2D Animation


2D animation is one of the major types of animation. It's widely used for creating animated movies, cartoons, marketing videos, advertisements, corporate presentations, educational materials, video games, and so much more.

Communicate More Easily

Animating allows information to be communicated more easily to a wider range of audiences. In 2D animation, there is a mix of graphics, voice-over, and text, to engage with users and it stimulates different areas of the brain more effectively.

Capture & Hold Attention

Animated graphics are eye-catching, and make the content interesting to watch. This ability to capture a viewer’s attention effectively makes search engine optimization (SEO) go up and can increase traffic to those animations.

2D animation is the art of creating movement in a two-dimensional space. This includes characters, creatures, FX and backgrounds.

The illusion of movement is created when individual drawings are sequenced together over time. One second of time is usually divided into 24 frames. Depending on the style of animation there can be as many as 24 unique drawings in one second of animation (24fps) or as little as two. Conventionally animation is done on "2s" meaning there is a drawing every 2 frames (12fps). This allows artists to save on production time/costs and gives 2D animation its unique look.

2D is a popular and diverse medium that's making a massive comeback. It can be seen prevalently in TV shows, video games, feature films, advertisements, mobile apps and on websites. Popular modern examples of 2D include TV shows Rick and Morty and F is for Family. Social media platforms like Snapchat are launching 2D animated series with snappy 1-3 minute episodes. And there's even been a recent surge in 2D platform video games such as Cuphead.

“Animation is used for everything online (advertising, entertainment), even if you don't realize it initially,” says Scott Claus, 2D Animation Mentor at CG Spectrum. “The medium is evolving quickly. Television animation has taken off, and streaming services are constantly looking for new content.”

While most of the work is done on computer, traditional hand-drawn techniques are still a useful skill set to have.
Additional responsibilities may include:

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

This job is just one part of the production pipeline, which is divided into three parts: pre-production, production and post-production:

In pre-production, a project is in its early stages and the team may be working on story and character development, writing scripts, recording dialogue, storyboarding, background layout, and character animation.

In the production stage, animators breathe life into their characters and objects by giving them movement. The figures are then colored and processed (“digital ink and paint”) and composited over their appropriate backgrounds.

Post-production is the final stages of adding sound and editing to ensure the project looks sharp and flows seamlessly, and then it is exported in the final format.

Depending on the project and the size of the studio or agency, animators may work with a number of other people, so strong communication and people skills are a must.

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