Animation: 2D Vs. 3D

Animation has changed a lot during the evolution of entertainment from drawing all the frames by hand frame by frame to the technical 3D Disney marvels we see today it’s amazing how far we’ve come in the world of animated entertainment.

What’s the difference?

We all know the classic Disney smooth rotoscoped animation but what’s the difference between the two?

Well generally 2D animation is;

  • Hand drawn
  • Appears flat
  • Simple coloring and shading

2D animation is usually pretty simple in its design and shape to bring across, 2D is what I would refer to as the “fast food” of the animation industry with things like anime and cartoons with weekly animated episodes that needed to be pumped out at a reasonably quick pace

Compared to 3D animation which is;

  • 3D models rigged like dolls
  • A slightly quicker animation process
  • Fancier effects and camera angles

Since the 3D models and environments are actual objects in the program you can get much better and cleaner shots for cinema which is why 3D is a better fit for the movie industry, not only is 3D faster and simpler than drawing each frame it’s easier to add effects and quickly change scenes. This means that continuity is rarely a problem.

Then there’s the best of both worlds.

As amazing as each animation style is they both have their downfalls, 2D animation is known to be way too time-consuming and complicated, while with 3D it’s a lot harder to be expressive because the models are set in stone and can’t be exaggerated to add some more expression. However, this is solved by combining the two! Movies like Claus and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse show that adding the raw exaggerated energy of 2D with the clean quick 3D animation can be a real treat!