2D and 3D Animation – The Magic of Moving Images

Excited by the magic of animation? So are we! We’ve put together the basics of what goes into making an animation film. Animation might have gone digital today, but 2D animation still involves drawing images (sometimes on paper, often on tablets) and putting them together in quick succession without digital models or virtual landscapes. Let’s look at a standard animation studio process:

Design the Characters: We first sketch the key characters to show how they will look in the front view, the profile view and in the 3/4th view.

Design the Set: Next is to imagine the environment in which our characters will exist and thrive.

Create Concept art: Sketches of the character with the background are drawn based on the description in the script.

Make a Storyboard: Like all good animators, we use a visual script to help us visualize your eLearning animation, organize and edit them.

Record Audio: Once the storyboard is approved, based on your specifications, we pick voices and record the content. At this point, a written script evolves the outline of the 2D or 3D character.

Develop Visuals: Listening to the audio, artists refine characters and scenes by adding expressions and character quirks.

Production: Earlier, animators would draw out images for every movement of the character. Today keyframes, the most important frames of the animation, are created digitally. Tweens, which are the frame – between the keyframes, are filled in automatically using animation software like Flash, Synfig, Pencil, etc. With software, parts of the animation can be worked on separately, and frames can be saved as video files, in turn saving both time and money.

Post Production: At this stage, the team comes together to scrutinize, edit and add special effects before we finalize each film.

This begs the question, ‘what is 3D animation, then?’ Storyboards, audios and visuals are essential for 3D animation too. But 3D animation services calls for much more.

Models: 3D models of the set, properties and characters are made by hand or digitally. This basic skeleton of the model, without colours or texture, is called a wireframe. Being 3D, they can be seen from any angle. Once ‘hinges’ are added to the model, animators can make it move.

Sets and Shots: Details of the setting where the action takes place adds depth to the scene. Main characters are then ‘blocked’ in the set and virtual cameras create shots.

Animation: Like puppeteers, animators define key poses of characters in the frame. The ‘in-between’ frames are computer generated. Colour and texture edits create details like ‘hair flowing in the breeze’. Every scene gets virtually lit, and shadows are formed for mood and depth.

Rendering: Rendering distils all the elements of the animation into a single frame of film, ready for post-production where music and special effects complete the film.

2D and 3D differ in final output and impact as much as they differ in the process followed to make them. Not all eLearning need the efforts that go into making a 3D animation, and not all businesses can make do with 2D animation. You need to pick what’s right for your needs to ensure you get the quality you are looking for.

Learn more about the impact of animation in learning.