Using an app that reacts with every tap and swipe is proof of how great the design behind it is. This is why app developers make it a point to create apps that are not only attractive but are also both practical and pleasant to use. And while it may seem that only seasoned designers can do it, there are many ways to improve a UX/UI design even if you are just starting. One of these is to add simple but unique Lottie animations.
Small animations may seem nothing at first glance but having them can create a huge difference in the whole interface. The Lottie framework is a good place to start if you want to explore the fun world of animation.
Lottie animation is quite easier than you think. In this post, you will have a brief preview of how Lottie animations are created, the pros and cons of using Lottie, and where you can specifically use it as part of your design.
What is Lottie Animation?
Years before, app developers find it quite challenging to create interactive interfaces, animations, and even screen transitions. The process requires doing everything in code. It is time-consuming and a bit expensive because you will need to pay for an expert developer to do it. This posed a problem for businesses and designers who has to hire a developer to bring their designs to life. A stunning and interactive user interface may not be possible if the project has a limited budget and time. With such a challenge at hand, you cannot imagine the relief of many developers and designers when Airbnb announced Lottie.
Lottie is an animation tool that converts animations into JSON file format. This would allow anyone to easily create animations in apps. Simply exporting high-quality animations makes the process smoother and manageable even without downloading heavy and complicated animation files.
Lottie does not only make it easier to create animations but one other reason that it is a well-loved tool is that it can be applied on multiple platforms. It means that you can improve your apps whether you are developing for iOS, Android, and React Native.
Because it is light and flexible, Lottie became a popular tool to create animations and improve the interactive efficiency of many applications. It is such a versatile tool to design attractive animations while providing the end-users with outstanding front-end features.
Pros and Cons of Using Lottie Animations
As one of the best app tools to make animations, you might be tempted to rush your way into learning and using Lottie. We would like to make it clear that although it is indeed an awesome tool and introduces new possibilities, it does have its limitations too. Here are its pros and cons to see if it can benefit you:
· Lottie ensures a smooth workflow. Transforming the designer’s idea into a reality will not be complicated as Lottie animations are accurately converted into code.
· The JSON file stores the animation values, like position, graphic, and timing so there is no need to have a separate program for viewing the source file.
· Rich animations with complex interactions are achieved but with minimal effort and time since you don’t have to code every line.
· Lottie has shortcomings that are related to using After Effects.
· You cannot create transitions between screens and can work only with animations that are on the screen.
· Advanced light effects and designer tricks cannot be created using Lottie.
What makes Lottie great is that it can give you infinite ways to make your designs unique and improve the UX. When used with After Effects, you can create animations that are exactly the way you envisioned them. The Lottie library is also lightweight so it loads quickly on both websites and apps. The animations you create can be played on a variety of operating systems, even on devices that are slow-performing or have very limited resources.
The most important thing to notice about how Lottie is efficient is that the whole animation design and development process became easier. This results in having all your focus on designing the animation itself and not on the tool or a complex process that it is done with.
What You Can Do with Lottie
Taking into consideration its limitations, you might be wondering if it is worth trying Lottie when crafting animations. To be honest, all animation tools have limitations and restrictions that you need to work around with if you choose to use them for your projects. Lottie too has its shortcomings but what stands out is that it provides more opportunities compared to other software solutions.
Only After Effects works with Lottie but it has a lot of plugins that are great to pair it with. Not having the option to use other third-party solutions might make you feel restricted when using Lottie but take note that it does have a hefty number of capabilities. It would make you excited to learn that Lottie can support the following functions:
1. Keyframe interpolation
4. Track mattes
6. Shape Layers
9. Trim paths
12. Polystar and polygon
13. Layer features
As you can see, it does not matter if Lottie is limited in some ways. Being able to work only with After Effects is an advantage since it is such a fine tool that even professional designers and developers use. By adding Lottie as a solution, using After Effects in creating outstanding animations will be simple and less time-consuming.
How to Use Lottie in Design
Implementing Lottie is easier now than ever especially since there are many resources about Lottie animations. It can be exciting to learn that you can use it in many ways, especially with enhancing learning experiences. Here’s how you can get the most out of Lottie animations in your future projects:
1. Backing a Point
Lottie animations are great to support facts. It is a powerful way to captivate users during scenario-based learning.
2. Adding Delightful Elements
Avoid boring users with a bland interface. Add depth and a bit of fun using Lottie animations to break the humdrum. Tiny animations, like confetti falling in celebration of milestones, can add a moment of delight which makes the browsing experience memorable.
3. Direct Attention to User Interface Elements
Lottie animations are effective at highlighting important user interface elements in a website.
Basic Lottie Animation Steps
It is great to know that Lottie animations work on any platform, whether on the web or mobile. But before you can start integrating them into apps and web pages, you must first learn how to create them.
Step 1: Design Process
Finalize and prepare the design. Check different poses and decide which parts are to be animated. If you are using textures in the design, take note that it is better to have vector textures that will keep the file small. Masks are also discouraged as they may appear as bugs in some browsers.
Step 2: Animation Process
The next step heavily involves animating the design. Use After Effects to animate the main properties of the layers. Keep it simple and check whether Lottie supports the AE features that you need for your animation. You can try using simple effects like position, scale, opacity, and rotation. If you are creating animation for a mobile device, try to keep the frame rate at 60 frames per second to ensure that it will play smoothly.
Take note that Lottie is only effective if you are working with a good design. It is therefore important to master all the features of After Effects, not only to speed up the animation process but to make sure that you get all the animation elements right.
Step 3: Export Animations
When you are finished with your animation, the next thing to do is to export it using either the Bodymovin plugin or the Lottie files plugin.
If you are using the Bodymovin plugin:
· Find the composition to render.
· Adjust the settings.
Make sure to check “Glyphs” if there are text parts in the animation and “Include assets in JSON” if you have .png/.jpeg files.
· Click render and preview the animation.
The steps are very similar if you are going to use the Lottie file plugin in exporting the animation file. The most significant difference is that it has more features, like a full preview, uploading the animations directly to the Lottie website, and access to a library of free Lottie animations. The Lottie files plugin can automatically figure out the best way to render the animation. You do not need to change anything on the render settings which makes it smarter to use than Bodymovin.
Step 4: Testing the Animation
There are several options to view your animation on a device or emulator. If you exported using the Bodymovin plugin, you need to download the Lottie Preview mobile app first to preview your animation. A QR code will be generated which will only be available to you. You can then drag and drop the animation file that is now in JSON format into LottieFiles.com. Scan the QR code and a preview of how your animation looks like when it is added to an app will be shown on the screen.
You can also use built-in browser tools to test your animation on the web. Check how fast it loads and see the playback parameters. Download an emulator for iOS or Android if you want to test the animation on devices.
How to Implement Lottie Animations in a Web Page
At this point, we know that you are so excited to add Lottie animations to your designs. Let’s go through all the steps and take a look at how easy it is to do in this brief overview:
1. Prepare the Animation File
To implement Lottie, you need to have the animation file that is saved in a JSON format. Although you can create your animations using After Effects, you may also purchase or download for free from various LottieFiles resources.
2. Test the Animation
Check if the animation works properly before implementing it as a web animation. You can use the Preview Lottie tool to see if the Lottie animations are working correctly.
3. Implement Scripts
Add implementing scripts that are necessary to convert JSON files into SVG animation. Check this site if you want to see how to load a basic on an HTML page. ‘
4. Load Animation in HTML DOM
Once the JSON file and scripts are ready, add the path to the JSON animation file and initialize it in HTML code. You should see the animation on the page once this step is done.
5. Animation Adjustments
If you are not satisfied with how the animation behaves on the page, you can make adjustments to the Speed, Loop, Autoplay, and Background color.
Because using Lottie makes animation a lot simpler, it will afford you more time to be creative during the design process. It is also easier to tweak animations if there is a need to fix or correct anything in the animation design. The Lottie library is adaptive so you can change most of the animation elements’ parameters. This ensures that your animation will look good and will work just as you have imagined it in your design.
Last but not the least, Lottie animations can work with popular apps and tools, such as Wordpress, Shopify, Webflow, and Wix. It is also compatible with both iOS and Android apps. This means that the possibilities of using it are endless.
Using the Lottie framework is indeed advantageous. It provides a good opportunity for anyone to design and develop an app or a website that is brimming with character and style. By using Lottie animations, your design will stand out, not only because it looks stunning but for the reason that it helps it improve the user experience.