October 8, 2023
Introduction 118070186

Are you puzzling over whether CGI or traditional animation is lighter on the budget? You’re not alone – this has been a hot topic in the animation industry for years. Today, we’ll delve into an in-depth comparison between these two dynamic art forms, exploring costs and benefits to help liberate you from this conundrum.

Hang tight – you’re about to embark on a riveting journey through the world of pixels and pencils!

Key Takeaways

  • Hand-drawn animation and CGI animation have distinct differences in technique and style, with hand-drawn being more time-consuming but offering a classic look.
  • CGI animation can be more cost-effective due to the use of computer-generated graphics, requiring fewer staff and allowing for easy changes.
  • However, the initial investment in technology and training for CGI can be high, and constant updates are needed as technology evolves.

Comparing Animation and CGI

Comparing Animation And CGI 118070769Hand-drawn animation and CGI animation have distinct differences in terms of technique and style.

Differences between Hand-drawn Animation and CGI Animation

Let’s look at how hand-drawn animation is different from CGI animation.

  1. Hand – drawn animation is a classic style. It uses drawing, inking and painting to make the images move.
  2. In hand – drawn animations, artists draw each frame by hand. This can take more time.
  3. CGI or Computer Generated Imagery makes use of software to create motion visuals.
  4. In CGI animations, moving parts are done on a computer, not by hand.
  5. The look of CGI movies is often smoother than that of hand – drawn films.
  6. CGI movies can be 3D, while most hand – drawn animations are 2D.
  7. Hand – drawn animation can be cheaper than 3D CGI animation but may need more time to produce.
  8. Lastly, CGI animated films often earn more money at the box office than traditional hand – drawn ones.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hand-drawn Animation

Hand-drawn animation, also known as traditional or 2D animation, offers a unique blend of artistic expression and timeless aesthetics. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Hand-drawn animation allows for a high level of artistic expression. Artists have the freedom to create unique and creative designs.Hand-drawn animation can be labour-intensive. Each frame must be drawn individually, which can be a time-consuming process.
The classic look of hand-drawn animation appeals to certain audiences, offering a sense of nostalgia and character that is not always possible with other forms of animation.Despite its charm, hand-drawn animation might not be suitable for every project. Depending on the specific requirements, other forms of animation may be more appropriate.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CGI Animation

CGI, or Computer-Generated Imagery, plays a crucial role in creating animated sequences in movies and TV shows, providing a number of advantages but also bringing some disadvantages.

CGI can compete with traditional animation in terms of visual appearance and scope.The initial investment required for CGI technology and staff training can be high.
CGI offers flexibility, allowing for the easy adaptation and creation of scenes or entire movies.Technology is always evolving, necessitating constant updates and staff retraining.
The 3D aspect of CGI can provide a viable alternative, depending on the project’s scope.Despite its versatility, CGI is not a fit-all solution and may not be suitable for every project.
CGI is widely used in both live-action and animated filmmaking, demonstrating its versatility.Over-reliance on CGI can make a film feel less authentic and more artificial.

Therefore, while CGI can offer unique advantages in animation, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well.

Cost Comparison between Animation and CGI

Cost Comparison Between Animation And CGI 118070326

Hand-drawn animation can be expensive due to the time-consuming process of drawing each frame, while CGI animation costs less because it utilizes computer-generated graphics.

Cost of Producing Hand-drawn Animation

Making hand-drawn animation costs a lot. Each moving part must be drawn by an animator. Then, the drawings get put together to make a film. This takes much time and many skilled workers.

Disney used to make films this way but stopped because CGI is cheaper and faster. Now, some 2D animation still happens with computer help. Yet, traditional hand-drawn animation remains one of the most costly ways to create an animated movie.

Cost of Producing CGI Animation

Making CGI animation can be pricey. It needs a lot of tech gear, skilled people, and time. For one second of CGI animation cost, it takes a lot more work than regular hand-drawn clips.

Big budget films like ‘Avatar’ or ‘Avengers: Endgame’ spent millions on their CGI.

Yet, not all CGI scenes take loads of cash to make. Some smaller projects use less complex visuals which cost less to make. Also, once the tech is in place and the team knows what they’re doing, creating extra bits takes much less time and money.

New software also helps cut down costs over time.

Factors that Make CGI Animation Cost Less

CGI animation saves money in different ways. Here are some reasons:

  1. Less staff is needed. With CGI, a smaller team can create a whole film.
  2. No need to draw each frame. Unlike hand-drawn animation, CGI does not need 24 frames per second.
  3. Changes are easy to make. In CGI, you can easily fix errors and make changes.
  4. Fast production time is another plus point for CGI animation.
  5. You don’t have to start from scratch when making new scenes.
  6. There’s no need for physical materials like paper or paint.

Advantages of CGI over 2D Animation

– CGI animation allows for reduced production time, cost-effective technology, and the ability to make changes easily. Find out why many animators are choosing CGI over traditional hand-drawn animation! Read more to discover the advantages of CGI in animation production.

Reduced production time

CGI animation cuts down production time. It is less work than 2D animation. The computer does the job faster. This quick work helps Disney move to other tasks sooner. CGI lets artists make changes with ease too, saving more time.

With 2D animation, every frame needs drawing by hand which takes a lot of time. But CGI uses computers to draw and move parts on screen in less time. So, projects get done quicker with CGI.

Faster completion times mean more movies can be made within the same timeframe!

Cost-effective technology

CGI animation is known for its cost-effective technology. Unlike traditional hand-drawn animation, CGI allows animators to create lifelike images using computer-generated imagery. This technology has made the production process much faster and more efficient, resulting in lower costs.

With CGI, animators can easily make changes to scenes or characters without having to redraw everything from scratch. This flexibility saves both time and money in the long run. Additionally, CGI animation benefits from reusability as elements can be modified and reused in multiple projects, further reducing production costs.

Overall, the cost-effectiveness of CGI technology has made it a popular choice in the animation industry.

Ability to make changes easily

CGI animation offers the advantage of being able to make changes easily. This means that animators can modify or refine scenes, characters, or objects without having to start from scratch.

Unlike traditional 2D animation, where every frame has to be hand-drawn, CGI allows for quick adjustments and updates. This not only saves time but also reduces production costs. With the ability to make changes easily, animators can meet tight deadlines and adapt to evolving project requirements efficiently.

It provides a high level of control and precision, allowing them to achieve the desired visual effects with ease. The flexibility of CGI also promotes efficient collaboration among different departments involved in the animation process.

Disadvantages of CGI

CGI animation requires a significant initial investment in technology and training, making it more costly upfront for studios.

Initial investment in technology and training

Investing in technology and training is one of the first steps in getting started with CGI. It’s important to have the right hardware and software to create computer-generated imagery. This initial investment can be quite high, as it requires purchasing powerful computers and specialized software. Additionally, animators need to undergo training to learn how to use these tools effectively. They must become familiar with the software’s features and understand how to manipulate 3D graphics. This training can take time and may require additional costs for courses or workshops. However, once the initial investment is made and the necessary skills are acquired, CGI can be a cost-effective option for creating animated movies and visual effects.

Constantly evolving technology

CGI technology is constantly evolving. Over the years, advancements in computer software have improved the quality and realism of CGI effects. It has reached a point where it’s difficult to tell whether a movie scene contains real shots or CGI.

This constant evolution means that filmmakers need to continually invest in new technology and stay updated with the latest techniques. However, it also opens up opportunities for more creative possibilities in visual storytelling.

With each advancement, CGI becomes more sophisticated and capable of delivering stunning visual effects on the big screen.


In conclusion, contrary to common belief, CGI is not necessarily more affordable than hand-drawn animationThe cost of CGI can vary greatly depending on the project and its integration into live-action films.

While there are advantages to using CGI, it’s important for filmmakers to carefully consider the budget and overall aesthetic they want to achieve. Ultimately, the decision between animation and CGI should be based on a combination of artistic vision and financial considerations.


1. What is the cost of CGI compared to animation?

The cost of CGI can vary and it can be one of the most expensive forms of animation. It also requires a lot more work than hand-drawn 2D animation.

2. Is using CGI cheaper than hand-drawing?

Even though creating CGI shots might need more workload, in some cases, it may cost less to make than hand drawn animation due to its speed.

3. Why might businesses prefer to use CGI over traditional animation methods?

Because they are faster, quality CGI films have made them become the preferred choice for many advertisers and people in the gaming industry.

4. Are there differences between live-action movies with VFX and Animation?

Yes! While both require green screens and post-production work, live action needs real actors where as in Animation you create characters from scratch.

5. How does Pixar use CGI in their movies?

Pixar uses costly but high-quality cgi graphics for all their movies like “Toy Story”, which was one of their highest-grossing cgi films ever.

6. Do all types of animations take long time?

Not always! While traditional hand drawn takes quite an amount but certain type like 3D animations is much faster although could be heavy on pockets per second-to-second basis.

This article was written by Creative Island's founder Filipe Bastos. Beyond being the owner of the studio, Filipe has a background in philosophy and psychology, and loves reading and writing about anything related to human nature. He brings his unique perspective and insights to the work he does, including creating engaging and effective animated explainer videos for startups and small businesses.

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