I am a newly retired person (40 years old). I always loved animation and have some experience in 3D modelling (using 3Ds max). Now after retirement I want to start my own freelance animated video production business. However I have few questions

Question 1: Since I do not want to get a huge team should I stick with 3D animation or switch to 2D. Is 2D managable for small team of two?

Question 2: Is it possible for 1 or 2 men team to develop 2D anmations at their own since I do not want to start a large company just me and may be one more person. I had plans to have a 3D animation company but 3D animation is a very long process and takes lot of time so I have settled for 2D. Is making a 1 or 2 minute 2D aniamtion for a single person / month possible (please assume what ever you have to to answer this)

Question 3: My objecctive is making 500-1000$ / month since I have my pension how long it will take me to reach this goal in freelance business if i work full time.

I understand that all the above questions are very subjective and need lot and lot of other information but please assume what all you have to OR just give your own experience. My style in 2D animation I assume will be cartoon / series creation promotional vidoes.

  • I may be way off in my assumption, but it would seem like someone going into animation could also profit by checking out the video game development SE. This question seems perfectly on topic here, but you might be able to pick up some tips over there as well. gamedev.stackexchange.com
    – WLPhoenix
    Oct 1, 2012 at 1:16
  • 1
    Please take a look at this particular section of the faq. What you're asking, while a very interesting question, may not actually fit the format of this site.
    – JoshP
    Oct 5, 2012 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


It depends on the quality you want to achieve and where your skill set is. The bigger difference between 2d and 3d animation isn't so much the time it consumes, but rather the skill set it requires.

The techniques for both are completely different (though there is a subset of 2d animation that is based on cell-shading or other specialized rendering of 3d models). 2D animation requires good vector and hand drawing skill with generally linear shading. It can be either very fast for basic keyframe and bend work with simple vector geometries, or it can be a painstaking manual process involving rotoscoping changes for each individual frame of animation with elaborate hand drawn textures.

Similarly, 3d can be very quick and simple when making things that don't need to be photoreal. Textures can be more easily applied and don't have to be perfect for all contexts, lighting is far simpler to get close, though perfecting it is still very hard. If you are doing things like 3d logo work and basic business effects (such as intro videos and some work for commercials) then you don't really need to be doing hyper realistic photoreal work and 3d animation can be pretty quick.

On the other hand, photo-realistic 3d animation is extremely painstaking, requires massive amount of processing power and a dedicated staff of specialists to get everything tweaked just right.

So, either approach can be done at a professional level with only a couple of people working on it. Both are within the realm of what is financially viable for an individual to invest in, though 3D animation is much more expensive initially unless you start with Blender, which is free.

You should decide on which you want to approach based on what best fits your interests. Try some 2D animation with flash, try some rotoscoped, frame by frame animation with Photoshop, try some motion graphics with After Effects and try some 3d animation with Blender. It might also be worth getting a trial copy of Maya, SoftImage or Cinema4D if you can as well and see how you like those higher end 3d graphics packages.

Choose whichever you enjoy the most and look for work that makes use of that type of animation.


I create animation for 2D game, and use both 2D (Inkscape) and 3D (Blender) software. Because I create game animation I use need 3 or 4 frames for most characters but some need 7+ frames (need save space in texture for each level, need limit animations).

I use 2D Inkscape for most game character, have color out line style like Disney's Alice In Wonderland but have shading/shadow too.

But some object have rotate animation (spike ball), special lighting/shading (hard draw with vector graphic) but very easy create with Blender. Some time I draw outline on 3D object render look more like vector object or help people see object, other time I use direct render image and not change it.

Game is little different from cartoon, people busy play game shoot/fight enemy, not easy notice lighting error when flip object, few animation frame, mix 2D/3D style.

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