The meteoric rise of digital technology over the past couple of decades has revolutionized basically every industry, market, and niche in existence. But when we take a look at the globe-spanning influence of cutting-edge computer tech – it’s easy to forget that the world of business isn’t the only one that has changed because of it. On the other hand – these fast-paced advancements have brought about a change in the world of art as well. And sure, 3D and CGI technologies have allowed the entertainment industry to reach hitherto unprecedented heights in terms of artistic presentation. But 2D animation has also seen a sort of renaissance in the last couple of years – with many people yearning to see something of a retro style to their animation.
Many animation companies are looking to satisfy this demand, which is why we’ll explore some of the more interesting 2D animation companies in operation today!
1. Passion Animation
If there’s one thing we’ve seen for sure in the past few years, it’s that technology can improve rapidly, creating sweeping paradigm shifts in the span of just a couple of years.
However, as most 2D animation companies will attest to, in this art form, it’s as much about creating thought-provoking content as it is about using the latest tech.
A good example of that is Passion Animation – a company that’s beloved around the world thanks to its cute and wholesome Christmas adverts.
Not only are they visually captivating, which is obviously important – but they’re also capable of delivering something of a deeper message, in a short video format.
For instance, they’ve done an interesting 2D short in cooperation with Greenpeace centred around the issue of deforestation that’s happening due to the harvesting of palm oil.
This film coupled a striking message with an essentially simplistic and cute style, resulting in an extremely effective online campaign. Plus, they accentuated their 2D animation with some 3D technologies, in order to achieve a truly unique look.
As you might imagine, the 2D animation companies that fill up the top charts in terms of awards and popularity aren’t just the ones that solely specialize in 2D animation.
Framestore is a good example of that – as a video production company that is actually most often involved in 3D, photo-realistic animation design.
Most of their work involves feature-length films, as well as special effects for TV shows. But even though they’re primarily a 3D animation studio, their occasional 2D work has proven to be a pleasant respite from their usual style.
They’re recognized across the globe, and their most recent notable work has been CGI design for the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them movie series. Despite being based in the UK, they truly have a global audience!
While technical prowess is important in the world of 2D animation companies, even a cursory glance will reveal that the competition out there is huge.
And that makes originality and artistic integrity just as important as creating content for HD and 4K video formats for commercial success!
Considering that, we’ll shine the spotlight on BlinkInk – an animation studio that frequently dabbles in the original, wacky, weird and obscure.
Make no mistake, BlinkInk is by no means on the fringes of the market; they have made a ton of music videos, short films, and adverts – all of which have met universal acclaim.
Most notably, they’ve done a lot of work for Gorillaz on their music videos, combining live-action videos with some truly fantastic 2D animations, in order to achieve a completely unique visual blend.
As you might imagine, they thrive in short-form content, which allows them to closely examine and explore specific and bizarre concepts. One thing is certain – their content is quite memorable, and always talked about.
4. Studio AKA
If you’re a parent of pre-school kids, chances are you’re familiar with Studio AKA’s work – even if you didn’t know it’s them.
They frequently do work on 2D animation cartoons, and they’re one of the industry leaders in that regard.
Interestingly enough, even though they’re a leader in this 2D animation niche, their 3D art department is actually quite well-developed as well, and they produce high-quality content for both genres.
Plus, even though they have an impeccable level of technical quality, their focus is actually almost always the story and the design of the characters. As you might imagine, this is most prevalent in their 2D animations.
These people are incredibly passionate about their work and their artists – this is most evident from the fact that they even release discontinued and undeveloped concepts so that other people can view that as well.
Additionally, their commitment to artist individuality is seen on their website as well; each artist has their unique page there!
Here’s another company that’s primarily working in 3D animation and VFX effects; most of the 2D work they do is merely concepts development.
However, even that has sparked enough interest for them to do occasional 2D work in a professional capacity too.
They specialize by topic, rather than by technique; most often working on sci-fi projects, which dabble in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Jellyfish have a real knack for making the accompanying visual effects look simultaneously stylized and realistic.
Mainly, they work for TV series and movies, landing gigs for high-budget productions like Black Mirror and Star Wars. While they’ve done a couple of advertisements in the past, they mostly do long-form content.
Founded in 2019 with only 10 animators, their studio is large enough to accommodate 50 animators, voice-over artists and content writers.
They specialise in 2D animation, 3D animation, advertisement and promotional videos and whiteboard animation.
As you may have gathered, the market of 2D animation companies is highly competitive, but also highly creative, bringing a lot of original concepts to the table – and working on ideas that just wouldn’t work quite as well with cutting-edge 3D animation.
At the end of the day – each style has found its audience and its footing!