What is 2D animation?

It was all around us! From Mickey Mouse, Aladdin, and Lion King, to animated ads for digital marketing, you actually have encountered 2D animation more than you realize.

What is 2D Animation and How Do You Make One?

source by: thewisdomdaily.com

2D Animation is the art of producing movement in a two-dimensional space. It’s commonly used to make animated films, cartoons, marketing videos, ads, business presentations, instructional materials, video games, and a variety of other things.

There are three big impacts caused by animated video on the audience: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. 

How does it work? Individual drawings are sequenced together over time to create the illusion of movement. In most cases, one second of time is divided into 24 frames. In one second of animation (24fps), there might be as many as 24 individual drawings or as few as two, depending on the style of animation. Traditionally, the animation is done in “2s,” with a sketch every two frames (12fps). This allows artists to save time and money on production costs while still giving 2D animation its distinct appearance.

3 Main Phases To Make A 2D Animation


Pre-production is the first stage in animation development. At this stage, the animation team will collaborate with authors to finalize the plot and animations screenplay.

Then, they design the video’s characters, construct a storyline, select a color scheme, and create the video’s background.

There are a few things to keep in mind at this point. The graphic actions and video plot should be directed by the screenplay you’re working with. This aids in the creation of a storyboard, which depicts the order of events that the video should follow.

The next phase is to create the characters, outline the backgrounds, and prepare the rest of the animation’s visual elements. It begins with basic sketches and progresses to intricate patterns and graphics. Then it’s time to choose the animation’s color palettes, which include the colors of various objects and lighting.

Backgrounds are a crucial aspect of any animation since they bring distinct actions to life and allow the characters to execute their tasks.


The purpose of production is to assemble all of the parts that have been developed and combine them to make the animated scenes.

The procedure includes everything from painting backdrops to moving the animated character to planning sets and generating preliminary animations.

Animations tracing and inbetweening are also done during production for more complicated tasks.

To tie everything together, animators construct an exposure sheet with all of the steps for creating each scene. This is split into five sections.

5 Parts of 2D Animation Exposure Sheet

  • Actions and Timing

  • Music and dialogues

  • Layers of animation

  • Backgrounds

  • View perspective

After creating a rough animation, it must be cleaned up and polished. This is known as tracing, and it may be done in two ways: in a new layer or over the same layer with different colors.

By adding additional drawings between frames, inbetweening is utilized to create a smooth animation.

When the frame is fully prepared, it will be scanned into a computer if not digitally drawn. Then it’s time to combine all the visuals based on the exposure sheet. During the compositing process, experts add background layout, frames, sounds, and other necessary effects.

This is mostly achieved through other animation software. When the compositing process is complete, the animated scene is displayed as a video or movie.


The final stage of 2D animation is post-production. This stage guarantees that the impact of the video’s message is obvious and compelling. From sound effects to frame lengths, give your viewers something worth interacting with.

After everything has been finished, this version is produced and compressed into a video file that may be used in a variety of formats.

This is a high-level overview of the animation process for novices. Each of the aforementioned jobs entails advanced skills that you may acquire to help you get started in the realm of 2D animation.

What Is The Difference Between 2D and 3D animation?

The main difference between 2D and 3D animation is that the latter is more of realistic animation. 

In 2D animation, visuals are constructed in flat two-dimensional space, while in 3D animation, objects are constructed in a three-dimensional space. 2D objects can only be measured in height and width and projected onto a surface such as a wall, paper, or screen. 3D objects, on the other hand, have their own surface and can be measured in length, depth, width, and height.

To understand this difference, you can visualize the difference between a square drawn on paper and a cube in your hand. If the square is 2D, the cube is 3D. So the difference between 2D animation and 3D animation is just the type of object you are dealing with.

2D animation requires techniques such as foreshortening and perspective to create visual space and depth perception in animation.

The most iconic TV shows like The Simpsons are classic 2D animation. The 2D animation requires you to draw and shoot one image at a time to create the optical illusion of movement.

In comparison, 3D animation can only be done on a computer with digital techniques. 3D animation includes techniques that are not possible in 2D animation, such as rotation angles and object volume due to two-dimensional limitations.

3D animation is closer to reality working with more lifelike objects. There is more room to work. For example, camera angles, object textures, and lighting are just some of the much more complex and complicated things to do with 3D objects than with 2D objects.

12 Principles of Animation

12 Principles of Animation

Top Disney animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas give you the basic principle to make an animation, especially a digital animation.

  1. Squash and stretch– By compressing and extending characters’ bodies as they move, this method helps give the appearance of weight and volume.

  2. Anticipation– it is all about utilizing movement to set the stage for a large event that is about to happen, as well as using the first movement to signal the viewer to the major action.

  3. Staging– Make it apparent to your audience what each movement or activity is for.

  4. Straight forward action and pose-to-pose animation– they are two distinct animation techniques: In the first, animators sketch a character’s essential positions before adding transitional poses. As the name implies, Pose to Pose necessitates the development of each scene one by one.

  5. Follow through and overlap action– When animating your characters, it’s critical to avoid making them move in a static manner. Consider inertia to ensure that when your character stops moving, some portions of their bodies continue to move for a brief time, or that some elements of the bodies, such as hair, move faster than the character’s body during specific activities, making it appear more genuine.

  6. Slow in and slow out– To make moves appear more lifelike, draw more frames at the start and conclusion of the motion while drawing fewer frames in the intermediate.

  7. Arc– to make the characters’ moves seem smoother, add slightly circular arcs to their body movements during their activities.

  8. Secondary action– Use secondary actions to complement and support the primary action by giving the character’s movement more dimension for a more genuine feel.

  9. Timing–Adjust the scene’s timing to make it appear either smooth and leisurely or rapid and sharp.

  10. Exaggeration– exaggerated motions and reactions might assist you to make a point or highlight a message you’re attempting to get across.

  11. Solid drawing– Even though 2D animators deal with 2D figures and objects, they should constantly endeavor to give them weight to make them appear three-dimensional.

  12. Appeal–Focusing on character aesthetics is critical to ensuring that your audience is enticed by them.


Best 2D Animation Software

Now, you might wonder, where do I start to create animated videos? You might need to browse different computer software. Try one of these recommended best 2D Animation software you can try.

  • Adobe After Effects

  • Adobe Animate

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Moho

  • Encore

Which one is the best? Well, creating an actual animation depends on your preferences. No matter what the software is. And that means, there is no correct answer.


Will This Traditional Animation Stays In The Past?

Just like we all know it, 2D animation is often called traditional animation. Which actually refers to the version in which the animators draw the scenes on paper. So will it just stays in the past or will it be there in the future? 

The answer to this question is no, it will not stay in the past. Explainer videos, product demo videos, and incorporating animated movies of all sorts are still popular uses for 2D animation. While there has been a recent increase in demand for 3D animation movies in the entertainment business, 2D animation still has a lot of promise in a variety of fields.

The 2D animation industry is far from dead, with anything from 2D games to more business-oriented movies. As of 2018, 54 percent of customers want to see more video content from the businesses they support, according to Hubspot.

Video content is here to stay; it’s entertaining and interactive, and it’s a terrific option for people who don’t want to read long articles.


It’s Time To Make Your Own 2D Animated Characters!

2D animation has a lot of promise when it comes to developing video material that aims towards viral video channels. It is time for you to make your own! Superpixel Animation Studio is ready to help you make your very first 2D animation. You can make a customized 2D animated character that aligns with your brand with us.

Contact us, anytime, anywhere, we are happy to consult and collaborate with you!