Animation studio

2D Animation: Hand Drawn vs Puppet



HAND DRAWN ANIMATION (also called traditional or cel animation) is exactly what it sounds like – each frame is drawn by hand. This technique provides maximum control over the image’s shape and form and requires the least amount of technical know-how to produce. Remember those flip books you made as a kid? You were actually learning the very basics of animation when making those. Hand drawn animation is the most time-consuming in the finishing stages. Each frame, once drawn, must then be colored and inked for the final pass. Consider a :30 spot at 24 frames a second. That’s 720 frames that need to go through multiple passes of finish before calling it done! Pre-production is especially important for this technique as any changes late in the game can wreak havoc with timelines and budget.  We at CRASH+SUES put a lot of emphasis on educating our clients how the process works so they know what to expect and as a result, projects run smoothly.




PUPPET ANIMATION is a 2D animation technique where the character is illustrated then separated into pieces (typically around the joints), then “rigged.” Think of rigging like adding the string or controls to a digital marionette. Unlike hand drawn animation, puppet animation requires more time upfront, in the set-up and rigging of our puppets. Once rigged, characters movements are “keyframed” by the animator and then the computer goes about interpolating between each keyframe. This technique has the potential to be a lot faster than hand drawn animation when built correctly. Unlike hand drawn, puppet animation is limited to the shape, form and angle that the puppet has been drawn. Showing the puppet from a variety of angles means those assets have to be illustrated and rigged as well.





You can see how each project is a bit of a balancing act and C+S animators are experienced in finding the best technique to fit your time frame, aesthetic and budget. Got any projects 2D animation projects you’d like to run past us? Don’t hesitate to get in touch! We promise to find you the best fit.


(PS – Click on the images to see the full projects these samples came from!)


Header image from The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams



CRASH+SUES is a small but fearless band of storytellers who help ad agencies and businesses create meaningful connections with their customers and employees.  We’re masters of ideation, design, live action production, animation and color, delivering compelling content that engages, entertains and educates. Call us what you want – a hybrid agency, a creative boutique, a branded content studio, digital daredevils, or… just call us. We’ll help you cut through the noise.  visit CRASH+SUES

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  • Arena Dilsukhnagar

    Awesome blog…

  • Rachmat Pradikta

    the puppet animation is amazing, i want to use it in my stop motion video. i hope you don’t mind.

  • ananda

    I think this is really awesome, I learn a way to sketch from this post, thanks

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