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2D VS 3D Animation: What’s The Difference?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

2D VS 3D Animation

2D or 3D? - That is the question! If you still do not know what to choose for your project, click here and find all the basic information and key differences between 2D and 3D.


It’s fair enough to say that video games make up a work of art, isn’t it? It takes designers and developers to put a good deal of time and effort into mobile games creation. Delivering a high-quality and bug-free game that users will enjoy is a time-consuming process.

It is necessary to complete numerous steps to turn an initial concept into reality. Well, a game also must be visually appealing to succeed on the market. As you can see, the gaming industry is developing at a high speed now therefore it is extremely competitive.

The range of options is very wide today. There are games for everyone’s taste. Once you open the store, you get dazzled by such a variety of offers. That is why it is not that simple to reach the top. A game must be perfect to impress users. In case it does not function smoothly, has bugs, etc., users will abandon it without hesitation and move on to the next one. They’ve got plenty of choices!

In video games visuals are crucial!

Before launching a game it is important to make sure it works exactly as it is supposed to and the game is visually attractive. Good graphics and animations will help you to draw users’ attention and stand out from the crowd. Additionally, you will gain as high rating as possible.

So you start the mobile games development process and you know that animation matters indeed. The question that may come to your mind is as follows: which type of animation should you use? The battle between 2D lovers and 3D lovers is still going on. While some say that 2D is no longer up-to-date, others have doubts about 3D calling it too complicated and expensive.

Before making a decision you should study the information carefully and consider all the pros and cons. Remember that there is no universal solution for every project. It always depends on many factors. This post will help you to find a perfect solution for YOUR project! Keep on reading.

What do you know about 2D animation?

In 2D animation, objects are two-dimensional, as you may guess from the name. This means they exist as flat images created by an artist. Everything you can see is hand-drawn. To make it a bit clearer, each move of a character is drawn frame by frame. This method is also known as a cell-animation method. 2D is all about frames. The illusion of movement is reached by sequencing individual drawings together over a defined period of time.

2D animation implies only two dimensions - width and height.

This type of animation is widely used in films, cartoons, advertisements, websites, product demos, brand videos, and more.

2D animation is applied to create visuals with various levels of realism. This style’s flexibility is a great advantage!

Talking about 2D animation types, we should point out several of them:

  • Character design

  • Environment design

  • UI/UX design for software

  • Minimalistic art

  • 2D concept art

Basic information about 3D animation

3D animation is about three-dimensional virtual objects. The objects have depth, height, and width. In comparison with 2D, 3D characters seem much more realistic. We have already mentioned that 2D objects are hand-drawn, and in 3D things are different. This kind of animation is done by using computer software. 3D animation in mobile games development consists of the following phases: modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, and so on. Unlike 2D and its frames, 3D is all about movements.

Where is 3D animation used? In numerous fields! It is mostly used in the video game industry, movies, cartoons, high-end production, and more.

Take a closer look at the ways to apply 3D animation:

  • Character design

  • Environment design

  • 3D sculpting

  • 3D art

How do the 3D and 2D processes differ?

The processes of creating 2D and 3D animation are different. At least, each type has its requirements. A 2D artists and a 3D designer receive different tasks. By the way, 2D animation is considered harder to create, since it takes an artist to draw 24 frames per second. This process is quite time-consuming.

2D creation process


This is the moment where the magic starts. This phase includes scripting, storyboarding, and visual development. The last one means creating characters and other visual elements using the storyboard.


This is the main phase that implies making more concrete decisions and creating the animation.


At this level, the animation is getting polished. Here sound effects are added, testing is done, and finally, the game is ready for release.

3D creation process


Similar to 2D animation, the process starts with making up the concept, scripting, storyboarding, and planning the further tasks.


Here comes the main phase of 3D animation. At this level, character concepts are designed as sketches first. Then the following crucial stages take place:

  • Modeling

  • Texturing

  • Rigging and skinning

  • Animation

  • Deciding on the lighting settings


The post-production phase in 3D creation does not much differ from the one in 2D creation. It involves audio integration, testing, and rendering.

Other differences

2D and 3D differ not only in terms of the creation process. There are a few more crucial points for you to pay attention to. We’ve compiled a list of them:

Visual experience

As a rule, 2D objects look more cartoonish while 3D characters seem to be very realistic. However, it is much easier to achieve a comical effect by applying 2D animation, since an artist can exaggerate some features.


2D is more affordable. This belief is true. With modern technologies, 2D animation takes less time than 3D, and therefore the last one is expensive.


Typically, in the process of 2D animation creation, simpler tools are used. This process requires traditional drawing methods. For producing 2D animation, consider such platforms as Adobe, Unity, Toonboom, and Spine.

To create 3D objects you will need more complicated software like Maya, Blender 3D, etc. Unity and Adobe can also be used.

Use cases

It is impossible to say that 2D is “dead” or worse than 3D just because it is simpler and older. In fact, each animation type has its niches as well as applications. 2D is better for casual games and 3D is mostly applied in games with an emphasis on visuals. They exist simultaneously and are used to satisfy various needs. It is up to you to decide which one suits best for your project. Do you find it difficult to figure out what to choose: 2D or 3D? Answer the following questions:

  • What is your target audience?

  • What is the game's nature?

  • What aesthetics do you want to create?

By the way, in case you still have doubts - you can try mixing them. Yes, you can apply 2D and 3D in one game if it is appropriate.

To sum up, both 2D and 3D are up-to-date. The choice of animation always depends on several key factors you should carefully consider before kicking off the process. We hope, with all the information provided above it will be easier for you to make the right decision.

Are you looking for help? We will be happy to answer all your questions. At HitBerry Games we know everything about mobile games development and more! Do not waste time - contact us and let’s create a game jointly!



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