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2D and 3D animation

What's the difference?

3D Animation for Space client

When creating an animated video, there are two types of animation that animators can use - 2D or 3D.

We briefly outline the main differences.

2D Animation

2D animation is generated in 'two dimensions'. Shapes are 'flat' - like what you might draw on paper.  Animating in 2D is generally used to explain high-level concepts and theories.

2D shapes can be separated by distance but only on the surface plane. In computer graphics, this is measured in horizontal and vertical units - known as X and Y values respectively. These can be used to plot exactly how far across and up an element is on the screen. A well-known example of 2D animation is The Simpsons by Matt Groening.

Zegami-Animated-Explainer-Video-on-Vimeo 2D and 3D Animation | Sound Motive - Soundmotive

Still from 2D animation for a technology client

Here is an example of a 2D animated pitch film we produced for a start-up

3D Animation

3D animation is useful when demonstrating the technical details of how something works and what it looks like. It has the added 'third dimension' of 'depth'.

This means shapes can have depth themselves (as opposed to being just flat) and can also be separated by forward/backward distances not just the up/down, left/right distances of 2D. This dimension is described as 'Z' depth i.e. how far away the object is from the screen.  A famous example of 3D animation is "Toy Story" from Disney-Pixar. 
geocento 2D and 3D Animation | Sound Motive - Soundmotive

Still from 3D Animation for Earth Observation company


Here is an example of a 3D animation for a Medtech client

Read more about our Animated video productions or contact us to discuss your Animation requirements.