When it comes to animation, there are a lot of different things you should consider before deciding which style fits your project. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a list of some things you may want to think about:
What points should you keep in mind before starting to design an animation?
1) Budget & Time Constraints – Which style is going to require the least amount of time and money?
Depending on your production schedule and budget, the answer might be one style over another. Generally speaking though, 2D animating can take less time than 3D if done right. And when it comes to cost-effectiveness, this is generally true as well (almost all 2D shows I’ve worked on have had smaller budgets than their CG counterparts).
2) Artistic Style
If you’re looking for a certain artistic style for your project, sometimes CG is the only way to get the look you’re after. However, there are 2D styles that can mimic almost any CG style. These are generally called “2 1/2D” animation techniques where artists will draw in 3D space similar to how they would animate in 3D. This allows them to use depth and perspective in order to convey weight, posture, force, etc…
If possible, you should try and stay away from the uncanny valley when it comes to visuals if at all possible. We’ve all heard that term before but just in case you haven’t, it describes characters or scenes that tend to look very realistic… also not quite convincing enough (think the animatronic dinosaurs in Jurassic Park). When it comes to animation, most people prefer something that’s a little more cartoony and less realistic. This isn’t to say that CG can’t be done well, but if your project doesn’t require it, you may want to consider sticking with a more traditional animation style.
4) Complexity – How complex is your project?
If there are a lot of intricate details or movements involved, then you might want to consider a CG style. With 2D, you have to be much more careful about how you plan each scene because there’s not as much flexibility when it comes to changes (once it’s drawn, it’s drawn). CG allows for a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to movement and scene changes.
This one is a little more subjective, but if you’re targeting a younger audience, you may want to consider a CG style. Generally speaking, cartoons are geared towards younger viewers while live-action films and shows are targeted at older audiences. Keep this in mind when making your decision because it could have a big impact on how your project is received.
6) Experience – How much experience do you or your team have with the chosen style?
If you’re new to CG animation, for example, it might be a good idea to start with a simpler style until you get the hang of things. There’s nothing wrong with starting out with a 2D style and then transitioning to CG down the road. The important thing is that you feel comfortable with the style you choose and that you have the resources in place to make it successful.
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7) Style – How close does the chosen style resemble the source material?
If you’re looking to make something that’s 100% identical to a TV show or movie, then CG might be the way to go. But if your goal is more along the lines of creating something original, 2D may suit your needs better. There are also times when it makes more sense to combine them both in order to take elements from each style. For example, if you took some poses or shots directly from an anime but wanted it drawn in a more traditional Disney style (with watercolors & whatnot) this would be considered “2 1/2D” animation.
8) Purpose – What is your purpose for wanting to animate in 3D?
Do you want it done because you’re working on a TV show, a theater production, a music video, a short film or just something you put together for fun? There are certain benefits to each style that may only apply to your situation. For example, if you needed characters that can’t speak and were going to use their expressions as the sole form of communication (ex: many times when people raise their arms in victory after winning an athletic event) then 2D would definitely be the way to go. On the other hand, if your project is being shown in theaters or perhaps at festivals, then CG might be worth looking into since more and more venues seem to prefer it over traditional animation these days.
9) How much time do you have?
This is another one that’s kind of subjective but you might want to consider your deadline when making your choice. If you’re working on a project yourself (or with very little assistance), then it may take longer than if you were working with an experienced team of animators. You’ll also need time for planning, storyboarding, etc.
10) How much money do you have?
This plays into the whole “experience” category because if there are people in charge who don’t fully understand what goes into CG animation, they might make unrealistic deadlines which could result in rushing the work just to get it done at any cost. There are many different schools of thought when it comes to this subject so I can only speak from personal experience. One thing that’s helped me tremendously in this regard is working on multiple projects at one time so that if something goes unexpectedly awry with one, I always have others to fall back on. The more you work with CG, the better your chances are of creating something successful… but it’s also important to know when NOT to use it.
11) What kind of expectations do you have for this project?
Do you want to create a beautiful piece of artwork that will stand the test of time and be admired by future generations? Or is your goal just to recreate a popular TV show or video game as closely as possible without putting too much effort into things like lighting, backgrounds & environments? This can be another subjective choice because there are times when you want to go all out and flesh your character models & backgrounds out as much as possible… but other times it’s better to keep things relatively simple. In my experience, this would be the best time to use 2D because there isn’t a need for extensive lighting or environments that will take years of tweaking to get them right.
12) How attached are you to traditional animation techniques?
Do you want your project to look exactly like a hand drawn cartoon complete with brushstrokes, airbrush effects & whatnot…? Or would something more along the lines of a graphic novel suffice? There are those who prefer 100% pure traditional animation and those who think CG is so advanced now that there’s really no point in using it anymore. Everything is a matter of preference and the key is to do what’s right for your project. If you decide that CG would be best then you need to figure out which software you’ll use…
Animation is a wide and diverse art form with many different styles to choose from. When deciding which style you want to use, it’s important that you consider what your purpose for animating in 3D is as well as the limitations of your project. For example, are there characters who can’t speak or will be communicating through expressions? If so then 2D may be best suited for this scenario because they don’t have mouths! However if your goal is to recreate something like an anime show accurately but without all the work involved in doing things like lighting & backgrounds then CG animation might not be appropriate either – unless you’re working on a large budget production where these factors aren’t necessary. There are also considerations such as time, money, experience level and how attached you are to traditional animation techniques. In the end, it’s up to you to make the final decision but hopefully, this article will help provide some guidance along the way!
In conclusion, there are many things to consider when deciding on an animation style. By taking all of these factors into account, you’ll be in a much better position to choose the right one for your project! Thank you for reading and I hope this article was helpful. 🙂