Should I use 2D or 3D animation?

In this blog I’m going to look at 2D vs 3D animation and the main differences and reasons why you would choose 2D or 3D animation. The majority of our corporate animation work to date has been 2D and we are just starting to produce more 3D videos. For us there is a big difference between the two from a workflow point of view and even though you don’t need to understand the ins and outs of it, it does affect you, well your budget anyway!

What is 2D animation?

Very briefly 2D animation is set on a single plane and if you want to see multiple planes the video will need to include cuts and the graphical assets will need to be designed and created from different angles.

What is 3D animation?

3D animation can be set on any plane and an animation can show any side of the 3D object by flying a camera around it. This can create a seamless look compared to the cutting required in a 2D animation and can gives you much more scope.


3D animation can be great for explaining how a product works as we are able to explode models and put them back together or zoom in to one part so the viewer can see how it operates. They are also more suited to videos that need to be realistic, a good example of this is showing how certain aspects of the human anatomy work.

2D animations are great for whiteboard explainer videos, and graphical/text based videos. Character based videos can also be achieved in 2D, you only need to watch the Simpsons to see this, however a lot of planning and a large budget would be required.

Production considerations

For a professional looking video that matches your vision and branding, we always suggest getting the graphical assets designed specifically for your video, this does added cost but it makes a huge difference to the final outcome.

2D assets are slightly cheaper to produce than 3D objects due to the different workflows and programs required and 3D will always take a lot longer to render and export than a 2D animation. This last point is very important to take in to consideration when working out a schedule and budget as a 2 minute 3D animation could take anything up to 12 hours to render whereas a 2D animation can take a matter of minutes.

If budgets can’t stretch to bespoke graphics there are many websites that sell royalty free 2D and 3D elements, even though this is a cheaper option it is a lot more restrictive on style and how much manipulation we can achieve. Once an idea and style has been decided upon, any good, honest video production company should suggest the best option to you.

Another option when it comes to producing 3D assets is to use your existing 3D models, this is particularly helpful if you are a manufacturer. We can generally take your 3D files and manipulate them to incorporate into your corporate or training videos.

If you would like more information on animation or would like Echo Video to put together a quote for your next project then please give Will or Andy a call on 01273 911345.