2D Animation Definition

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2D Animation Definition
2D animation creates the illusion of movement. (rugby fending blue cartoon style image by patrimonio designs from Fotolia.com)

2D animators use a combination of creative skills and speciality computer programs to create images that have the appearance to movement. 2D animation works on a two-dimensional platform, unlike 3D, which adds depth perception to the work. To simplify the concept, consider a square to be two dimensional and a cube three dimensional.

Creating 2D Animation

Two-dimensional animation is created through a series of images quickly flashing through several frames a minute. Each image is slightly altered in each frame, as desired, so that when played in sequence, they result in seamless changes and gradual movements.


The 2D animation process is broken down into four parts: development, preproduction, production and post production. The development and preproduction phases focus on coming up with and fine-tuning the concept. The product is created during the production stage and the final touches and special effects done in post production.

Programs Used

Modern animators have gravitated away from drawing two-dimensional images on paper. A variety of computer software programs aid in the creation of 2D animation. Programs include: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and After Effects as well as Apple Motion and Macromedia Flash.

2D Animation Uses

Two-dimensional animation is often used in advertising, animated movies and TV shows, video games, websites and computer programs.

Jobs in 2D Animation

2D animation employs artists, designers, special effects specialists, art directors, animators and more.

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