What is 2D animation and its scope?

2D animation includes movies, games, and everything in-between
By Aaron Dmello


Who doesn’t like animation? Be it a clip, an episode, or a feature-length movie. Animation speaks to everybody. Animation takes out of reality and into the attractive world of imagination where anything and everything is possible.

The animation and VFX industry is a steadily growing industry and was worth US$ 270 billion globally in the year 2020. Meanwhile, the value of the Indian animation and VFX industry alone stands at 53 billion Indian rupees in 2020. Given the size of the industry, there is always a demand for animators in various capacities.

Being an animator is like being a magician. You create objects out of nothing and instill life into them. Your bag of tricks is quite deep but it’s your specialization that the world seeks. The world of animation is full of creativity and you end up creating something every day.

What is animation?

Animation is a form of art where inanimate objects are brought to life through the use of a variety of computer programs. One might confuse animation with cartooning but they are two distinctly different applications. In cartooning, one draws only a frame of a character but it has not moved and remains astatic. But, when a series of frames of the same character are drawn depicting a motion, which is individually photographed and played in a sequence, it’ll create the illusion of motion and incidentally become an animation.

Animation is broadly divided into two types, 2D animation, and 3D animation. As the name suggests, 2D animation is two-dimensional like Tom and Jerry, Chhota Bheem, Chorr Police, Motu Patlu, or Popeye the Sailor Man. The animation could be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Meanwhile, 3D animation is in three dimensions and includes many blockbuster movies like the Kung Fu Panda series, the Madagascar series, the Ice Age franchise, the Shrek movies series, and more. These animations are computer generated and have a greater demand globally.

2D animation

The art of creating movement in a two-dimensional space is known as 2D animation. this form of animation will include background, creatures, Fx, and characters. This form of animation could be hand-drawn or entirely computer-generated.

The animation will involve individual drawings by hand or on a computer, which are then put together in a sequence finally creating the illusion of movement. One second of such a sequence is made of 24 frames. In other words, depending on the style of animation, an animation sequence of one second will have been made of 24 unique drawings (24fps) or as little as two.

 However, it’s worth noting that generally, the animation is done on "2s", i.e. a drawing every 2 frames (12fps). This method is favoured to save on production time/costs as well as create the unique look of 2D animation.

2D animation caught the eye of the general public and became famous by the works of Walt Disney who is famed for his creation of several characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, and movies like Snow White, Lion King, and more. It’s worth noting that more than a million drawings were created for Lion King Movie including 1,197 hand-painted backgrounds and 119,058 individually colored frames. The old Disney movies and animation series are renowned for their hand-drawn beauty and fluidity of motion but currently, it has become an expensive affair due to the time and labour involved. Presently, computer-generated animation has more preference to hand-drawn animation.

In the current world, 2D animation is prevalent in TV shows, video games, feature films, advertisements, and mobile apps, and on websites. Popular modern examples include shows like the Family Guy, Kick Buttowski, and Rick and Morty. Even social media platforms like Snapchat are launching 2D animated series which last for about 3 minutes per episode.

2D animation is evolving quickly and with the emergence of streaming services and social media platforms, there is a constant demand for new content. Hence, there is also a great demand for 2D animators who can create entertaining and engaging content.

Skills required to be a 2D animator

2D animators create characters, objects, and backgrounds and make them move in a two-dimensional environment with the aim to tell stories or messages. But their skills are not only limited to drawing. They also need to be good storytellers. They also need to have additional skill sets  as a professional 2D animator which include

  • Designing Characters
  • Creating Special Effects
  • Sketching Designs
  • Developing Storyboards
  • Animating scenes
  • Transitioning backgrounds

Thus if you are planning to make a career in the lucrative animation industry you too will need to possess certain skills that will simplify learning and surviving in the competitive world. The pre-requite skills you need to become a 2D animator include

  • Creativity
  • Colour Sense
  • Artistic Skills
  • Ability to Express Ideas through Drawings
  • Detail Oriented
  • Appreciation of Aesthetics
  • Good Visual Imagination
  • Computer Skill

Learning 2D Animation after 12th

One can learn 2D animation during any period of their life but starting young is well advised. There are a variety of institutions that provide 2D animation training in various forms. The eligibility criteria for the courses provided may vary among institutions but a minimum of 50% marks in 10+2 is a requirement. The 2D animation training could be provided in various forms including

  • B A in Animation
  • B.Sc in Animation
  • Diploma in Animation
  • Certificate Courses

Best 2D Animation Software: Paid and Free




Toon Boom Harmony



Synfig Studio



Pencil 2D






Moho Pro






Adobe Animate




Jobs in 2D animation industry

There are over 300 animation studios employing over 15k animation professionals in India. One of the top employers in this field is the gaming industry which also provides a good pay grade. Besides, there are many private and public institutions that require faculty to provide training to students in the field of animation.

One must note that despite having studied 2D animation, there is no guarantee that you will become an “animator”. The animation industry has a variety of jobs and since technology keeps evolving rapidly, it also creates new jobs all the time. Here is a list of some of the many different roles in the 2D animation industry including:

  • Animator
  • Animation Supervisor
  • Animation Director
  • Games Developer
  • Character Designer
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic designer
  • Motion designer

It is worth noting that along the career path, a 2D artist can transit to 3D but the switch can be difficult the other way around. Meanwhile, there are many different industries that also provide jobs to 2D animators which include

  • Online and Print News Media
  • Cartoon Production
  • Advertising
  • Video Gaming
  • Theater
  • Film & Television
  • E-learning

2D animator salary

Animators in the 2D animation industry earn quite well. The pay is based on designation and experience. Junior animators or trainees can earn between Rs. 8,000-15,000 per month. An experience of three to five years in the animation industry can earn you between Rs. 25,000- 40,000 in salary. Highly experienced animator with a good portfolio of excellent animation work can easily earn Rs. 50,000-60,000 per month or even bargain his own pay grade or benefits.

Freelance 2D animator

The animation industry provides a lot of employment opportunities through its own or associated industries. However, there is also a niche market for freelance animators. Many studios find outsourcing their work to freelancers to be quite cost-effective and in this backdrop, the US and European studios outsourcing work to freelance animators in India.

As a freelance 2D animator you can get employed from any corner of the world. Usually, freelance job opportunities can be found on business and employment-oriented online services like LinkedIn. Freelance job opportunities pay well and also improve your portfolio as well as your market presence.


A career in the 2D animation industry is challenging and exciting with scope for higher income potential.  If you are a person who gets lost in your own world of imagination, daydreaming, and loves to draw then 2D animation is where your dreams will come true. The animation industry is where you will create life which will, in turn, put smiles on many a face.