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How To Create Superior Animations With CSS — Smashing Journal

We surf the online each day, and as builders, we have a tendency to note delicate particulars on a web site. The one factor I be aware of on a regular basis is how easy the animations on a web site are. Animation is nice for UX and design functions. You can also make an interactive web site that pleases the customer and makes them keep in mind your web site.

Creating superior animations feels like a tough matter, however the excellent news is, in CSS, you possibly can stack a number of easy animations after one another to create a extra advanced one!

On this weblog submit, you’ll study the next:

  • What cubic beziers are and the way they can be utilized to create a “advanced” animation in only one line of CSS;
  • Learn how to stack animations after one another to create a complicated animation;
  • Learn how to create a rollercoaster animation by making use of the 2 factors you discovered above.

Word: This text assumes that you’ve got primary information of CSS animations. For those who don’t, please try this hyperlink earlier than continuing with this text.

Cubic Beziers: What Are They?

The cubic-bezier perform in CSS is an easing perform that offers you full management of how your animation behaves with respect to time. Right here is the official definition:

A cubic Bézier easing perform is a kind of easing perform outlined by 4 actual numbers that specify the 2 management factors, P1 and P2, of a cubic Bézier curve whose finish factors P0 and P3 are mounted at (0, 0) and (1, 1) respectively. The x coordinates of P1 and P2 are restricted to the vary [0, 1].

Word: If you wish to study extra about easing capabilities, you possibly can try this text. It goes behind the scenes of how linear, cubic-bezier, and staircase capabilities work!

The cubic-bezier function
(Giant preview)

However What Is An Easing Operate?

Let’s Begin With A Linear Curve

Think about two factors P0 and P1, the place P0 is the start line of the animation and P1 is the ending level. Now think about one other level transferring linearly between the 2 factors as follows:

Animation of a linear Bezier curve
Supply: Wikipedia

That is referred to as a linear curve! It’s the easiest animation on the market, and also you most likely used it earlier than if you began studying CSS.

Subsequent Up: The Quadratic Bezier Curve

Think about you will have three factors: P0, P1 and P2. You need the animation to maneuver from P0 to P2. On this case, P1 is a management level that controls the curve of the animation.

Construction of a quadratic Bézier curve
Supply: Wikipedia (Giant preview)

The concept of the quadratic bezier is as follows:

  1. Join imaginary traces between P0 and P1 and between P1 and P2 (represented by the grey traces).
  2. Level Q0 strikes alongside the road between P0 and P1. On the similar time, Level Q1 strikes alongside the road between P1 and P2.
  3. Join an imaginary line between Q0 and Q1 (represented by the inexperienced line).
  4. On the similar time Q0 and Q1 begin transferring, the purpose B begins transferring alongside the inexperienced line. The trail that time B takes is the animation path.
Animation of a quadratic Bézier curve, t in [0,1]
Supply: Wikipedia

Word that Q1, Q2 and B don’t transfer with the identical velocity. They need to all begin on the similar time and end their path similtaneously properly. So every level strikes with the suitable velocity based mostly on the road size it strikes alongside.

Lastly: The Cubic Bezier Curve

The cubic bezier curve consists of 4 factors: P0, P1, P2 and P3. The animation begins at P0 and ends at P3. P1 and P2 are our management factors.

Construction of a cubic Bézier curve
Supply: Wikipedia (Giant preview)

The cubic bezier works as follows:

  1. Join imaginary traces between (P0, P1), (P1, P2) and (P2, P3). That is represented by the grey traces.
  2. Factors Q0, Q1 and Q2 transfer alongside the traces (P0, P1), (P1, P2) and (P2, P3) respectively.
  3. Join imaginary traces between (Q0, Q1) and (Q1, Q2). They’re represented by the inexperienced traces.
  4. Factors R0 and R1 transfer alongside the traces (Q0, Q1) and (Q1, Q2) respectively.
  5. Join the road between R0 and R1 (represented by the blue line).
  6. Lastly, Level B strikes alongside the road connecting between R0 and R1. This level strikes alongside the trail of the animation.
Animation of a cubic Bezier curve, t in [0,1]
Supply: Wikipedia

If you wish to have a greater really feel for the way cubic beziers work, I like to recommend trying out this desmos hyperlink. Mess around with the management factors and verify how the animation modifications by means of time. (Word that the animation within the hyperlink is represented by the black line.)

Extra after soar! Proceed studying beneath ↓

Stacking Animations

Massive animations with plenty of steps could be damaged down into a number of small animations. You may obtain that by including the animation-delay property to your CSS. Calculating the delay is straightforward; you add up the time of all of the animations earlier than the one you’re calculating the animation delay for.

For instance:

animation: movePointLeft 4s linear forwards, movePointDown 3s linear forwards;

Right here, we have now two animations, movePointLeft and movePointDown. The animation delay for movePointLeft will likely be zero as a result of it’s the animation we need to run first. Nevertheless, the animation delay for movePointDown will likely be 4 seconds as a result of movePointLeft will likely be completed after that point.

Due to this fact, the animation-delay property will likely be as follows:

animation-delay: 0s, 4s;

Word that when you’ve got two or extra animations beginning on the similar time, their animation delay would be the similar. As well as, if you calculate the animation delay for the upcoming animations, you’ll contemplate them as one animation.

For instance:

animation: x 4s linear forwards, y 4s linear forwards, soar 2s linear forwards;

Assume we need to begin x and y concurrently. On this case, the animation delay for each x and y will likely be zero, whereas the animation delay for the soar animation will likely be 4 seconds (not eight!).

animation-delay: 0s, 0s, 4s;

Creating The Rollercoaster

Now that we have now the fundamentals lined, it’s time to use what we discovered!

Understanding The Animation

The rollercoaster path consists of three components:

  1. The sliding half,
  2. The loop half,
  3. There will even be some animation to create horizontal house between the 2 animations above.
The rollercoaster path
(Giant preview)

Setting Issues Up

We’ll begin by making a easy ball that will likely be our “cart” for the rollercoaster.

1. Add this to the physique of your new HTML file:

<div id="the-cart" class="cart"></div>

2. Add this to your CSS file:

.cart {
  background-color: rgb(100, 210, 128);
  peak: 50px;
  width: 50px;
  border: 1px strong black;
  border-radius: 50px;
  place: absolute;
  left: 10vw;
  high: 30vh;

I’ll use viewport width (vw) and viewport peak (vh) properties to make the animation responsive. You might be free to make use of any items you need.

The Sliding Half

Creating the half the place the ball slides could be completed utilizing the cubic-bezier perform! The animation is made up of two animations, one alongside the x-axis and the opposite alongside the y-axis. The x-axis animation is a traditional linear animation alongside the x-axis. We are able to outline its keyframes as follows:

@keyframes x {
  to {
    left: 40vw;

Add it to your animation property within the ball path as follows:

animation: x 4s linear forwards

The y-axis animation is the one the place we’ll use the cubic-bezier perform. Let’s first outline the keyframes of the animation. We wish the distinction between the beginning and ending factors to be so small that the ball reaches nearly the identical peak.

@keyframes y {
  to {
    high: 29.99vh;

Now let’s take into consideration the cubic-bezier perform. We wish our path to maneuver slowly to the correct first, after which when it slides, it ought to go quicker.

The cubic-bezier function
(Giant preview)
  • Shifting slowly to the correct implies that $P1$ will likely be alongside the x-axis. So, we all know it’s at (V, 0).
    • We have to select an appropriate V that makes our animation go slowly to the correct however not an excessive amount of in order that it takes up the entire house. On this case, I discovered that 0.55 matches greatest.
  • To realize the sliding impact, we have to transfer P2 down the y-axis (adverse worth) so P2=(X, -Y).
    • Y ought to be an enormous worth. On this case, I selected Y=5000.
    • To get X, we all know that our animation velocity ought to be quicker when sliding and slower when going up once more. So, the nearer X is to zero, The steeper the animation will likely be at sliding. On this case, let X = 0.8.

Now you will have your cubic-bezier perform, it is going to be cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -800).

Let’s add keyframes to our animation property:

animation: x 4s linear forwards,
    y 4s cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -5000) forwards;

That is the primary a part of our animation, so the animation delay is zero. We must always add an animation-delay property as a result of ranging from the next animation, the animations will begin at a special time than the primary animation.

animation-delay: 0s, 0s;

See the Pen [Rollercoaster sliding part [forked]]( by Yosra Emad.

See the Pen Rollercoaster sliding half [forked] by Yosra Emad.

Including Horizontal Area

Earlier than making the loop, the ball ought to transfer alongside the x-axis for a short time, so there may be house between each animations. So, let’s try this!

@keyframes x2 {
  to {
    left: 50vw;
  • Add it to the animation property:
animation: x 4s linear forwards,
    y 4s cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -5000) forwards, x2 0.5s linear forwards;

This animation ought to begin after the sliding animation, and the sliding animation takes 4 seconds; thus, the animation delay will likely be 4 seconds:

animation-delay: 0s, 0s, 4s;

See the Pen [Rollercoaster horizontal space [forked]]( by Yosra Emad.

See the Pen Rollercoaster horizontal house [forked] by Yosra Emad.

The Loop Half

To create a circle (loop) in CSS, we have to transfer the circle to the middle of the loop and begin the animation from there. We wish the circle’s radius to be 100px, so we’ll change the circle place to high: 20vh (30 is desired radius (10vh right here)). Nevertheless, this must occur after the sliding animation is completed, so we’ll create one other animation with a zero-second length and add an appropriate animation delay.

@keyframes pointOfCircle {
  to {
    high: 20vh;
  • Add this to the listing of animations with length = 0s:
animation: x 4s linear forwards,
    y 4s cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -5000) forwards, x2 0.5s linear forwards,
    pointOfCircle 0s linear forwards;
  • Add the animation delay, which will likely be 4.5s:
animation-delay: 0s, 0s, 4s, 4.5s;

The Loop Itself

To create a loop animation:

  • Create a keyframe that strikes the ball again to the outdated place after which rotates the ball:
@keyframes loop {
  from {
    remodel: rotate(0deg) translateY(10vh) rotate(0deg);
  to {
    remodel: rotate(-360deg) translateY(10vh) rotate(360deg);
  • Add the loop keyframes to the animation property:
animation: x 4s linear forwards,
    y 4s cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -5000) forwards, x2 0.5s linear forwards,
    pointOfCircle 0s linear forwards, loop 3s linear forwards;
  • Add the animation delay, which will even be 4.5 seconds right here:
animation-delay: 0s, 0s, 4s, 4.5s, 4.5s;

See the Pen [Rollercoaster loop [forked]]( by Yosra Emad.

See the Pen Rollercoaster loop [forked] by Yosra Emad.

Including Horizontal Area (Once more)

We’re nearly completed! We simply want to maneuver the ball after the animation alongside the x-axis in order that the ball doesn’t cease precisely after the loop the way in which it does within the image above.

@keyframes x3 {
  to {
    left: 70vw;
  • Add the keyframes to the animation property:
animation: x 4s linear forwards,
    y 4s cubic-bezier(0.55, 0, 0.2, -800) forwards, x2 0.5s linear forwards,
    pointOfCircle 0s linear forwards, loop 3s linear forwards,
    x3 2s linear forwards;
  • Including the appropriate delay, right here it is going to be 7.5s:
animation-delay: 0s, 0s, 4s, 4.5s, 4.5s, 7.5s;

The Remaining Output

See the Pen [Rollercoaster Final [forked]]( by Yosra Emad.

See the Pen Rollercoaster Remaining [forked] by Yosra Emad.


On this article, we lined easy methods to mix a number of keyframes to create a posh animation path. We additionally lined cubic beziers and easy methods to use them to create your personal easing perform. I might advocate occurring and creating your personal animation path to get your palms soiled with animations. For those who want any assist or need to give suggestions, you’re greater than welcome to ship a message to any of the hyperlinks right here. Have a beautiful day/evening!

Smashing Editorial
(vf, il, yk)


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