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How 2D and 3D Animation is made at an Animation Studio – Part 1

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How 2D and 3D Animation is made at an Animation Studio – Part 1

Our Team at Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio feels it is very important to educate the community, clients, and anyone that is curious about how Animation is made or what exactly goes on behind the scenes in a 3D or 2D Animated Production. This knowledge will not only explain how we do what we do, but it also helps everyone appreciate the service we provide, helps people better collaborate with us, and helps us manage people’s expectations throughout the 3D or 2D Animation process.

How 2D and 3D Animation is made

There are some people that watch Animated cartoons on TV or see the 3D hit movie Avatar and enjoy it but have no idea how many steps, it takes, who does it, how many people does it take, who are the people that make it, or what’s involved in the process. As Animators, we can often forget that the general public doesn’t have a degree in Animation like most of us working at Studios do, so we feel it’s time to shed some light on the subject and educate as well as entertain you about what it takes to create a 2D or 3D Animation at a Studio. This will be Part 1 of a series we will create on this subject, so stay tuned for all of the series. We will be walking you through step by step in a rare behind the scenes look at what it takes us to build those Film FX, Cartoons, Commercials, and anything Animated you may have seen around. Enjoy.

As one of Austin, TX’s Premier 3D Animation Companies, we serve our clients locally and globally. Established in 2007, Austin Visuals has produced many Animated Commercials, Cartoons for YouTube, Architectural Animation, Visualizations for the Oil and Gas Industry, Animation for The University of Texas (UT, Austin, TX), and even Animation and Graphics for NASA.


 Here are some of the topics we will be covering in this series. 

Do it in 2D? Or 3D?

What is 3D Animation?

Step 1: What are your needs?

Step 2: Concept and Storyboards

Step 3: 3D Modeling

Step 4: Texturing

Step 5: Rigging

And more…

Do it in 2D? Or 3D?


How 2D and 3D Animation is made

The first step for our clients to consider is whether a 2D or a 3D animation would be best for their purposes. Many of the steps are similar, but 3D is obviously complex and requires much more time to create than 2D in most cases. Although you can get much more visual depth with 3D Animation, 2D Animation often conveys a story, idea, or concept much faster. Just because 2D Animation is faster to create, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice to solve your visual communication needs. At Austin Visuals, we help our clients pick which kind of Animation is best for their needs. Maybe you’re looking for an Animation that will get your point across quickly, hold your audience’s attention, and entertain them visually? If you are then a 2D Animation might be the way to go. 2D is limited in the amount of detail it can show, and the amount angles or perspectives you can view your work from. 3D Animation; however, can do everything that 2D can do, and a whole lot more. 3D Animation can look very realistic like a photograph and allows you to more easily incorporate live-action video footage to give your project a more film or television commercial look. Combining 3d Animation with video shot with a Video Camera can be very helpful when adding special effects like explosions or demonstrating an industrial or mechanical process through use of 3D animation. 3D can also accurately show scale, volume, shadows, and light which is much more difficult than with 2D Animation. One thing to keep in mind with 2D Animation is that a 2D cannot always be converted to 3D easily, so Austin Visuals always recommends to plan for what you want from the beginning so that your project easily develops from phase to phase until your final delivery is achieved.

Before moving forward describing our process, we must define and ask the question :  What is 3D Animation?

In a nutshell, 3D Animation is the art of “sculpting” digital objects and setting those objects into motion. 3D Animation is an important visualization tool that is helping a variety of industries, businesses, and individuals communicate visually. Instead of building physical objects in the real world and setting those objects into motion on film, we create 3D Animation by starting from nothing and use our minds, imaginations, and our team’s collective experience to produce things that move, live, and breathe using special 3D Computer Software to generate cutting edge state-of-the-art computer graphics. Our motto is, “We bring your ideas to life.” And that’s exactly what we do to bring 3D Animation to the web, television, or the silver screen. 3D Animation is a complex process that requires teams of highly skilled artists and trained experts in the field of Animation to work on an successfully execute your project. A typical 3D Animated Production requires the collaboration of Project Managers, Administrative Teams, Artists, Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Voice over Actors and Actresses, and other skilled Artists in order to get the best results.


What are kinds of things you can do with 3D Animation? It can visually communicate almost any idea you want. Whether you are attempting to show a prototype to the public, simple illustration to communicate your ideas, or even if we don’t have the blueprints for your design but you have an idea of what you want the end visual result to look like, 3D Animation is going to be your best choice for your needs in these cases. Our clients can even tell us over the phone what they want or write us an email and we can make fantastic 3D Animation for them based on limited information. If the goal is to make an Animation for purely entertainment purposes, we always say here at our Studio that we can do anything from making pigs fly to making a cow jump over the moon. We can make Animation look like an illustrated cartoon or we can make it look ultra realistic like it was a scene in a movie or from a photograph. We can pretty much do anything that you have visual reference for or that you can dream up.


With that in mind, let’s walk through the steps of Austin Visuals’s typical 3D Animation Production Process.  At the end, we’ll cover the special cases of 2D Animation, Architectural Still Renderings and Animations, and Web and Mobile Commercials & Explainer Video Animations.

That’s all for now, join us next time for another post in our series. To find all the posts, visit our blog at


At Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio we specialize in providing the following 3D Animation and Video Services:

  • 3D Animation, FX, and 3D Renderings
  • Animation, Video Production, and Graphics from concept-to-completion

Contact us at Austin Visuals if you need help structuring your 3d animation needs, and we can help you save time and many headaches of getting your project off the ground and best of all we bring your ideas to life.


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