Is 3D Animation Hard To Learn? Is It Harder Than 2D?

Becoming a skilled 3D animator is not a goal you can accomplish in a few weeks or months. This career path requires your time and effort.

Is 3D animation hard?

Yes, but you can master it with your persistence.

Let’s check this article to discover this major!

What Is 3D Animation?

3D animation refers to the process of producing moving three-dimensional visuals in a digital setting.

Animators use 3D software to create these graphics. The software also allows them to build digital things that appear to be three-dimensional, even if they are on a two-dimensional platform.

Animators can create anything from a movie character to an automobile that looks like they are moving across three dimensions using visual effects and perfect timing.

There are three components in the process: modeling, layout, and rendering. After these steps, the software can bring the object to life.

Why is 3D Animation Hard?

There are many steps involved in the whole process. Moreover, to bring out the best result, you need to apply different principles in the same place.


Although the process only has three steps, there are many things you have to complete in each step.

  • Step 1: Modeling

Modeling is where animators create a portrayal of a material’s geometric surface in specialized software.

  • Step 2: Layout

During this phase, the animators position the objects in a way that movement will take place on the screen.

  • Step 3: Rendering

Rendering, in this case, is similar to the final stage of editing films. It completes the whole process by representing the final outcome.

drawing 3d characters on computer screen
Each step in the process is hard

Many principles to apply

The following principles are the foundation of every animation training.

  • Squash and Stretch

These terms explain how an object changes its shape according to external pressures. “Squash” is when a force compresses a thing, and “Stretch is when something distends an object.

  • Anticipation

Anticipation is a small movement that occurs before a bigger one and works as a signal for the next big action.

  • Staging

Staging is the method of presenting a shot so that the substance of the image is clear and the storytelling role of the shot is prominent.

  • Arcs

This principle comes from the idea that living things often move in curved lines instead of straight patterns.

Designing elegant, clear arcs boosts the animation and shows the designer’s expertise level.

  • Timing

Timing is regulating the speed of a movement using multiple frames. This principle is the most crucial and hardest that takes you years to perfect.

  • Exaggeration

Exaggeration is about displaying an object dramatically to push it further instead of making it realistic.

  • Pose-to-pose and Straight ahead

Straight-ahead refers to the process of building every new frame in order from start to end.

Pose-to-pose means establishing the fundamental poses for each activity and then filling the gaps.

  • Solid Drawing

Solid drawing is about posing objects to bring a sense of weight, volume, and balance.

This principle requires the artist to draw the objects from every angle while maintaining three-dimensionality.

  • Appeal

Any elements of a character’s creation that make them intrinsically attractive to watch are “appeal.”

This task entails the object’s design and how the artist animates the character.

  • Secondary Action

Secondary action is also a small movement that supports the primary one of a character.

These actions help to clarify the shot by highlighting the movement’s sentiment or motivation.

There are many tools and principles to apply

2D vs. 3D: What Is More Difficult?

None of the animation styles are more difficult or easier than the others. It depends on the task and the anticipated outcomes.

2D Animation

Behind the apparent ease of 2D animation comes a significant amount of time-consuming labor.

Keyframing aids in the automation of object motions on a timeline. While software developments may save the animators from sketching every frame, it does not relieve them from laborious detail work.

Another difficult task in this job is fitting the character to the background.

Often, a different animator is in charge of designing the background. Adding an object to it is challenging.

drawing on paper
Both majors are challenging

3D Animation

In 3-dimensional technology, the link between the characters and the background is simpler to establish thanks to the reference process.

This technology allows designers to load the character’s files with the background. The difficulty level for this task varies depending on the details.

In general, both of the jobs are difficult. If you want to master two-dimensional sketching, make sure you are good at drawing.

On the other hand, you can be a professional 3D animator if you handle the software perfectly.

Tips for Learning Animation

This major is not easy to learn. However, you can try the following tips to speed up your learning curve.

  • If your work looks too stiff, try adding some stretch and squash into the movements and check if it can help.
  • It’s unusual for anything to start moving forward without first moving in the opposite direction.
  • Consider softening the movement path in your artwork with arcs if it looks a little strange.
  • Make sure that every movement you make has smooth acceleration and deceleration.
  • By changing the number of frames, you may modify the smoothness, speed, and weight.
  • If your works feel a little flat, consider adding some supplemental action.
  • Exaggeration may make a fantastic animation.


3D animation is not easy to master; however, this career path is promising because of the high demand and competitive salary. Hence, your effort will be rewarding.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!