Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Business of Animation Logo

Why Learn Both 2D and 3D Animation as a Freelance Animator

ben marvazi 2020

Make More Money as an Animator

Check out our FREE TRAINING on How Animators Can Make Over $10,000 Per Month

There are a lot of animation styles out there that you can try out and develop to create and sustain a successful career as a freelance animator. A handful of the more famous ones are 2D animation, 3D animation, stop motion animation, motion capture, typography animation, and claymation. 

Among the list, the most common styles are 2D and 3D animation.

2D animation is one of the oldest kinds of animation. It refers to creating flat characters, objects, and backgrounds in a two-dimensional space. In the past, animators used to create their 2D animations through traditional art on physical paper or cellophane cells.

A ton of classic animated films and popular series were done with 2D animation, like The Lion King in 1994, Spirited Away in 2001, and Rick and Morty in 2013.

On the other hand, 3D animation or computer animation refers to animations done in a three-dimensional space. These animations are computer-generated and give viewers a more immersive experience - depending on how it’s done. 

While they can be pretty tedious to execute, technology has made 3D animations more accessible for animators. Plus, the end result is definitely worth the effort. Examples of 3D animated films and series include the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Up in 2009, and Frozen in 2013.

Other people debate whether you should learn either 2D or 3D when starting out as an animator but because both these animations are useful skills when freelancing, it’s key to be prepared and learn both. 

These two (2) animation styles have flooded television screens and social media for quite some time now. Whether they’re used in full-length movies, promotional materials, or infomercials, both 2D and 3D animations remain in high demand. 

They’re incredibly vital skills and storytelling devices that clients often, if not always, look for in animators which is why you must include these animation styles in your designs and services as a freelance animator. 

If that’s not enough to persuade you, this article will share with you why exactly you should learn 2D and 3D animation as a Freelance Animator

Establish Legitimacy in Your Career As A Freelance Animator 

once you establish legitimacy in your career as an animator you'll be "to legit to quit"


Learning 2D and 3D animation styles will prove you know what you’re doing and that you’re keen on growing your career. With 2D and 3D animations being one of the more popular animation styles, clients will naturally expect you to be able to do them. 

So seeing you take your craft seriously will build legitimacy and foster respect among clients and colleagues. This will solidify your identity as a freelance animator and connect you to more clients especially considering that 2D and 3D animation continues to increase in popularity 

A legitimate business also builds trust among animation clients and leads. It will help satisfy your clients and make them feel comfortable in availing of your animation designs.

Learn 2D and 3D Animation to Diversify Your Animation Skills

an animation of spider man doing a backflip off a bike saying "skills pay the bills"

GIF by zion_animations via GIPHY

As a freelance animator, it’s important you keep an open mind in learning new skills that will boost your animation career. 

Being able to animate in both 2D and 3D diversifies your skillset and services, so instead of offering only a few styles you’re familiar with, you can also craft 2D and 3D animations for animation clients and leads. 

You can animate illustrations, advertisements, marketing materials, industrial and product designs, and even video games. The latter videos are especially possible with 3D animations as making characters and objects in a 3D space will let you move the camera around as if it’s in real life. 

While video games have been done in 2D, the use of 3D offers more flexibility in each sequence and a smoother and more dynamic game. Many video games on your PC and smartphone are now in 3D, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Need for Speed: Shift.

Additionally, the special effects you can create with 3D animation are often so realistic, people forget they’re only animations –– whether it be in creating video games or short multimedia presentations.

As for industrial and product designs, rendering the intended object on your computer in 3D lets you see its photo-realistic version, allowing for you to experiment to see what designs would best fit the client's brief.

While it may sound like a lot of effort, the skill would be beneficial to your career as a freelance animator. With their popularity across various fields, learning both 2D and 3D animations means you would be able to sign on to more clients and commit to different projects. 

It’s also important to take note of the various software in 2D and 3D animation that has led to a more convenient production process. Therefore, making animation increasingly accessible and elevating the playing field for all animators. So why not get into it headfirst by learning 2D and 3D?

Create 2D and 3D Animations that are Focused on Storytelling

a claymation boy says "once upon a time" as he starts telling a story from a book

GIF by LAIKAstudios via GIPHY

When it comes to becoming a successful animation freelancer, you must remember your main goal is to effectively communicate the message of every client. You must execute the given client brief in the best possible way that satisfies them and fulfills their request. 

One of the best ways of communicating emotions, messages, and ideas is through storytelling. It helps people across the world build connections with one another and positively influences feelings of trust and empathy. This is often a skill that clients subconsciously look for in brands. 

As shared by writer and marketer, Joshua VanDeBrake in an article on Medium, “Great brands know this [about storytelling] and tap into its power to build a base of engaged fans.”  

Animations are a powerful tool in storytelling. It tells stories in a unique manner that various target markets will be able to understand and enjoy. And compared to other animation styles, like typography, using 2D and 3D animations are the most popular and effective in animation storytelling.

2D and 3D animations make use of characters and scenes like in a short film to relay the message of your client. This makes the means of communicating more enjoyable and immersive for its intended audience, instead of simply shoving the message in their face. 

An article by animation studio Dream Farm Studios shares that in telling stories, these animation styles “open up new and fascinating possibilities. It’s a delicate and less confronting medium, in which even the smallest of details can be fine-tuned.”

As a freelance animator, you can build a well-crafted world and unique and appealing characters that fit your client’s creative brief when you learn 2D and 3D animation. 

How to Use 2D and 3D Animation for Dynamic Animated Videos

a dynamic 2d animation where a guy says "this guy gets it" as he is surrounded by a cyborg  alligator and alien creature

GIF by rickandmorty via GIPHY

Animations and other multimedia presentations done in 2D or 3D typically add an immersive experience for the viewer. By now, you have seen tons of 2D and 3D animations that you’re well aware of their capabilities. 

This is especially true with 3D animations wherein you can do more realistic movements with your characters and objects. You can execute more complex and intimate actions with your characters in the most accurate interpretation. 

Naturally, you’ll have to continuously practice and develop your 2D and 3D animations but learning at least the basics is automatically a step up for your animation designs and your career.

With that, there are endless possibilities in actions and camera movements for you to offer potential clients. Your dynamic animations will also come a bit pricier which will especially be good for you as a freelance animator.

Expand your Animation Into Other Platforms and Fields

a man says "I mean business" similar to expanding your animations into other platforms and industries

GIF by truerealtv via GIPHY

The best part about learning 2D and 3D animations are that you can provide audiences with entertainment, information, promotion, or even all of them at the same time across all platforms and fields. You can make dull topics appear exciting and difficult ideas appear simple.

With its broad appeal and its ability to effortlessly communicate diverse and complex messages and ideas, 2D and 3D animation styles have seeped into other fields even those that seem unrelated, like medicine and architecture. 

They are often used as promotional tools, explainer videos, or even as a means to improve the image of a business.

On top of that, its interactive and unique nature immediately catches the attention of a wide range of people from the get-go. Therefore contributing to its ever-expanding popularity.

2D and 3D animations can also be uploaded on various online and offline platforms like social media and television. This is because of its ability to capture your client’s message and effectively express it in both short-form (less than 1 minute) and long-form (8 to 20 minutes). 

With that, you are opening your animated videos to different people and attracting those who may not usually notice you. 

As a freelance animator, you need to keep expanding your client list, increasing the visibility of your animations. 

While it’s important to have an animation niche, attracting a couple of clients across other fields like medicine or advertising is still helpful. This will reflect your diversity and skill as an animator, and will also help give you a little extra income from time to time. 

Why You Should Learn 2D and 3D Animation As A Freelance Animator

an editing timeline for either 2d or 3d animation is shown on a computer screen

Image by Wahid Khene via Unsplash

2D and 3D Animation are continuously rising in popularity. While these two animations employ two completely different animation styles, it’s important you learn how to execute both of them as a freelance animator to sustain your career in animation. Why?

First, learning 2D and 3D animations establishes legitimacy in your career as a freelance animator. Second, they provide flexibility and diversity in your animation designs. 

Third, they allow you to create animated videos that are focused on storytelling. Fourth, they provide more dynamic animations for your animation clients. Fifth, they expand your animations into other online and offline platforms and fields, attracting a ton of clients for you.

2D and 3D animations are much more than just another animation style because these animation styles are a powerful business tool used by multiple brands across diverse fields. 

Their interactive nature and immersive experience serve as a form of entertainment, promotion, information, or even all of the above for clients and leads. In fact, many famous animated movies, videos, and games employ either 2D or 3D animations.

While it’s true that it may be difficult and tedious at the beginning, you’re fortunate enough to be right in the middle of so many tools and online software to provide you with all the help you need in learning both 2D and 3D animation.

For more tips on developing your business skills as a freelance animator or animation studio owner, take part in our informative free masterclass and download a copy of our free marketing handbook

rocket for boa

Lacking Business Skills as an Animator?

Transform your animation skills into a profitable business with our expert-led free training.
Business of Animation Footer Logo
Helping Animators Succeed

Feeling Stuck in Your Animation Career? Learn How to Break the $10,000 Per Month Barrier!

crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram