Which Animated Film Takes More Work to Produce – 3D Computer Animation or Traditional Hand-Drawn Animation?

Comparing 3D computer animation vs. traditional artist hand-drawn animation in a layman understanding will put traditional animation on the forefront as the one which requires more work. But, what if it is the easiest? Well, not to conclude yet, read on to see which type of animation needs more time/work to produce.

However, let’s get to know about animations before explaining which is the best approach or method to achieve the desired result. Animation is simply the act of photographing/filming following drawings or models to create an illusion of movements when played on a device. Or, simply, an animation is controlling pictures or models to appear as moving images.

There are commonly two types of animation which experts use to get theirs/a client’s desire come alive in pictures or models. The two types of animation are computer animation and traditional or artist hand-drawn animation. Many people find it difficult to know which animation method is best for them to use and achieve what they want; therefore, they tend to engage graphic designers to help them out. Well, it may just be that what you need is a local artist rather than a graphics designer.

Whichever way, any animation method you use will deliver a stunning end-product if handled by an expert in the field.

Animated Films

Everyone living on this planet, earth, have watched or seen quite a lot of animated films, especially as a kid. Those animations took a long time to achieve. Generally, an animation film of about 60-90 seconds length may up to 6 weeks to create.

Nevertheless, in a time like “now” where many tools, platforms, etc. are available to hasten the time needed to create professional anime films, the actual time has taken mostly relies on the animation style which the creator chooses to use.

Simply, animated films do not cost much time and price. If you’re working on a plain background animation, you could use the whiteboard method to deliver a 5-minute long anime film in 48 hours maximum. Animated film completion time varies based on many considerations or factors per se. Below are the two most used animation methods creators utilize and how much time/staff they require for an effective job to be done.

Computer Animations

Popular referred to as 3D computer animation, this method of animation is done with a computer utilizing certain tools in the form of software (animation software). 3D animation is the most used method of recent because it shows more details and looks more premium.

3D animation is the process of creating three-dimensional moving images in a simulated visual environment. They are done using specific software apps/tools from various developers. Even so, there are online tools and offline tools for creating 3D animations.

However, for filming purposes, it can take a very long time when you use this method of animation. A basic, short animation clip (typically for a business advert) may not take up to 48 hours (2 days) to finish.

Nevertheless, if you’re making an intense animation scene(s) such as a fighting scene, a war scene, or other intensive scenes, then, it may take up to months to complete such a film, especially when the duration is lengthy.

How much labor/work is required to achieve an excellent 3D animated film?

Well, it all depends on the complexity of the work to be done. One person does some 3D animations. However, for complex tasks, a team of experienced persons is required. With the 3D method, it is easier to create any scene clearly than in traditional animated art.

For a standard animation film like the popular ones we know such as Kung Fu Panda or Frozen, then, about 50 animators need to be engaged as a team, and it may tantamount to years before the animation film would be completed.

However, a team of 20 persons can create a 15 minutes simple animated film in a couple of months; no exact number of months to be precise as it depends on how hardworking the team is.

Also, a single person can work on an animation project alone but it takes many years to complete just like Chris Jones anime movie. The more the animators involve the faster and easier the project becomes.

Tools for 3D Animations

There are quite tons of tools to make 3D animations on computers. These tools and software range from web-based to local downloadable tools. For bulky animations, most anime creators make use of PowToons, GoAnimate, Adobe animation creator, and other professional tools.
The truth is that every part of creating a 3D animated film requires a unique tool; there is no dedicated tool to start and complete a full 3D anime creation.

Processes 3D animations follow.

They are namely:
1. Briefing, Concept & Storyboards
2. Modeling
3. Adding textures
4. Rigging and Animation
5. Voice over
6. Striking
7. Angle view settings (camera angle settings)
8. Rendering
9. Editing and Final Output

Nevertheless, different creators/animators follow different processes to do their job. But, even if not serially as presented here, all these steps listed out must be followed for a 3D animation to be complete, attractive, and worth watching.

One of the benefits of 3D animations is that it appears in clear details, looks very real in the simulated environments. Let’s get to know more about traditional anime films to know which is best to practice. Although 3D is the cutting-edge method, the conventional method is still relevant and applicable; a good number of people still prefer that.

Traditional Animation

Unlike computer animation, in this method, the artist/animator has to sketch out and design each frame by hand drawing. This method is also referred to as hand-drawn animation or classic animation. Prior to the advent of 3D computer animation, this has been the only way to create animated films for over years, even, decades.

Traditional artist hand-drawn animations may require lots of expert staff to achieve excellent work. It is not like the 3D animation method that could be completed faster and easier using the right set of tools.

How much labor/work is required to achieve an excellent traditional animated film?

Since this is manually drawn, it requires that quite a lot of professional artists come together in order for a project to be executed as fast as possible. If a 90 mins animated film could be completed by 400 – 500 team members in 1 year using the 3D method, the same would traditional artists 3 – 4 years to complete with the same amount of staff (team). The due processes to follow while using this animation method to make a movie are quite numerous.

Nevertheless, this is an archaic animation method; a lot of people have dumped this method to practice 3D animation.

Techniques involved in traditional animations

1. Cels
2. Limited animation
3. Shooting on twos
4. Animation loops
5. Multiplane camera
6. Xerography
7. The APT process
8. Cel overlay
9. Computers and traditional animation
10. Rotoscoping
11. Live-action hybrids
12. Special effects animation
These techniques thus listed are the various methods through which you can achieve an excellent traditional animation. However, since the drawing will be manually done, all these techniques will still not affect the work duration.

Processes of making an anime film with the traditional method
Traditional animated arts go through similar stages like the 3D animation. Since the end product is an anime film, one should expect the process to be different. The only difference is that in this method, the artist/animator(s) draws the whole scenes, characters, etc. manually on sheets which takes quite a longer time than when you use a computer to draw.

1. Voice recording
2. Animatic
3. Design, timing, concept art
4. Layout
5. Animation
6. Pencil test
7. Backgrounds
8. Traditional ink-and-paint and camera
9. Digital ink and paint

Which animation method requires more staff and labor to complete a standard animated film?

Obviously, traditional animated arts/films take longer time and require more people to work on projects. 500 animators working on a certain project using 3D computer animation will finish much earlier than 500 animators using traditional artist hand-drawn animation method and are working on the same project.

It was because of the time wasted and stress required to complete anime films using traditional method led to the advent of 3D computer animation which is aimed to be more efficient, faster, and prevalent. Also, quite a lot of tools have been developed to fasten the processes and minimize the number of staff required to complete anime films using 3D animations.

The 3D method is virtually faster; even so, when handled by professionals, much staff/labor is not needed for an intriguing animated film to go live.


Animators earn pretty well, animated films gain more impressions these days. Also, companies and businesses choose to use animated films to run captivating adverts.

Now, if you are going to produce an animated film or run adverts with anime characters, 3D computer animation method is the best to use. There is also 2D animation, but it not rampant and does not in any way compare to 3D.

Copyright Test Tube 2019