What are the Technical Differences Between 2D and 3D Animation?

As technology innovation grows, the resources that creative artists get to use continuously improve. A few decades ago, for instance, the concept of three-dimensional projects was not even around. Nowadays, it is the primary form of expression. Just consider, for instance, the last time that you witnessed a two-dimensional character. Outside of some old versions of the timeless video game “Mario,” you have probably not seen too many animated projects that relied on this medium.

What a lot of people fail to understand, however, is that the evolution from two- to three-dimensional items took quite a while. Additionally, it is something that continues to develop daily. Hence why a lot of forward-thinking artists believe that three dimensions are only going to be popular until someone figures out a way to add another perspective to their creation in a believable way. Until then, you should consider learning the main differences between 2D and 3D deliverables, which, according to Harvard , boil down to visualization.

The Basics of Two-Dimensional Animations

Two-dimensional, or 2D, animations are characterized by objects that only measure through their height and width. They do not have any depth that would give them a realistic appearance. So, animators who create 2D projects only have to worry about the “X” and “Y” axis when they are designing and editing their characters and sceneries. Due to this, two-dimensional projects tend to be relatively cheap when compared to their three-dimensional counterparts.

The way that motion takes place in a 2D animation is also very unique. In simple terms, it is based on frames that the creator edits to make a brand new image that adds on to the preceding one. Once they create enough frames, all of them are put together and moved very fast to give away the illusion of tangible action. Some of the most common platforms that continue to use two dimensions are advertisements, online courses, various spheres of engineering, and cartoons.

The Basics of Three-Dimensional Animations

The most obvious change that comes into play as one transition from 2D to 3D animations is the addition of a brand new axis. That axis represents the depth and is usually annotated with the letter “z.” Moreover, the animation is not facilitated through the rapid change of frames, it is based on an actual movement of the character that one generates through the use of advanced software. Therefore, you should expect to spend more time and capital when you are working with a 3D animation because the resources that you must have can be rather pricey.

The most common industries that utilize three dimensions in their work are gaming, medical, and movie sectors. Just think about how much animating effort must have gone into enormous projects like “The Avengers.” As per Forbes , though film-based animation in three dimensions will always be much more prominent than the deliverables made in the gaming sector.

Is There a Better Option?

While three-dimensional animations are a lot more realistic and visually appealing, they are not always better. For instance, someone who wants to save money will probably never go with a 3D project. In translation, one’s professional goals will have a direct relationship with the type of software that they choose. Those who are creating a game will usually settle for 3D tools, per se, while folks who just need a brief YouTube advertisement will be okay with 2D designs. So, there is no way to make a sound reason why either one of the two is a lot better than the other. There is just a lot of situations where one of them will be more appropriate.

Finally, you should recognize that folks who study to make deliverables in two dimensions will need to learn a lot less than someone who is doing the same thing in 3D. The reason why is that the educational requirements to become an animator who works with three-dimensional projects are a lot more rigorous than those of a 2D artist. Fortunately, their starting and average career salaries are noticeably higher, which somewhat makes up for this discrepancy.

Related Resources:

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