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Finding the best laptop for animation

Watching the scenes and images in your imagination coming to life on your screen is a powerful motivator, so it’s easy to understand why such large numbers of people are drawn to animation. 

Becoming a skilled animator may well take time and effort. However, there are many careers, in many exciting industries, from film to TV to advertising and gaming, in which animation skills are highly sought after. These include graphic design, fine art, art direction, and web development to name a few. 

In this post, we’ll highlight the qualities the best laptops for animation have in common, and also indicate why specific hardware elements are more vital than others.  

 

Laptop for 2D versus laptop for 3D animation

As suggested by the name, objects have just two dimensions (height and width) in 2D animation. On the other hand, 3D animation actually imparts volume to objects as well, making the work significantly more complicated. Apart from their extra dimension, 3D objects will also reflect light at different angles and in different ways, and they will also cast shadows and move differently. 

Consequently, 3D animation requires much more power to handle the thousands of additional computations that are involved in compositing, rendering, modelling and match moving, for example.

One of the biggest differences in terms of laptop specs between 2D and 3D is the graphics card or VRAM. For 2D animation, the laptop’s graphics card is not all that much of an issue. However, in a laptop for 3D animation, depending on the kind of projects that you’re doing, you will require from 8GB to 16GB of VRAM. The more VRAM you have, the quicker your completed project will render too. 

The best starting point? Always check the system requirements of the particular animation software you’re using. This will provide you with the basic departure point, and will quickly rule out laptops that don’t pack the punch you need. 

 

What specs do you need for an animation laptop? 

Hire Intelligence highlights these standard recommendations for the best laptops for 3D animation:

Laptop for 2D animation and/or stop motion animation only:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 or equivalent 
  • 8GB RAM or more 
  • GPU: not essential, but nice to have

Laptop for 2.5D and 3D animation: 

  • CPU: Intel i7 for standard projects, i9 for top-end professional work, and ideally 10th generation
  • RAM: 16GB for most applications, but 32GB for really complex scenes
  • GPU: 8GB for low-end work, but 16GB for high-end projects. However, always remember to check the developer requirements of your software. Some programmes, like Maya, use GPU rendering, so you’ll be better served by having more GPU.  

 

Hire Intelligence’s best laptops for animation recommendations:

Below are our top picks as the best laptops for animation

 Apple option for 2D animation: Apple Touchbar MacBook Pro 15 Inch Notebook with Retina Display

Animators will love this model’s customisable colour touchbar display, with enough power for even the most demanding 2D animation projects:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 2.8GHz Quad Core
  • 16GB RAM
  • 2GB Radeon Pro 555 VRAM
  • 10 hour battery run time 

Windows laptop for 3D animation: Dell Alienware M17 17 Inch Notebook    

  • Features Nvidia’s RTX 2080 8GB VRAM graphics adapter, suitable for even the most demanding 3D animation projects
  • CPU: Intel Core i9-9980HK 2.9GHz Octa-Core
  • 16GB RAM 
  • Full HD 17.3″ display 

 

FAQ:

These are some of the most common questions customers ask us about sourcing the best laptops for animation

What is a good, inexpensive laptop for animation?

If you’re a beginner animator who’ll be working mainly in 2D, Hire Intelligence would suggest the HP ProBook 450 G7 Laptop

With its quad-core Intel i5 processor, this laptop will give you outstanding performance for its cost. 

  • 8GB RAM, upgradeable to max of 32GB 
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U 1.6GHz Quad Core
  • Graphics: Intel UHD 630 with shared VRAM
  • 256GB SSD storage 

Can I do animation with any laptop?

Basically, yes – you can animate with any laptop provided it meets the minimum required specs of the animation software you intend to use. Several free animation tools will perform perfectly well on a low-end PC or laptop. Remember, however, that rendering will take quite a bit longer. 

If you want to employ professional animation software in your work, you will need a suitable laptop for 3d animation that has significantly higher specs. 

What computers are used by Pixar? 

Pixar, the producers of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Ratatouille, consistently use Apple MacBooks and iMacs to create their animated movies. DreamWorks and Disney, however, tend to use HP Workstations.

Which graphics cards are good for animation?

Excellent GPUs for animation laptops include the NVIDIA RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080.

Which programmes offer the best free animation software?

Using some of the free software available can be a wonderful way to learn your craft as an animator before you invest in professional level animation software and the best laptop for animation.  

  • On Mac, Pencil2D is the easiest software for complete beginners to learn on, followed by Tupi, Synfig Studio and Blender.
  • On Windows, OpenToonz, Terragen, Anim8or, Seamless3d and Stykz are all good options as well. Seamless3d and Stykz are the easiest ones to learn. 

 

Do you need the best laptop for animation and visual effects at an unbeatable price? Rent a laptop from Hire Intelligence!

As a professional, you know you have to consistently deliver outstanding results. However, always getting hold of the latest technologically advanced equipment in order to do so can become extremely expensive. Newer, faster, and more powerful models come onto the market all the time, and they do NOT sell for chump change!

However, thanks to our ever-growing range of the best laptops for animation and our flexible and reasonably priced contracts, you can have the best of both worlds – the very latest technology, at an affordable monthly rate. And you’ll have the benefit of our expert technical support and years of experience too. 

Why not get in touch to find out more, or for personalised advice on choosing the best animation laptop for your specific requirements. 


 

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