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2D vs 3D Animation: Which is Better For Marketing?

2d vs 3d animation which is better for marketing

When it comes to using animation in your marketing plans, it’s important to consider the right animation style for your project. While animation style varies, they can be broadly categorised into 2D and 3D animation. 2D animation is distinctly flat, with hand-drawn images being manipulated frame-by-frame while 3D animation involves animating three-dimensional models in a digital environment.

Ultimately, it depends on your objectives and requirements when deciding to work with a 2D & 3D animation studio to create animated videos catered to your preferred style. The specific animation style you choose will give your brand a distinctive look – an important thing to consider when posting animated videos on social media platforms like TikTok.

Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between 2D and 3D animation!

2D vs 3D Animation

2D Animation

2D animation is a traditional form of animation, where images were hand-drawn on transparent celluloid sheets. These images would create the illusion of movement when each individual frame was slightly altered. With current technology, 2D animators can create movement using software without having to painfully draw each frame. This has made 2D animation more efficient and opened up new possibilities for animators.

For its bright and simple look, 2D animation is great for cartoons, easy-to-understand explainer videos and educational content. Famous 2D animation examples include some of the best adult-animated series like Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty.

2D animation can also be used to evoke nostalgia which we’ve created in this video for the 2019 Singapore National Day Parade.

3D Animation

3D animation uses computer-generated images to create 3D models and characters that interact in a 3D environment, creating a realistic look. From video games to film and television, 3D animation is vital in the entertainment industry for its ability to create an immersive experience for audiences.

Unlike 2D animation which is illustrated on a flat surface, 3D animation is created using specialised 3D rendering software. As a result, 3D animation is more expensive and time-consuming to produce as compared to 2D animation. After all, the end product is hyper realistic visuals that will draw audiences in. This is also why 3D animation is frequently used for product demos and videos to visually showcase the product.

However, 3D animation isn’t just limited to cutting-edge visuals, it can also be used for a colourful and whimsical feel like this video we animated for Frietag.

When deciding between 2D or 3D animation, it’s important to understand the project you have in mind. For instance, animated explainer videos can be animated in both 2D and 3D. However, a 2D animated explainer video can evoke nostalgia and fun, tapping into the whimsical charm of traditional hand-drawn animation while a 3D animated explainer video can feel more luxurious and modern by using sophisticated 3D rendering techniques.

Here are the important factors to consider when deciding between 2D and 3D animation.

2D vs 3D Animation: Budget

2d vs 3d animation budget

2D animation is generally more cost-effective than 3D animation – it is typically less resource-intensive and requires fewer specialised skills and software. If you have a limited budget, 2D animation might be the more practical choice. With 2D animation, you can often achieve high-quality results with a smaller team and a shorter production timeline. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that 3D animation will always be a more expensive option. The overall cost of animation still depends on the complexity of your project, the level of expertise required, video length, animation quality and detail.

2D vs 3D Animation: Engagement

While both 2D and 3D animations can be engaging, 3D animation generally has a higher potential for engagement if executed well. The added depth, realism, and immersive experience of 3D animations can create a stronger connection with the viewer, making them more likely to emotionally resonate with the content.

However, it’s important to note that engagement is not solely dependent on the animation technique used. Factors such as storytelling, character design, and overall production quality play a crucial role in capturing and retaining the viewer’s attention, regardless of whether it’s a 2D or 3D animation.

2D vs 3D Animation: Timeline

2D animation is faster to produce, making it a viable option if you have a tight timeline. Since it’s made up of flat images, the production process for 2D animation is simpler and requires less resources. On the other hand, 3D animation involves more complex processes like 3D modelling, rigging and rendering which involves more time and expertise, especially for highly detailed projects requiring intricate environments and characters.

However, 3D animators can also save time by reusing their 3D models. Once a 3D character or object has been created, they can be used in different projects with minor or no alterations.

2D vs 3D Animation: Complexity of Project

The complexity of your project should definitely be a consideration when choosing between 2D and 3D animation. If you’re creating a simple explainer video or an educational video with basic visuals, 2D animation might be sufficient. With its flat, stylised aesthetic, 2D animation can effectively communicate core ideas in a way that is easily understood.

However, if you need to showcase complex products or concepts with intricate details, 3D animation might be more suitable. For example, if you want to explain the features of a new product, 3D animation would allow you to showcase the product from various angles and perspectives, highlighting its details and functionality in a way that would be challenging with 2D animation. Moreover, it lets you showcase the products in ways that may even be challenging in live action such as visually disassembling the product for viewers to see the inner mechanics.

Additionally, if your project requires realistic environments such as interior designs, 3D animation may be the better choice. The ability to create realistic lighting, textures in a three-dimensional space can significantly enhance its visual appeal and make it more believable.

2D vs 3D Animation: Platform

If you’re creating a video for social media platforms, where you need to churn out consistent content with limited time and resources, 2D animation might be more practical. The relatively shorter production timeline and lower costs associated with 2D animation can make it easier to produce regular, engaging content for platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.

On the other hand, if you’re creating a one-time video for your website, a product launch event, or to showcase to important stakeholders, you may have the luxury of opting for a more elaborate 3D animation. In these cases, the higher production value and immersive experience offered by 3D animation can make a stronger impact and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

2D vs 3D Animation: Brand Identity

2d vs 3d animation brand identity

Your brand identity is vital to your marketing plan. If you’re aiming for a more playful and minimalistic look, 2D animation might be a better fit. Conversely, if you want a more modern, realistic, and cutting-edge aesthetic, 3D animation could be the way to go. The ability to create photorealistic visuals with 3D elements can give your brand a contemporary and technologically advanced brand image.

2D vs 3D Animation: Pros and Cons

Pros of 2D animation

  • Lower costs of production
  • Shorter timelines

Cons of 2D animation

  • Less realistic and immersive
  • Limited angles and movement

Pros of 3D animation

  • Realistic animation that resembles real-life
  • Reusability of 3D models

Cons of 3D animation

  • More complex and time-consuming
  • Requires higher level of expertise and software

Using both 2D and 3D Animation

Still can’t decide? You can opt to use both 2D and 3D animation! By combining both techniques in a single project, you can create a hybrid animation that leverages the strengths of each style.

This can be a good middle ground if you have a limited budget but still want to incorporate some 3D elements. For example, you could use 2D animation for the majority of the video and integrate 3D elements for specific sequences or product demonstrations. This hybrid approach can add depth and realism to certain scenes while keeping the overall production costs manageable.

Gogoro, a renewable energy network from Taiwan, used hybrid animation to introduce their new eco-scooter. The ad seamlessly combines 2D and 3D animation for a “modern, pop and fresh” look.

Final Thoughts

Overall, both 2D and 3D animation are equally powerful tools for marketing, storytelling and entertainment. Depending on your goals and project requirements, both forms of animation are equally capable of producing a compelling animated video.

If you’re unsure which approach to take, you can always seek professional advice from an established 2D & 3D animation studio. Animation studios have a deeper understanding about the strengths and limitations of each technique and can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your marketing needs and resources. Simply contact us so we can provide expert guidance and recommendations based on your specific requirements and budget!

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