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2D Animation vs. 3D Animation Cost

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More brands are embracing animation as a new marketing tool, scouting two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) animators for hire to breathe life into their product concepts and messages. This graphic design technique offers more flexibility to be creative, resulting in videos that attract and engage audiences more effectively than static text and images. 

Both 2D animation and 3D animation can present products innovatively at cost-effective rates. Though they still cost some money, they’re cheaper to produce than full-on live productions (e.g., those involving renting studios, hiring actors, etc.) and still have the same long-lasting quality. 

You can expect to spend between $3,000 to $100,000 per minute of video, depending on quality, complexity, and services required in your 2D or 3D animator job

What’s the Difference Between 2D Animation and 3D Animation?

The best way to understand the difference between 2D and 3D animation is to look at cartoons, animated shows, and video games. 

2D animation deals with height and width—“flat” characters in two-dimensional spaces. You can see examples of these in classic Disney films like Pinocchio or The Lion King

Meanwhile, Pixar and Dreamworks movies such as Finding Nemo or Frozen use 3D animation. These are more realistic since the images have depth, making it seem like the animations are moving in a three-dimensional world. Some video games like Call of Duty or City Racing use it too. 

These types of animations are now being used in marketing as well. For example, 3D product animations are videos that use 3D animations to bring products to life, highlighting their unique features and functions to help customers better grasp their value and understand how they work.

Pros and Cons of 2D Animation

2D animations are cost-effective at almost half the price of 3D animation. Their simplicity also makes them faster to produce. You can get results in just six to eight weeks—or even quicker with an efficient turnaround. 

They’re also more easily adaptable than live-action shoots (and even 3D animations), lending to longer shelf life. You can also translate 2D animations to print and web-based materials, using the same images for posters, infographics, business cards, etc.

However, 2D animations can be pretty limited. And though you can creatively express messages through this medium, they lack the realistic element that live-action and 3D videos can offer audiences.

Pros and Cons of 3D Animation

Because 3D animation includes images moving around 3D spaces, they better capture real-world functions and movements. Some high-quality 3D animations even look highly-realistic, making them more dynamic and engaging. 

Brands can use 3D animation to show their products at all angles, highlighting it’s different uses and functions. For example, a realtor can use 3D animations to show houses without potential buyers ever having to step into the home!

That said, 3D animation can be costly as it usually requires more than one animator and high-powered resources to run the needed software. It also needs more time for turn-around when compared to 2D animation.

The Cost Difference Between 2D vs. 3D Animation

The total cost for either will depend on the complexity of the animation, the length of the video, and the number of resources used. You can expect to spend anywhere between  $3,000 to $100,000 per minute for an animated video. That said, 2D animations are typically cheaper than 3D animations because the latter requires more experience, skill, and resources.

At the lower end of the spectrum, you can expect simple animations, usually only using 2D techniques. These also rarely involve creative direction and add-ons such as scripting, voice-overs, etc. from the animator or studio. Spend a little higher (around $10,000 to $20,000 per minute), and these may be available for higher-quality videos.

3D animations become feasible at $20,000 to $50,000 per minute. Here, animators can deliver more advanced animation effects such as depth and motion. You can expect full service coupled with high-quality videos showing hyper-realistic movement in the higher ranges. At this price point animators will offer everything from storyboarding to scripting to advanced animation, holding nothing back.

Which Is Better, 2D Animation or 3D Animation?

Both 2D and 3D animations work in creatively marketing products to customers. Picking one over the other depends on how you want your message to be conveyed, your budget, and your timeline. 

If your idea is simple, and if you want it translated better in other “flat” mediums such as web and print, 2D animation is a great cost-effective option. However, if you want something that truly wows and brings out the best features of your products, 3D animations effectively do that, on top of a promise of high ROI. 

The next step now is finding the right freelance animators here on Guru who can best bring your ideas to life! Whether you’re looking for animation or Thinkorswim programmers, Guru has the expert you need for your projects.

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