Should I learn 2D or 3D Animation?

I wanted to entitle this post "2D or Not 2D, That is the Question." However, I didn't think it really said what this post is about so I chose it not as the title, but thought it was so corny that it was worth the mention.

Back to the question, should I learn 2D or 3D animation? I can only speak from personal experience and what I occasionally hear elsewhere, and to cut a long story short, go with the lowest number and work your way up is my suggestion.

Many would-be animators start with 3D, as it is the easiest to initially learn by my reckoning. However, I was one of those who made this mistake, even investing money in a 3D package that I very rarely use. What a waste!

I moved over to 2D animation as I eventually realised that this gave a much better insight into the complexity of creating animations and learning the 12 principles of animation. My intent when I switched to 2D was to learn the basics then move back over to 3D. But, do you know what, the more I started to learn, the more I was hooked. The date for moving back to 3D keeps getting put back further and further, whilst I get more into 2D.

Surely, it is possible to learn both, but with limited hobby time, every time I dabble with 3D I find myself working my way back to 2D.

So, that is where I was and where I am now, an avid 2D'er, who may, at some point, get back into 3D. If I'm honest though, I have to state that at the moment I enjoy 2D much more as there are many more subtleties in its production.

What should you learn? The choice is entirely yours. If I was to offer a suggestion, unless you are learning at college or for a career, I would say dabble with both 2D and 3D and see which you prefer. But, before investing any hard-won cash, try out Blender for 3D and the free trials of both MOHO and Toonboom. There are many other programs out there, but those, at the time of writing, would be my suggestions.

At the moment, I use the paid-for version of MOHO Pro to mainly do puppet type 2D animation - that is where you have character parts which you move about (like a 2D doll). I would love to do old-style hand-drawn animation but at present my drawing isn't that good. I have also used Blender and do occasionally dabble back in there. Two other programs I have bought are Cartoon Animator 4 and iClone 8. Whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with them, I do regret having rushed into buying the software.

When trying free versions of software, I would suggest only trialling one software at a time and giving it your full attention to see whether you like it or not, before moving on to another software. This way you can properly get a feel for each software and not get hooked into one whilst your trial period runs away from you, as it did for me.

Whatever you choose to do going forward, I hope you get as much pleasure from the pursuit as I have.

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