mostly dependent on the style of animation you’re looking to achieve and the kind of budget and time frame you have for your project.

Simple vector characters are less expensive than 3D characters, but cell animation is even more costly than 3D animation because of the time it takes to produce. You’ll need to make a decision about the right fit for your business based on your project goals, budget, timeframe, concept and capabilities.

If you’re still not any clearer about which approach would be the best fit for the type of content you’re looking to produce, then our professional team would be delighted to speak with you. Our experienced animators can always help you get to the bottom of your animation conundrum.

Why AVC Immedia?

We work to the specific requirements of our clients to bring their brilliant ideas to life, drawing on years of industry knowledge and expertise to position their brand in the best possible light through video animation. No matter how far along you are with your big idea, we can support you through every stage of the process. We can create a storyboard, script, as well as visual animations, and background music to ensure your project is a resounding success. So don’t be shy, give us a call on 01224 392828.

We work to the specific requirements of our clients to bring their brilliant ideas to life, drawing on years of industry knowledge and expertise to position their brand in the best possible light through video animation. No matter how far along you are with your big idea, we can support you through every stage of the process. We can create a storyboard, script, as well as visual animations, and background music to ensure your project is a resounding success. So don’t be shy, give us a call on 01224 392828.

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