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2D, or two-dimensional animation, is a combination of artistic technique and media design that creates the illusion of movement in a two-dimensional environment. By sequencing individual drawings together over time, characters, backgrounds, objects, and effects look as if they are moving. This is commonly done for animated movies and television, but it is also seen in video games, websites, mobile apps, and advertisements. It can be useful to draw images by hand before using 2D animation, also known as vector-based animation. Computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony are just a few of the industry standard programs for 2D animation. Therefore, it can be beneficial to seek higher education in order to learn the technical skills needed.
The illusion of movement is created when individual drawings are sequenced together over time. One second of time is usually divided into 24 frames. Depending on the style of animation there can be as many as 24 unique drawings in one second of animation (24fps) or as little as two. Conventionally animation is done on “2s” meaning there is a drawing every 2 frames (12fps). This allows artists to save on production time/costs and gives 2D animation its unique look.Dialogue example by CG Spectrum’s 2D Animation Mentor Scott Claus (who worked at both Disney and DreamWorks)