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2D Animation vs 3D Animation – Which is Best For Your Business?

Oct 31, 2017

It's a staple of content production and oft-debated question at the marketing table - 2D animation vs 3D animation... which is best for your business?

In one corner, 2D animation is energetic, entertaining to watch, and light on its feet, even with many years of experience. You can always rely on 2D animation thanks to a track record of delivering each and every time.

In the other corner, 3D animation comes out swinging with the ability to add realistic modelling and motion graphics to the mix. Its powerful punch can smash the bounds of possibility to land that killer blow.

So, how on earth are you meant to pick a winner in the battle of 2D vs 3D animation? It depends on what you’re fighting for...


2D Animation

2D animation works best for simple, straightforward projects where there's no reason to step too far outside the box.

This isn't a bad thing either. Some productions don't need any flair or fancy moves to communicate effectively, especially in the case of serious topics or concepts that function best with clarity in mind.

If turnaround time is an issue, 2D animation is usually the right choice too. Far easier to produce, edit, and adjust than the more sophisticated options, it's possible to create a professional, impactful video in next to no time.

2D animation certainly has a time and a place. It’s commonplace for explainer videos that require a crystal clear message and corporate videos that must quickly get to the point.

As this Jumbla example for Carben Creative shows, 2D animation allows for artistic yet effective imagery. It embraces the topic of storytelling with seamless transitions between each scene, enabling the adaptability of 2D animation to shine through.

Completed in under two weeks, this particular production demonstrates the ease and speed of 2D animation.


3D Animation

3D animation is a younger and more complex version of its seasoned sibling that provides a distinctive twist on traditional concepts. It bridges the gap between the possible and the impossible, occupying the space where 2D animation and live action fall short.

Unlike 2D animation, which works best for simple ideas that require a clear-cut message, 3D animation is suited to more imaginative concepts and enables brands to challenge norms with their marketing efforts.

It's immersive and engaging, helping viewers feel a part of the video experience rather than sitting on the outside looking in. 3D is also extremely versatile; it can take on a wide range of tones, styles, and formats to meet your specific needs.

Our effort for Julius Marlow's O2 Motion technology demonstrates just how effective 3D animation can be in marketing a concept to the viewer. By depicting the elements that make the O2 Motion air pod so unique, viewers can envision the sensation delivered by comfortable footwear.

From the clean curves of the pods to the cushy arch of the shoe, engaged viewers will develop a perception of just how amazing such a shoe might feel, which in turn makes them take action.


2D animation vs 3D animation ... you can have both

Still can't decide which contender your business should back? Why not both?

Believe it or not, 2D vs 3D animation isn't an either-or kind of situation, as a combination of both can bring any vision to life.

Whether you want to emphasize a portion of your production or like the innovation that comes with a mix of styles, using the best of both worlds can help you create a product no one will forget.

Take this animation for Knog PWR bike lights. Instead of relying on one form of animation or another, this inventive idea embraces both concepts to highlight the most important features of the product.

The background scenes, like buildings, streets, outdoor landscapes, and wild animals are drafted in 2D animation, while the lights themselves are 3D renders.

Scenes incorporate multiple layers and the use of shadow, communicating the abilities of light in a dark space. This allows the viewer to focus on what the product can do, highlighting the capabilities of high-intensity bike lights with a first-person feel.


2D animation vs 3D animation - decision time

When choosing an animation style, it's important to keep in mind several different factors:

  • Budget
  • Turnaround time
  • Creative vision
  • Key audience
  • Purpose

If, for example, you require a simple explainer video on a budget in a matter of days, 2D animation is a great fit.

However, a more complex advertisement with a larger budget and some creative concepts may be a better fit for 3D animation. 

And, if your project really needs a bold, dynamic, or distinguishing edge, incorporating the best of both worlds can help you make a statement that will always stand out in a crowd. 

In short, there is no all-conquering champion in the battle between 2D vs 3D animation...they’re both winners, whether going it alone or working together. Get in touch with us today and we’ll do our best to ensure you’re victorious too.

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