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The Differences Between 2D and 3D You Should Know

Filed in Education by on December 3, 2020

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The Differences Between 2D and 3D You Should Know.

Difference Between 2D and 3D: The terms 2D and 3D are most commonly used in reference to photography and other graphic image technology, such as animation and computer graphics.

2D graphics, as the name implies, are graphics that only deal with two-dimensional space while 3D images add the perception of depth.

The term “three-dimensional” also is sometimes used to describe a physical item such as a sculpture or mobile, which could be described as three-dimensional art, in comparison with a two-dimensional painting.


The Objects which are drawn on two dimensions namely X and Y are called 2D shapes. While drawing shapes when the third dimension or direction enters namely Z direction and the shape which is projected towards Z direction is called 3D shapes.


2D and 3D

2D refers to the term “two-dimensional.” A 2D image has only height and width.

3D refers to the term “three-dimensional.” A 3D object has 3 dimensions which include length, breadth and height.

Aspects of 2D and 3D

A 2D shape is a figure that has only length and height as its dimensions. Because 2D shapes lie on a flat surface, they are also known as plane figures or plane shapes. While they have areas, 2D shapes have no volume.

2D images are flat images that we normally see on our smartphones or draw on paper. They can be represented on a plain sheet of paper or on our plane smartphone screen. Apart from length and height, a 3D shape also has width or depth as its third dimension.

Three-dimensional imagery cannot be created without duplicating the effect of two eyes working in tandem, which allows three-dimensional perceptive effects such as depth perception. Early 3D technology imitated this process with dual-camera or dual-lens setups.

Mathematical Definition

In mathematics and physics, a 2D figure is plotted on two axes, namely the x- and y-axes.

Whereas, a 3D figure is plotted on three axes, namely the x-, y-, and z-axes.


Circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and pentagon are some of the most common examples of 2D shapes.

Cylinder, pyramid, cube, and prism are some of the most common examples of 3D shapes.

Distinctions Two Dimension and Three Dimension.

1. In 2D shapes, only 2 dimensions are there that are X and Y. While 3D shapes have three dimensions:  X, Y, and Z.

2. 2D is used to construct a square, circle, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, etcetera.      

3. 2D involves length and breadth, while 3D comprises length, breadth, and height.

4. 3D is used to achieve isometric and orthogonal shapes.

5. There is relatively more ease in constructing 2D than 3D.

6. Generally, 2D images are completely visible in the drawings while 3D shapes are not visible or hidden due to overlapping.

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