A Complete Guide to 2D Animation Styles

Author: Bob Sep 23, 2021 7 min read

Feel like getting lost in the creative opportunities of animation? Well, let me help you. While the ideas you can realize with the help of animation are actually endless, the list of the animation styles to choose from is a little shorter. So, let’s dwell on 2D animation types – this technology is the most popular in marketing video production to date. In this article, I will help you draw a clear line between several 2D animation styles and choose the one that will fit your future project.


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The Fundamentals of 2D Animation

2D animation, as the name suggests, is an animation created in two dimensions. That is, the objects created in 2D are flat  – they have only height and width parameters, unlike 3D when objects appear in three dimensions, that is, like in real life.


Using both 2D and 3D animations are popular approaches in marketing video production. Opting for  3D visualization makes more sense when there is a need to showcase the object as it is. The use-cases of 2D, in turn, are almost unlimited, and modern businesses use 2D animations for creating promos, demos, explainers, eLearning, and many other types of videos.


Also, there are more than 30+ different animation styles. The choice range is really impressive but most of the marketing videos modern companies use, follow one of the most popular styles. Let’s review them in more detail and find out how each of them matches with a specific goal or use case.


2D Animation Styles

Below are five types of animation techniques in 2D that can be perfectly tailored to the type of video you would like to create and specific business goals. 


Whiteboard videos


2D Animation Styles - whiteboard video


A whiteboard animation type appeared in 2009 and is still used in marketing video production. The idea of the style is simple. With the help of such a video, you can explain a certain concept by using simple drawings which appear on the white screen (whiteboard) along with a voiceover explaining the essence. Creating whiteboard videos is relatively simple. The explanation of the concept is more important here than sophisticated animation. Whiteboard animating technique is often used for explainer and eLearning videos. 


Kinetic Typography


2D animation styles kinetic typography


Kinetic typography is a form of animation that allows for animating written text. Typography videos offer an opportunity to play with fonts, letter sizes, shapes, rotation, and most importantly, with the marketing message you want to convey. As for the practical usage of this style of animation, it is sometimes used as a preview or introduction to the next piece of content which should have a different style. This is also an option for sharing breaking news, and for creating bold promo videos with short and clear marketing messages. 


Frame-by-Frame Animation


frame-by-frame 2d animation style


Frame by frame or stop motion animation is mostly a cartoon style meaning animating an object by changing the frames. This is one of the oldest animation styles. In this case, the creator takes several pictures of a moving object and then overlaps them one by one to create an effect of the movement. Stop motion animation type can be challenging and costly to create because of the incredible number of required frames. However, some brands use it in their marketing videos to stand out with a unique style. It can be a good choice for short and attention-grabbing promo videos. 


Shape Animation


shape animation style


As the name suggests, shape animation is the process of transforming geometric figures into different ones, changing their shapes, sizes, positions, colors, and angular rotations. Shape types of computer animations have a lot in common with frame-by-frame ones. The only difference is that when creating shape animation, the artist has to specify the initial position and the desired position of the object. Usually, shape animation is used to animate logos, and to add some creativity to a branded video’s intro or conclusion. 


Infographic video

Infographic video style


Infographics are clear and engaging by their nature, and they perform even better when they take the form of a video. As the name suggests, an infographic video is an animation that shares facts, statistics, and numbers, plus uses other visual means to retain users’ attention. Infographic videos are good for educating users and sharing fresh insights in the most engaging manner, following this style of animation


You can also follow this style when creating a corporate video listing the company’s achievements. As one more option, an infographic video is a good tool to make the users dwell in your blog for longer – just replace your .jpeg infographic with an animated one. 


Cut-out animation


cut-out animation style


Cut-out animation roots back in the 18th century and the popularity of shadow theaters. The workflow in this animated style begins with making characters from paper, cardboards, or photos, and then, the layers are overlapped to create the effect of movement. The cut-out is a sub-kind of stop motion type of cartoon style, and it is used for creating 2D cartoons. For example, South Park is the most famous example of cut-out animation. As for the use of this animation style in marketing, you can choose it for promo videos or entertaining cartoons.


2D Animation Tools and Workflow

Regardless of the types of computer animation, you choose for your future video, artists, designers, and producers will have to do a lot of work to create it. In the process of 2D animation production, they usually use the next tools. 


  • Adobe Illustrator. This is the core app to create images that will be animated at the next stage, using Adobe After Effects. With Illustrator, you can also create Flash animations – lightweight animated elements that are frequently used in web design. 
  • Adobe After Effects. As the name suggests, this is the tool to add special effects to the animation. The software is used at the post-production stage and allows for adding visual effects, music and voiceover, color correction, and editing both in 2D and 3D. This is the most popular animation production tool since its primary use case is creating a motion effect. 
  • Paint tool Sai. This is an application for image drawing  – it comes without an animation feature. That’s why it is used at the very beginning of the animation creation process to draw the objects and then animate them using other tools, for example, Adobe Photoshop. 
  • Krita. Krita is a beginner-friendly animation software that covers the animation workflow from the very beginning to the final result. With the help of the app, you can draw an object and instantly animate it frame by frame. 
  • Adobe Photoshop. This is a less popular tool for creating design elements, however, it can be used as a part of animation workflow. For example, with Photoshop, you can animate objects frame-by-frame using the Timeline feature


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Creating 2D animation is equally engaging, regardless of the style and the video type you want to get for your business. We, at Wow-How Studio, consider 2D animation a perfect match between its creative potential, business use cases, and affordability. Find out how we have coped with the 2D projects of our previous customers – our portfolio covers a lot of 2D videos created in different styles for various industries. 


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