If you’re looking for the best laptops for animation, we’ve got you covered.
All animators want to be able to navigate through any scene with buttery-smooth framerates in the viewport while also rendering scenes as quickly as possible.
But, let’s be honest, there isn’t a single best laptop for animation. What works best for you will be determined by the size of your models and the nature of the projects you’re working on.
If your scenes include high-resolution texture details, a large number of particles plus 100 lights and shadows, or simply an insane amount of polys and rigs, you’ll need to look at the most expensive and maxed-out laptops available.
- What do you need in good animation laptops?
- Looking for the best laptops for Animation?
- 5 Best Laptops For Animation 2022
- Honorable Mentions: Best Laptops For Animation
- What is the difference between 3D Animation & 2D Animation?
- Which is the Best 2D Animation Software?
- Which is the best 3D Animation Software?
- FAQ On Best Laptops For Animation
- Conclusion: Best Laptops For Animation 2022
What do you need in good animation laptops?
Animation can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding creative processes, and once you get into it, you can literally see whole new worlds open up in front of you.
More than any other art form, animation allows the elements of storytelling, visual art, movement, music, and sound to coexist.
Computer animation can also be a difficult digital endeavor, and this is almost always due to using a laptop that is incapable of handling the intensive data processing required by animation.
You simply need a computer with enough RAM, as well as a CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit = graphics card) that are fast and powerful enough to animate, view, and render your work.
Now, 2D animation obviously requires less power, but 3D animation will undoubtedly necessitate the most up-to-date, fastest processors, as well as plenty of systems and video memory.
To avoid any misunderstanding, when I say 2D & 3D Animation, I mean the following:
3D Animation: Any 3D application, such as Maya, Blender, or 3DS Max, can be used to create visual effects (including 3D games).
2D Animation: Software that does not make use of the viewport. Pencil 2D and Adobe After Effects in 2D are two examples. Stop motion software is also available.
2D Animation: Any modern Intel Core i5 CPU or Ryzen 5 CPU (Intel 8th gen /Ryzen 3rd gen onwards).
3D Animation: An Intel Core i7/Core i9-XXXXXH processor. 6-8 cores are preferable, but quad-cores are acceptable as well. For AMD, any of the most recent Ryzen CPUs with an “H” suffix. AMD Ryzen 7/9 XXXXH, for example.
If you only need speed in certain situations:
- When editing and animating, choose the fastest clock speed you can afford (measured in Hz).
- Viewport: Pay attention to the clock speed as well.
- Rendering: Use as many cores as you can.
2D Animation: Any GPU. Integrated cards like the Intel HD/AMD Vega X series are fine.
3D Animation: Let me just say that I’m sick of hearing people refer to NVIDIA GTX/RTX cards as “gaming cards.” These GTX/RTX GPUs (for example, 1660Ti GTX or 2060RTX) are roughly equivalent (in most cases, better) than “workstation GPUs.”
In terms of animation, the card with the most CUDA cores and “vRAM” wins.
If you hear people talking about “workstation cards” or “Quadros,” you’re hearing an out-of-date viewpoint. Today’s high-end 10th generation GTX Cards (1070GTX/1080GTX) and recent RTX series are far superior to these “FirePro/Quadro” cards, particularly for GPU rendering.
8 GB RAM: For students who are just getting started with animation. When larger projects, such as maps, enter your portfolio, simply upgrade to 16 GB RAM.
16 to 32 GB: Larger models require at least 16 GB. 32 GB is sufficient for almost any model size with numerous details. 64 GB of storage space may not be necessary.
Rendering: Heavily reliant on RAM. However, 32 GB may be the upper limit.
Everyone should have a solid-state drive. PCIe NVMe is the best option, but SATA III SSDs are also acceptable.
Avoid HDDs in favor of SSDs; you’ll end up spending less time on a project because loading applications/reading/writing files will be done in fractions of a second, and fractions of a second can add up to hours!
- A 256 GB SSD is sufficient for students or small animation models.
- Pros: 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD or full-fledged SSD discs with at least 512GB – 1TB B.
Resolution: For animation, 1080p is sufficient. Avoid 4k displays because they are expensive and can cause issues with some software.
Size: Obviously, the larger the frame, the more details you’ll see. Unless you require portability, avoid 13-inch laptops.
Looking for the best laptops for Animation?
If you are a digital creator or artist looking for the best laptop for animation, you’ve come to the right place.
This page contains our top recommendations for laptops that are ideal for animating, whether you’re using traditional hand-drawn art, computer-generated 3D images, or a combination of the two.
The laptops on this page are all capable of handling animation and can run popular 2D and 3D animation apps like After Effects, Maya, Blender, and others.
The best animation laptops will have new multi-core processors, high RAM, as well as dedicated graphics cards, which is the most important component if you want to create complex and high-end 3D animations.
If you go to other websites, you’ll be thrown a bunch of overpriced huge laptops with monstrous specs that weigh a ton without being told why you need them or what they’ll do for you.
I’ve come across websites that recommend everything from integrated GPUs for 3D animation software to overpriced and outdated workstation laptops for beginners. But I know what most people are looking for.
5 Best Laptops For Animation 2022
The laptops on this list may be exactly what you’re looking for. They will be not only powerful, but also thin and light enough to carry around with you, and will have excellent screens and speakers for previewing your work.
The list also includes 2-in-1 convertible laptops that can function as digital canvases, allowing you to draw on their touchscreens with a stylus.
Check out our guide to the best laptop for graphic design as well.
- Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
- Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)
- Acer Spin 5 (2020)
- Microsoft Surface Book 3
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Gigabyte Aero 17
Acer Spin 5
Microsoft Surface Book 3
Let’s have a close look:
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
- 15.6″ OLED 4K Touch 60Hz
- Intel Core i7-10875H
- 1TB SSD
- 32GB DDR4
If you’re a professional animator in need of serious power, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020) is the laptop you would need. This laptop is a beast, packed with cutting-edge Intel and Nvidia components that will help you speed up your workflow.
This is a professional-grade version of the Razer Blade 15 (a gaming laptop). This implies that it includes Nvidia’s studio drivers. These are specifically designed to work with creative apps like Maya, allowing the laptop to perform even better when animating on it.
The screen is also stunning, with a 4K touchscreen panel that supports the full DCI-P3 color gamut.
- Extremely powerful
- Amazing screen
- Not everyone requires this much power
It is, however, a very expensive laptop, and for many animators, it provides a level of performance that they may not require. In that case, there are more affordable and appropriate options listed below. But if you want the best, this is the machine you are looking for.
Apple released a new MacBook Pro 13-inch model with a significant hardware upgrade last year, and it is unquestionably one of the best laptops for animation.
It now includes Apple’s own M1 chip (rather than an Intel processor), allowing the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) to deliver seriously impressive performance while remaining thin and (relatively) light.
It can handle your creative animation workflow with ease, thanks to the Apple M1 chip, and it does so virtually silently. It also has the longest battery life of any MacBook.
- Huge battery life
- Great performance
- Lack of ports.
We put this machine through its paces and found it to be quite impressive, allowing you to work all day and still have plenty of battery life left. This makes it an excellent choice for animators who frequently travel.
The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is one of the most powerful laptops available today, making it an excellent choice for animators.
Not only does it include some of the most cutting-edge mobile technology available today, but it also includes an absolutely stunning display and a plethora of ports.
That 17.3-inch display has a 4K resolution, so your work will look fantastic, and with up to a Core i9 processor and 64GB of RAM, this is an extremely powerful mobile workstation.
- Outstanding performance
- Gorgeous display
- Abundance of ports
- Slight heating issues
- Average battery life
There are trade-offs, such as the high price and poor battery life, but if you have the money and need the power, this is an excellent purchase.
Acer Spin 5
- 10th-gen Intel Core i5
- 13.5″ touchscreen display
- 512GB SSD
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
The Acer Spin 5 is a great option if you need a versatile laptop to do some animation on. It’s affordable, especially when compared to many of the other laptops on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features or performance.
To begin with, this laptop can run almost any animation app, however, it will struggle with handling high-end 3D animations since it lacks a dedicated graphics card.
Though the biggest plus side of this laptop is its 12-hour battery life, which can comfortably allow you to push through an entire workday.
The laptop is also a 2-in-1 convertible device, which means that it can function as both a traditional laptop and a tablet-like device. Because you can draw on the touchscreen with a stylus, this can be a huge productivity boost.
The screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio as well, which makes drawing and working more comfortable because the screen is taller.
- Amazing battery life
- Stylus is included
- 3:2 display is not ideal for creating/editing 16:9 video
Unlike most other laptops, the Acer Spin 5 includes a stylus, making it an even better value. It’s not cheap, but it’s a full-featured stylus that can really help you with your art and animation.
Also, Read This:
Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
- 10th Gen Intel Core i5
- 15-inch PixelSense Display
- 1TB Storage
The Surface Book 3 is indeed one of the most stylish and well-made laptops for animators.
It has one of the best displays available on a portable, which means your animations will look stunning, and it’s also a touchscreen, which works brilliantly with the Surface Pen stylus – which is sold separately.
It’s not just a pretty face. It has some incredibly powerful specs, and you can even configure it to include a discrete GPU, allowing it to handle 3D animations.
- Beautiful design
- Gorgeous screen
- Too expensive
- Not the most powerful system
It runs Windows 10, so you have access to the most popular animation suites on the market, and it’s small and light enough to carry around with you.
Honorable Mentions: Best Laptops For Animation
We have some of more best laptops for animation, you can look for:
Another great laptop for animation is the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020).
This laptop is powered by Apple’s latest M1 chip, which, just like in the top-end MacBook Pro, is more than capable of running any animation apps you need.
Most importantly, it’s small and light enough to carry around, with a battery life that outlasts many of its competitors.
The laptop boasts of an amazing Retina display that makes a fantastic experience to work on, and it performs very similarly to the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch.
The device does not have a fan design, thus allowing it to be thin as well as lightweight, while also being almost silent when in use. This means that it will not perform as well as the MacBook Pro under heavy load (which does have fans).
This is a fantastic laptop, but for the majority of people choosing this laptop, this might not be a major issue. Plus, the lower price tag will make it a much more appealing purchase for animators.
The Acer ConceptD 7 is a powerful and creative laptop that is ideal for animating. It has cutting-edge Nvidia RTX graphics, making it an excellent choice for animating complex 3D scenes.
The Pantone-validated 4K IPS screen is also by far the best we’ve seen in a laptop, ensuring that your animations look their best while you work on them.
And all of that power will allow you to complete your work quickly and easily, allowing you to move on to new projects with ease.
Even though quite promising, the laptop is expensive, and it’s not the thinnest or lightest on this list, but it’s well worth investing in if you’re looking for a true workhorse to animate on
The Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga is a solid and reasonably priced convertible that is ideal for animation.
It has excellent internals, including an 11th-generation Intel Core processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics, which will easily handle animation apps.
The best part is that its 2-in-1 design allows you to work on its touchscreen, and the included stylus makes sketching a breeze.
It’s also reasonably priced when compared to some of the more expensive laptops on this list. While the battery life isn’t the longest, at around 9 hours, it’s still quite impressive and should get you through a workday before you need to charge it.
What is the difference between 3D Animation & 2D Animation?
As the name implies, 2D animation animates flat characters and objects with only height and width dimensions, with no ability to see “around” them.
3D animation employs all three dimensions, which means that objects and characters have height, width, and depth.
You can see them from various angles as they move and interact, and the overall scene will be more realistic and sophisticated – at least, hopefully, depending on the animator.
While 3D digital animation is far more sophisticated and has far-reaching applications not only in entertainment and art, but also in science, engineering, medicine, manufacturing and modeling, education, and many other fields.
2D animation is still widely used in a variety of contexts – films, advertisements, videos, games, education, and so on.
Which is the Best 2D Animation Software?
Even though 2D animation requires less power, with software and processes requiring less memory, processor power, and speed, older laptops (or even the newest models).
If they lack enough RAM, have slow processors, or have inadequate graphics processors will definitely cause the 2D animator some headaches, even with relatively simple work and lighter software programs.
The most popular software for 2D animation are:
- Synfig Studio
- CrazyTalk Cartoon Animator
- Blender 2D
- Toon Boom Harmony
- Adobe Animate
- Adobe After Effects
- Moho Pro
- CelAction 2D
Which is the best 3D Animation Software?
3D animation requires a lot of memory, processing cores, and speed, and the best laptop for animation is fairly expensive – but if you’re doing 3D, you need the fastest and most powerful, so animators are always glad to pay more – or at least willing to pay more, if not always “glad” about it.
The most popular software for 3D animation are:
- Autodesk Maya
- Autodesk 3ds Max
- Seamless 3D
- Cinema 4D
- 3D Movie Maker
- Art of Illusion
FAQ On Best Laptops For Animation
What Laptops do Animators use?
To animate on a laptop, you don’t really need an exotic type of laptop or any special features. There are some features that will make your work more efficient and faster, but any Laptop that meets the minimum requirements for the Animation Software you intend to use can be used to animate on.
Is 8 GB of RAM sufficient for Animation?
As previously stated in this article, 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for animating simple scenes. You’ll be much happier with 16 GB (or even 32 GB), especially if your Scenes contain a lot of geometry or if you want to use other software concurrently
Can I use Gaming Laptops for Animation?
Without a doubt! Because the Gaming Target Group is much larger than the Animation or Content Creation Target Group, many laptop manufacturers market their products to gamers. This does not imply that you can only play games on a Gaming Laptop.
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Conclusion: Best Laptops For Animation 2022
In this article, I talked about the best laptops for animations.
I talked about how to get the right laptop for animation and what to expect based on the drawing and 2d/3d animation software you’ll be using. The MacBook Pro 13-inch is unquestionably one of the best laptops for animation.
As a student of animation who uses a laptop instead of a PC, an external monitor is a bonus and suggested but not necessarily required.
Because rendering is so vital when buying a laptop, having the bare minimum of 16GB of RAM, a powerful processor, and an up-to-date graphics card is preferable.