What is 2D Animation? All You Need to Know

What is 2D Animation? All You Need to Know | Complete Guide

Table of Contents

What is 2D Animation?

2D, a two-dimensional shape, is a flat plane figure or a body with only two-dimensions, length and width. It does not have the thickness and can be measured in just two faces.

2D animation is no different. 2D Animated Video is a widely used Animated video platform. In 2D animation, all the video features, including characters, objects, and backgrounds, are presented in a two-dimensional flat range.

They consist of two-dimensions, length and width, with no volume. 2D animated video is used mainly for creating movies, cartoons, ads, presentations, educational videos, video games, etc.

History of 2D Animation

2D animation is an old animation technique invented in the late 1800s. Traditionally artists used to draw every frame with pencils, and then they used to paint the images into transparent plastic sheets that are called cells. Later each of these cells was photographed one by one.

The history of 2D animation involves drawing a picture and then drawing another picture close to the first one and keeping the change extremely subtle. Hundreds of drawings were being made from the first drawing to the last one to create a scene. This process is then shown in a prompt sequence to get the desired result.

Nowadays, we have more appropriate computer software that has assisted in easing this process. 2D animation enables for more detailed and imaginative illustrations of thoughts. In short, 2D animation has evolved a lot. Starting from Fantasmagorie in 1908 till date to countless cartoons and flash animations.

2D has maintained its charm of taking viewers to another world of fascination through imaginative representations. Over the decades, the time-consuming method of 2D animation has become more convenient. 3D animation is gaining popularity with time, but 2D has its own solid space, which seems irreplaceable.

Why is 2D Animation Used?

Even after the invention of 3D, most people and businesses still prefer 2D, as it comes with its benefits. The first and the most prominent reason to use two Dimensional Videos is its production cost is low comparatively. Besides being more economical 2D animation is quick to produce.

It saves time as the production guidance for 2D animation is moderate. Lesser technology and software are needed to create a 2D animated video, its simple and less complex.

It has no limits and more relaxed to produce. Numerous animated movies are made using 2D animation because of its simplicity and profits margin.

Techniques and Methods Used In 2D Animation

From the first Animation created by Emile Cohl, 2D animation techniques have evolved much, making 2D Animation swift and uncomplicated. A great deal of work goes using plenty of methods to create a few seconds animated video.

The most advanced techniques and methods have made it feasible to colour hand-drawn Animation using computer software like Harmony.

Various drawings and paintings applications can be fruitful to create traditional hand-drawn animations like bitmap and vector graphics. Numerous other techniques are employed to obtain the finely created animated videos. A few of them are discussed below.

1. The Cel technique:

The cel is one of the traditional techniques invented in 1915 by American animators Earl Hurd and John Bray. It comprises drawing and painting objects on a transparent sheet that was called cel. Previously cel was made of celluloid. It is a compound made of camphor and nitrocellulose. Later they started creating it with cellulose acetate, an ester of cellulose. It aids in cost-cutting.

2. The Limited Edition:

In the Limited-Edition technique, the animators don’t repaint the whole character. They only repaint the talking mouth of the existing surface.

Process of 2D Animation: How they are created

The process of 2D animation mainly comprises three steps.

  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Post-production


Pre-production is the first stage towards a completed animation. It involves creating a story, writing the script, character designing, creating a storyboard, etc. This stage is more like a skeleton where the animation process gets ready for production.


Production becomes more manageable after the pre-production stage. In this stage, all the pre-conceived materials are gathered to create scenes. To get the perfect animated image, animators used to develop various drawings to select the best one. Nowadays, there are a few software like Cel, that can do the needful.


Post-production is the final stage where audio and visual editing is done. It is the stage of the culminating touch-up. Music and sound effects are added in this stage to give it an accomplished look.

2D Animation Examples

There are numerous well-known cartoons and business videos made on 2D animation style, like;

  • Looney tunes.
  • Bugs Bunny.
  • Daffy Duck.
  • Elmer Fudd.
  • Snow White.
  • The Jungle Book.

A list of 2D Animation Software’s is given below [Free & Premium 2021]

There are many 2D animation softwares available, out of which the few best is mentioned below.



How to become a 2D Animator?

Animation is a skill, and to become an animator, you necessitate having a bachelor’s degree. Animators mostly do their bachelors in fine arts, Computer animation, Illustration, Digital Arts, Media Arts or Communication. Some more proficient animators complete their masters in fine arts in animation or visual effects.

Best 2D Animation Books

There are many 2D animation books available, out of which the few best is mentioned below.

The Pros and Cons of 2D Animation

Like everything else, Animation also comes with its pros and cons. Both 2D and 3D have their pros and cons.

2D Pros:

  • Cost-Effective.
  • Prompt to create.
  • Limited software required.
  • More focused stories.

2D Cons:

  • less Magnetic.
  • Time-consuming.

3D Pros:

  • Superior Movement.
  • Extremely Realistic.
  • Models can be reused.
  • Provides with more possibilities.
  • Very popular.

3D Cons:

  • More Complicated.
  • Limited imagination.
  • Could be time-consuming.
  • Machines and software required is high-priced.

What is the difference between 2D & 2.5D?

The difference between 2D and 2.5D animation is their depth, because of which it gives a distinctive look to our eyes. 2D objects are drawn on a two-dimensional flat space, whereas 2.5D objects are drawn on 2D format but on three-dimensional space.

What is 2D Animation Compared to 3D Animation?

2D animation’s characters and objects comprise width and height only, whereas 3D animation’s characters and objects comprise width, height, and depth, giving a more realistic view.

Need help getting started?

Talk to a video strategist!

Let's Go


Adam is a copywriter and content specialist with years of experience in the digital industry. She has a knack for blending creativity with strategic insight that leads different businesses, particularly animation and tech, to success. Her persuasive and impactful content not just inform.