What Is 2D Animation?

2D animation creates movement in a two-dimensional artistic space. Work in the field of 2D animation requires both creativity and technological skills. Read on to learn about education and career information related to this artistic practice. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

2D Animation Defined

2D animation focuses on creating characters, storyboards, and backgrounds in two-dimensional environments. Often thought of as traditional animation, the figures can move up and down, left, and right. They do not appear to move toward or away from the viewer, as they would in 3D animation. 2D animation uses bitmap and vector graphics to create and edit the animated images and is created using computers and software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, and Encore. These animations may be used in advertisements, films, television shows, computer games, or websites.

Important Information About This Occupation

Similar Occupations Art director, computer programmer, graphic designer
Work Environment Office setting
Key Skills Knowledge of computer and animation programs, develop storyboards, research projects, creativity
Required Education Most possess a bachelor's degree with a portfolio

2D Animation Training

Students seeking to learn more about 2D animation could enroll in certificate, associate's or bachelor's programs related to animation. While some programs specifically in 2D animation do exist, classes can also be found in general animation, computer graphics, or art programs. 2D animation programs often include both artistic and technical classes in topics such as:

  • Character design
  • Life drawing techniques
  • Digital animation
  • Digital video
  • Stop motion animation
  • Web animation

Additional courses may cover storyboards, acting, and character development. Many programs also include a course where students can create a marketable portfolio.

Career Information

After completing an animation training program, you may be able to seek a job as an animator. An animator's job is to study scripts and get into the character's frame of mind to design a believable character. More specifically, 2D animators can:

  • Develop storyboards
  • Design characters
  • Arrange characters and items in a scene
  • Use computers to create graphics, motion and animation
  • Edit animations based on feedback from a director or client

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of all animators and multimedia artists (including those working in 2D animation) is expected to increase by six percent from 2014-2024, which is slower than the national average for all careers. Although there is expected to be an increase in demand for animations and visual effects for movies, mobile devices, video games and television, jobs are often outsourced overseas, which slows the growth potential. The BLS also reported that these workers earned an average salary of $69,410 as of May 2014.

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