2D vs 3D Animation – Which Is Better?

Animation has a huge impact on everyone’s lives in the forms of cartoons, films, videos, and tv shows. It’s also gathered immense popularity in the business world, especially during the pandemic.

There’s so much potential in this field as the current global animation market size stands at $391 billion. And it’s expected to grow rapidly over the next few years.

Animation has the power to hook people’s attention through visuals, textures, and flowy scenes. It’s also easy to produce as opposed to a live-action video.

There are several routes you can take in animation if you’re looking to establish a business in this space. It could be 2D or 3D or stop-motion animation or whiteboard animation.

These animation styles are good in their own way, but you might be scratching your head over choosing the right one.

Don’t panic. In this post, we’re going to talk about differences, factors, and aspects between 2D vs. 3D animation that will give you ideas about which one suits you more.


2D vs 3D animation – main differences

Let’s look at some of the general differences that will help you decide which side can help you kickstart your next business idea.



2D animation offers a more affordable budget to produce videos than 3D animation. Mainly because the work systems for 2D animation don’t have to be heavier.

Most of the assets are either hand-drawn or digitally sketched.

On the contrary, 3D animation requires more resource-heavy hardware and software systems. Assets are produced digitally, but every frame goes through ample computing and rendering.

So, you’ll need to stretch your budget if you’ve decided to start off with 3D animation.

Verdict: 2D animation wins

Read more: Tubebuddy vs. vidIQ—A Comparison


2D animation videos are more story-oriented. They are straightforward and tend to focus less on graphics. Even though animators aim to create flowy and smooth results, but they’re produced easily with regular software.

3D animation videos are more graphics-centric. They rely more on sweeping camera moves, texturing, lighting, rigging, and rendering of differing models.

Such videos may distract viewers from the main storyline due to excessive details in characters and environments. Hence it requires a lot of work and heavy equipment to get the desired results.

Verdict: 2D animation wins



2D animation lacks enough range of movements that gives it a less realistic appeal. At times, the motions seem to be dull, monotonous, and redundant ’cause they’re flat and done across two dimensions which results in videos that are less engaging and dynamic as opposed to 3D.

Owing to three-dimensional space, you have more freedom to create superior movements and worlds for your characters in 3D animation.

It’s also possible to produce photorealistic renders due to advanced software and systems such as motion capture of real objects and people.

Also, 3D animation allows one to create breathtaking environments and real-world simulations that aren’t possible in 2D.

Verdict: 3D animation wins

Also read: Video Ads vs. Image Ads: A Multi-Platform Comparison



The processing and lead production time for 2D animation is low and fast due to advancements in software such as Adobe after effects.

But in terms of recurring themes and traditional practices such as cell animation, it becomes more time-consuming as you’ll have to redraw each frame.

In 3D animation, the processing time is high and slow. Each character goes through a lot of developments and procedures before you can even see the final product.

But once the character or object is modeled, the animation process becomes quicker. And you can use it without limit for your numerous projects which saves time as well as resources.

Verdict: it’s a tie


Final thoughts

On paper, it might appear as if 2D wins outright in the battle of 2D vs. 3D animation. But we still believe both of these styles are excellent in their own right. There are pros and cons to both 2D and 3D animation.

It all boils down to personal preferences and goals. 2D animation has attractive budget requirements but 3D offers more range of movement as it’s done in a three-dimensional space.

2D animation involves less complexity and processing time, but 3D offers more dynamism and freedom to create worlds of your own choice.

2D animation suits more to the style of artistic minds while 3D takes the liking of technical professionals.

You can try both and see which one fulfills your business goals, budget requirements, and time restrictions.

We hope that by reading this post, you’ll have enough necessary material to sink your teeth into any of the animation styles.

And if you’re still struggling in choosing one, and on the verge of completely outsourcing your project, then feel free to give our video strategists a call. They’ll help you out!

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Posted by Adil Ashraf

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