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3D Animation: How Big Are The Files and How To Send Them?

In this article, we’ll explore the world of 3D animation and tell you the best way to send large 3D files over the internet.

Research shows that most users prefer visual content over written material. No wonder the use of 3D animation has become popular in digital marketing and advertising.

Since 3D animation is more visually appealing, companies have embraced this relatively new technology to help market their products and services. For 3D animators, the top challenge is sending these files to their clients, supervisors, or team for review.

In this article, we explore the world of 3D animation and tell you the best way to send large 3D files over the internet.

Understanding 3D Animation

So what is 3D animation?

Simply put, 3D animation is a technique that implements motion to bring images, objects, and props to life. 3D animators generate these characters or objects using specific software that gives them an illusion of movement and life.

3D animation is prevalent in the entertainment industry and has been used to create animated movies like Coco, Moana, and Frozen. 

Computer animation is a complex process that comprises three major steps:

  • Modeling. This is the stage where objects or characters are generated. The 3D animator can use a modeling tool to create a unique character or object, or they can scan real objects into a computer. Once the objects are created, the animator must add textures to give the model some personality.
  • Layout and animation. Here, the model is given life and positioned in a certain digital environment, depending on what the designer is marketing or intends for users to see.
  • Rendering. This is the final stage where specific software is used to add visual preference and make the presentation more realistic.

2D Vs. 3D Animation: Main Differences

2D animation is the art of creating an illusion of movement within a two-dimensional space. The animators put individual drawings, mostly sketches, together in sequence, to showcase movement.

Apart from the obvious fact that 3D animation results in more realistic characters than 2D animation, there are other differences, as well. 

  • In 2D animation, characters and objects only consist of height and width, while in 3D animation, characters comprise three dimensions, height, width, and depth.
  • In 2D animation, all characters are hand-drawn, frame by frame. In 3D animation, animators use 3D animation software to animate characters and objects in a 3D environment.
  • 2D animation is mostly used in cartoons, product demos, advertisements, and brand videos, such as infotainment or educational videos. 3D animation, on the other hand, is utilized in the video game industry, movies, and cartoons.
  • 2D animation is generally cheaper than 3D animation, although the cost will vary from project to project. 

Choosing between 2D and 3D animation will come down to personal preferences and what you find most enjoyable. Other factors like budget and target audience will also influence your choice.

3D Animation File Formats

When creating 3D animations, you can use various file formats to store the information about the 3D model you’ve created. The most common 3D file formats include:

STL (.stl)

Invented in 1987, Standard Triangle Language (STL) remains the most common type of 3D file format today. Designers like its flexibility since it makes it easier to interchange data between CAD and CAM systems.

It is ideal if you want to download lots of ready-to-use models.

OBJ (.obj)

The Wavefront Object file format can encode color and texture information. Developers use it for exchanging information in CAD and 3D printing applications. This file format can support unlimited colors, as well as approximated and precise encoding of surface geometry.

OBJ file format is mostly used in aerospace and automotive industries which require precision. It also comes in handy when the 3D project requires more than one color.

FBX (.fbx)

An FBX or Filmbox file format is used to store files rich in complex geometry, textural shades, and meshes. This file format facilitates ease of transfer for 3D animators and can be used to store game-related elements and movie components.

They are mostly used in gaming and movies.

3DS (.3ds)

3DS file format is compatible with all 3D platforms and is easier to export to any 3D software. It's one of the less complicated file formats and allows the storage of attributes like color, textural properties, and material.

It's applied in industries like architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and academics.

Other 3D animation file formats used today include:

  • STEP
  • PLY
  • IGES
  • GLB
  • VRML/X3D
  • AMF
  • 3MF

Issues 3D Animators Face When Sending 3D Animation Files

Usually, a 3D animator will send raw footage since it has the best quality and allows for editing. The problem is, it's difficult to transfer, given that the files are usually too big.

Just one minute of footage can take up several gigabytes. On average, a one-minute 3D animation file in 1080p can be around 55GB, which is too large to be transferred with ease. Now, imagine transferring several 55GB files online. You will need plenty of time to transfer the files, plus a reliable platform that can handle the task.

That’s why most designers prefer to convert raw 3D animation footage to compressed files. File compression reduces the size of the data, saving a significant amount of space in your storage drives.

There are two types of file compression:

  • Lossy compression, used in multimedia files for music and images, and
  • Lossless compression, which is used in formats like ZIP, FLAC for audio, and PNG for images.

The main difference between lossy and lossless compression is that the latter maintains the quality of the original data. That is, the compressed file will be restored backed to its original state with little to no loss of data when uncompressed.

Disadvantages of File Compression

The compression process reduces the file size by removing data that's repeated or empty. However, even with lossless compression, there are several drawbacks:

Memory Issues

It's common to come across “Out of Memory” or “Low Resources” errors when uncompressing files. This is because the process is system-intensive and takes up valuable resources, which might force your computer to pause other programs and allocate any free memory to the task.

File Size

Usually, when you compress files, you expect them to become smaller. In some cases, however, file compression won't make the files smaller, especially with video and audio files. Instead, the process results in a compressed file that’s larger than the original.


The thing with compressed files is that they have to be uncompressed. Since file compression is a complex process, it can be time-consuming. This can be a disadvantage if you’re trying to access the files quickly.

Additionally, running multiple applications during the process makes the task take even longer.

Opening the File

If you transfer the compressed 3D animation file over the internet or a computer network, the recipient can't access the files without a special program to uncompress them.

So, on top of the time it takes to compress the file, you must account for additional time to uncompress.

Higher Risks

If you add encrypted files into an already formatted zip folder, chances are they will become unencrypted when they are unpacked. This could end up disclosing sensitive information.

How to Send Large Files Over the Internet

You don’t have to go through all the trouble of compressing your 3D animation files first before transferring them online. An efficient program like FileWhopper gives you the benefit of sending files of any size without the need to compress them.

It doesn’t matter how big the 3D animation files are, this program can handle file sizes of up to 10TB. It’s the only service that lets you conveniently transfer files bigger than any limits. 

What's more, with FileWhopper, you can have peace of mind knowing that your files are safe and secure. The platform uses zero-knowledge encryption to protect your files, which means no one, including FileWhopper staff, can access your files.

Plus, it’s a one-time payment service. You don’t have to commit with subscriptions or monthly payments. You pay depending on the file size you want to send. The site offers a free instant price calculator to help you find out how much it will cost to transfer your files.

Additionally, your files get automatically deleted once the download is complete. There will be no trace of your data on the server.

Apart from limitless file size, other benefits of using FileWhopper over other services include:

  • Simple and clean interface
  • The ability to send any file formats, including 3D file formats like DAE, FBX, and STL
  • Support for simultaneous uploads and downloads
  • One of the cheapest file sending options

You can use FileWhopper in three easy steps:

  1. Visit and get an immediate quote for the file or folder size you wish to transfer.
  2. Upload your files or folder using the small FileWhopper desktop app, which ensures top transfer speed and the security of your data. The app auto-deletes once the process is complete.
  3. Share the download link with your recipient so they can start downloading right away.

If you're a 3D animator and are wondering how to send large files quickly and safely, try FileWhopper today. The first 5GB is offered for free.

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  • Rick Castle

    I find this blog very informative, keep up the good work.

  • Design

    I found this blog very informative, keep up the good work. Thanks for the opportunity.