Getting to know the differences between 2D animation and 3D animation can help you determine which field of animation you will be more interested in learning and the type of skills that you will need to develop to work in the industry.  At CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFX, we offer comprehensive visual effects and animation programs that can help you gain the skills and confidence to work with 2D animation and 3D animation professionally.

What is 2D Animation?

2D animation refers to cartoon-style animation where the characters appear on a flat plane, such as traditional hand-drawn animation or computer vector animations that adopt the techniques of traditional animation using software like Flash. While computer generated 2D animations use the similar techniques to traditional animation the computer speeds up the process by creating the frames in between the master (key) frames created by the animator.  This job used to be handled by junior animators called “inbetweeners” and was time consuming and painstaking.

Why Choose 2D Animation?

2D animation is a very distinctive medium that is quite different from 3D animation or other forms of visual entertainment. Usually, 2D animation is a very simplified version of reality, which permits the director to focus the audience’s attention on the story and not the physical details that can sometimes be distracting. 2D animation is well known for the way 2D animators ignore and make fun of physical laws, although this can be done in any form of animation.

What is 3D Animation?

3D animation, also known as CGI or CG, is used to generate 3 dimensional objects for various media. Pixar, for example, is well known for creating many amazing feature-length and short films using 3D animation exclusively to create characters, environments, vehicles, monsters, and anything else imaginable.

Artists “build” models in 3D space. These models are then “rendered” under light. It is the lighting and shadows that create the illusion of 3 dimensionality we see in the finished images. Like computerized 2D animation, 3D animators set “key poses” where necessary, usually every few frames. The computer then automatically creates all the frames between the key poses.

Why Choose 3D Animation?

It is really a matter of personal taste. If you love 2D cartoons, you should think about training for this kind of job. If you love 3D animation, then train in a 3D program. Both media can be used for anything from the simplest short to the grandest feature film. Both are now done using computers. Even many 2D animations these days are created using 3D objects by rendering them in a way that makes them look 2 dimensional.

If you would like to learn more about the differences between 2D animation and 3D animation, or if you are interested in our animation and VFX production program, contact CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFX at 604-553-2462 or by filling out a contact form on our website.