THROWING LIGHT ON 3D ANIMATION – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2D AND 3D ANIMATION?
- November 11, 2019
- Posted by: iNurture
- Category: Blogs
Before diving deep into the differentiating features of 2D and 3D animation, you should understand the simpler thing — what is “animation”. Animation is about generating a chain of drawings or pictures taken by way of a simulation procedure for creating movement. It is a type of optical illusion through which you can see still images or drawings moving. The procedure involves the manifestation of motion as a result of displaying still pictures or photographs one after the other at the rate of 24 pictures per second. A video program or motion picture is considered one of the most common methods of presenting animation. Here, you will get a fair idea about 3D Animation and the difference between 3D and 2D Animation.
WHAT IS 3D ANIMATION?
This question might have brought you to the obvious conclusion—“three-dimensional moving images in a digital environment”. But it is hardly that simple. The process of how 3D animation is made tells a different story. An animator needs to carefully manipulate 3D models or objects using 3D software to export picture sequences rapidly, giving an illusion of animation or movement. The entire process of generating 3D animation can be broadly categorized into the following sections:
- 3D Modeling: Once the animation concept and storyboard are ready, a 3D modeler with the help of 3D animation software manipulates and extends a simple shape—called Primitive—to add details to it. This converts a simple shape into a 3D mesh.
- Texturing: In this process, textures are given to the 3D models to impart the illusion of colours, designs and textures.
- Rigging and Skinning: Rigging sets up a controllable skeleton for the animated character, while skinning attaches the textured 3D model (skin) to the rigged skeleton so that it can be manipulated with the help of a rig.
- Animation: This is the actual animation process where the 3D model is made to move through several processes.
- Lighting: Skillful lighting techniques make animation more realistic.
- Rendering: Rendering is the final step in the production of 3D animation, which includes attention to camera placement, reflections, transparency, handling of special effects, and so on.
HOW IS 3D ANIMATION DIFFERENT FROM 2D ANIMATION?
PERCEPTION OF DEPTH
The most obvious difference between 2D and 3D Animation is depth perception or three-dimensional features. If 2D animation creates a rectangle, 3D animation creates a cube. This is because 2D Animation is flat, and all the actions happen along the x- and y-axes. 3D animation, on the other hand, involves the extra dimension called z-axis.
2D animations are entirely cartoonish, while 3D animations, although cartoonish, create more realistic objects. 3D animators use textures and lighting to make objects appear solid and life-like. You can compare a painting and a sculpture in this scenario. 2D animation is a painting and 3D animation a sculpture.
2D animation is all about frames and 3D animation is all about movements. In 2D animation, every frame shows a drawing—an animated film has a frame rate of 24 frames a second, i.e., 24 different pictures have to be drawn for one second of the film. However, if there are no fast movements in the film, 1 drawing can be used for 2 frames, i.e., 12 drawings per second. 3D is different. If a 3D character does not move even for 1 frame, it looks dead, which makes it difficult to create a “moving hold” in 3D Animation.
Traditional 2D Animation is a procedure where images are hand-drawn, with every image showing some subtle changes from the other one. These images, when played back in a sequence, create an illusion of movement. However, nowadays, 2D animators use software for developing action sequences. But the first scene needs to be hand-drawn and the software will generate the other sequences automatically. 3D animation, on the other hand, involves “modelling,” which requires creating objects in a virtual 3D environment using computer software, with proper lights, reflections, shadows, textures, etc.
Creating 3D Animation requires more time than 2D animation because 3D animation is a detailed procedure involving characters with long life spans. A 3D animator has to take care of all the views—the animated object must look good from all angles. A 2D animation does not require such detailed attention, as there is only one side to it. In spite of this, 2D does not necessarily be less tedious. 2D animators need to draw animations from every new position and angle for character rigs.
2D animation has a lesser production price compared with 3D Animation since the primary requirement is expert candidates who can draw and sketch aptly. 3D animation is an elaborate process, involving several crucial processes. Also, the cost of 3D animation depends on the money spent on rendering.
According to PayScale, 2D animators make on average between $39,740 and $56,500, while 3D animators make an average of $38,500 and $79,500. In India, a 2D animator earns INR 235,832 annually, while a 3D animator earns INR 316,253 annually.
3D animation is widely used in the fields of gaming, movies, medical, biotechnology, aerospace, and so on, while 2D animation is widely implemented in advertisements, films, cartoon shows, websites, e-learning courses, and so on.
Software for 2D animation includes Autodesk SketchBook Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Toon Boom Studio, while those for 3D animation includes 3ds Max, Unity, Autodesk Maya.
Animation creates things that are impossible in the real world. The animation world is entirely different—it is a world of imagination, a world where anything can come true. Animators are creative and quirky people, who mostly need to think out of the box. They see life from a different perspective. If you have any of these traits, then an animator’s life would probably suit you.
In case you are wondering what education will get you there, a BSc in Animation from any reputed college is your answer. A B.Sc Animation degree opens up different avenues to the Animation industry.