What is 2D Animation? A Complete Guide

In the world of technology, things are moving at a breakneck pace. Animation is no different. We all watched our favourite shows on the television when we were kids. Many cartoons have been our favourites from time to time, and one of the big reasons was animation. Even as grown-ups, there’s something about animation that draws us in. Shows like Rick and Morty are a perfect example of how 2D animation is appreciated by people. Did you ever wonder what is 2D animation exactly? If you did, we will answer all your questions about it in this blog.

What is 2D Animation?

There are several types of animations, and 2D animation is one of the most popular ones. It creates a two-dimensional space with characters and places. Individual drawings are sequenced together over time to create an illusion. One second of time is divided into 24 frames. It entirely depends on the drawing. There can be 24 drawings in one second or as little as two. The 2D animators can save their production cost and time because it is usually done on “2s,” which means that there’s a drawing every two frames.

2D animation is not a new concept. While it is still quite unique, its origin goes way back in time. People have been creating 2D animations for centuries, although the process and technology have certainly changed. Earlier, people used to create these drawings with pencils, but now digital technologies and softwares are used to create this illusion.

Modern 2D animation is used to create cartoons and animated movies for people. Social media platforms like Snapchat have also introduced 2D animated series with snappy 1-3 minutes. There are also new games that have 2D animation for their consumers. This idea of drawing might not be new, but it is leveraging the technology better than many other things. 2D animations are coming back, and there’s a lot that can be done with this technology. It is unique and also comparatively less expensive than 3D animation, which makes many brands opt for this option.

What Does a 2D Animator Do?

A 2D animator is responsible for creating great storylines that would engage people in their video. You might be thinking that animators are not responsible for storytelling. All they have to do is provide 2D animation services to their clients. This isn’t true. 

Whether you are creating your own story with 2D animation or you are working for a client, you need to be a good storyteller to be a good animator. Your client can do enough to transfer their vision to you, but you should have more knowledge about animation and storytelling as an animator. This is the only way you can leave your own touch to your work. Animators who are merely there to create animated 2D videos for their clients rarely get success because those projects don’t garner much attention from the audience. You must have a vision of your own and a story to tell. Once you have that, your job as an animator becomes even more enjoyable.

While most of the work today is done on computers with the help of softwares. Using your pencil and paper to create ideas is still a good practice. Here are some things that you can do to make your 2D animation services even more brilliant.

  • Sketching
  • Developing storyboards
  • Designing characters
  • Adding special effects
  • Creating scenes
  • Transitioning backgrounds

There are three stages to creating 2D animation. As an animator, you need to marvel at all these stages if you want to be considered the best in your industry. We have seen animators who are not very keen to excel at all the stages, but it is necessary, and we are going to tell you why.


In the pre-production stage, your project is in the process of development. You have an idea, but you don’t have a design and means to create something meaningful. In this stage, you are responsible for creating a story, developing characters, writing storyboards, designing the backgrounds, and writing scripts. All of these things need to be sorted before you jump into creating the final product for the audience. Once you are a master of this stage, everything else becomes easier. Your project can only see the light of success if you have a strong story to tell and good characters. 


The second stage in creating 2D animation is the production stage. At this part, the animator breathes life into the characters of the story. You implement 2D animation techniques with the help of softwares that makes your characters move and do things that are written in the script. This is similar to how things work when you shoot a video. You write the script and scenes and get the actors to perform them in front of the camera. Instead, you need to create those actors with your talent and get them moving here.


The last stage of creating 2D animation is adding sounds to your story and editing. Once you have created the video, you can start working on your post-production activities. This can also include dubbing if you need it in your final product. If you don’t, you need to add music or any sound that you require in the video to enhance its effect on the audience. Finally, you can watch the video and edit the parts you think are unnecessary. This part of the production can seem very repetitive to some people, but it is also very important. Even the slightest mistake can have a huge impact on your animation. Hence, paying attention and giving as much time to post-production as possible is better.

Career Opportunities in 2D Animation

This field is like a playground for someone who’s creative and likes to play with colours and animation. We have seen countless talented 2D animators who are at different stages in their careers and are absolutely satisfied with what they create. There’s scope for talented people, and the following are the designations that you can achieve in this industry.

  • Animator
  • Supervisor
  • Animation Director
  • Character Designer
  • Game Developer
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Motion Designer

There’s a lot of potential in people who choose this field for work. There are many softwares that can be a huge help for animators; you simply have to gain experience and try new tools to identify which tool is the best for your talent. If you are a 2D animator and want to switch to 3D animation, you can do that as well. There are many guides and courses that can help you switch your field from 2D to 3D animation. While we know it can be daunting to learn a new software from scratch, this shouldn’t hold you back from learning new things.

If you have the willingness to learn new softwares and skills, you can do it. Everything can seem difficult at first, but as you practise and get used to the new softwares, everything will fall into place.

The Future of 2D Animation

While 3D animation gives a better experience to the audience, we cannot ignore the fact that 2D is still very much in trend. The popularity of shows like Rick and Morty is proof that people still enjoy watching 2D animation if it has a good story and characters. It would be ignorant to say that 2D animation has no future, as 3D animation is gaining success worldwide. No matter how successful new technologies may get, there’s still scope for 2D animation to dominate.

Artists are continuously trying to bring new ideas and styles to the audience, and luckily, the audience is also responding positively. As long as the audience is ready to accept 2D animation with open arms, this technique isn’t going anywhere. What matters is that as an artist, you should keep learning and upgrading your skills so you can provide a better user experience to your audience. Try to create something unique and entertaining for the audience, whether you are working in 2D or 3D animation. 

As long as the viewers find your content helpful and creative, you don’t have to worry about 2D animation going out of fashion. By the looks of it, we don’t think it’s going anywhere, so it’s better to sharpen your skills and get ready to create good content that everyone can enjoy for a long time.


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