From Disney to Studio Ghibli to Pixar and beyond, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of animated films. After all, they’re often some of the first films we see as kids. While there are some animated films like Yellow Submarine and La Planète Sauvage that are meant for adults, many are directed at a family-friendly audience. The past quarter-century has seen traditional 2D animation and 3D animation go head to head for audiences’ attention, but how well do they compare to each other?
If you have a paper and pen handy, you have all the tools you need to get started learning 2D animation. That’s one of the most appealing aspects of 2D today – it’s far more accessible and affordable to learn than 3D, which requires good computers and modern animating and rendering software. It also has a much longer tradition, giving you a much larger body of work from which to learn and draw inspiration. At the same time, 2D typically can’t match the potential for realism offered by 3D animation. What’s more, the demand for the latter is starting to eclipse the former on the big screen. That said, there is still tons of demand for 2D overall, especially in fields such as anime.
Whether it’s light and playful such as a Pixar animation or an attempt at photo-realism a la modern blockbusters, 3D offers a much greater potential for realistic movement. Good 3D assets can also be used in different scenes or films. As the technology that makes 3D animation possible gets better, we can expect growth in the industry. That being said, 3D costs far more than 2D animation. The demands of the industry also place greater creative limits on the medium at present. In addition, the complexities of the medium mean it takes much longer to learn than 2D.
There are pros and cons to both 2D and 3D animation, and more than enough demand for both to continue far into the future. As long as there are animators eager to draw and create, 2D and 3D animation will be with us.