Nowadays there two major ways to develop first-rate background for 2D games. One of them uses 2D technology as a fundamental method, the other one is based on 3D approach.

The 2D method is considered to be conventional and allows to make photos using digital painting and photo editing.

The 3D method, on the other hand, requires more time and efforts since it is based on the model of the future picture that was built in 3D program. The picture later will be overpainted by 2D artists and extended with more detail.

3D-Ace conducted its own research and introduces an exhaustive analysis of these two methods.

Graphical Capabilities


2d environment


3d game environment

We suppose that these two techniques cannot be compared in terms of graphical quality since there are entirely different. It would be wrong to suggest that one is better than another. Here, it is really up to designer or artists (or client) preferences.  

Amount of Work

Now let’s take a look at actions that artists should undertake to create a desirable background image. The 2D technique requires four following stages:

  •  creation of rough layout
  •  line art (black & white sketch)
  •  color design
  •  the final stage (drawing, adding more details, shadows & lightening)

The 3D method at the same time demands five phases:

Despite the fact that in 3D modeling artists have to take five steps to reach the goal, the amount of work they require is quite the same. However, according to authoritative studios 3D method is a bit cheaper than 2D one. Let’s take a look at why they can state this.

Resources & Cost

This passage is dedicated to resources that are needed for the creation of a background image.

2D technique:

2D artists

We guess we should not mention that it’s necessary to hire professional designers that you trust or are ready to do so. It can be your in-house team, independent studio or freelancers. The salary and management cost can vary depends on performer’s qualification level, skills, experience, reliability, etc.

Images, textures, backgrounds

Sometimes the studio or company you work for have no material (pictures, images) accumulated over the years, and then you have to spend a considerable amount of time to find, purchase and download an appropriate image. If your company has an extensive library, you will significantly cut up the development time.

3D technique:

3D artists and 2D designers

Here you actually have a couple of options. First, you can hire a trained professional with necessary experience who doesn’t require supervising. He or she will probably have an understanding of other related fields, such as animation, game or app development, etc., and for that reason is capable of creating a background image with right color palette and composition. These artists are expensive. Second, you can hire a newbie who has enough knowledge to create required model but necessitates a supervisor to instruct and check the work. They are completely affordable, however often unable to meet deadlines or perform an expected amount of work.

Models, textures, images

If you engage a beginner in working on your project, you definitely would not ask him or her to create a new 3D model. Alternatively, you will purchase and download necessary models or select the one available in your library. It can happen, of course, if you have 2D and 3D department and possess a stock of 3D models. Then this approach is very efficient and cheap. If you aren’t that lucky to have such support, then prepare the money because it will cost a pretty penny.

To conclude the points above mentioned we should state that in terms of money there is no definite answer since the expense depends on how you organize the workflow and congregate resources. Every approach can be affordable for one company, but expensive for another.

Pros & Cons

Now, let us summarize advantages and disadvantages of each method and structure it in your head.

Upsides of 2D:

  • traditional style that is pleasant to the eyes of a beholder
  • flexibility in terms of achievement a desirable style

Downsides of 2D:

  • many experienced and skilled artists required to be hired and it is a challenge to gather such high-ranked team.

Upsides of 3D:

  • precision in perspective that is extremely convenient for object animation
  • suitable for architecture and interior models

Downsides of 3D:

  • complex custom design takes a lot of time and effort that’s why developers often use 2D methods to extend the picture with complicated items
  • 3D software is expensive to create various landscapes, and here again, 2D technology is widely used to add details to the picture
  • difficult to stylize an image since it requires a great deal of 2D editing and painting. It is where you’re starting to think that it would be a good idea to begin drawing using 2D from the very beginning.


To conclude all above mentioned let’s say that drawing background images can be difficult although quite cheap in some cases. However, different projects require different approaches since they have dissimilar specifications.

The 3D-Ace company specializes in both 2D and 3D techniques and is ready to become your reliable partner in a world of game design.