We have all heard of (or even used) Airbnb at some point – a giant that has dominated and revolutionized the travel industry for the past few years. So, it came as a pretty big surprise when last week, they released Lottie, an open-source tool that helps add animations to native apps. We decided to try our hands on Lottie by Airbnb and give you guys some quick impressions.
Lets start with the basics:
What is Lottie?
Lottie is an iOS, Android, and React Native library that renders After Effects animations in real time, allowing apps to use animations as easily as they use static images.
Animations are awesome. It enhances the user experience of an app. Animations make your app “cool” but implementing them is really hard. Most of the time, developers use generic animations or are limiting its use due to technical difficulties. Using Gifs or videos are inefficient and heavy. Manually creating curves, and re-making animations on code is extremely time consuming and hard.
According to the engineers of Airbnb – that’s all about to change thanks to Lottie. After a year of in-house development and testing, Lottie will allow designers and developers to use animations, without having to fiddle with image files for countless screen sizes or thousands of hard to maintain code lines.
How to use Lottie?
Lottie only works if you use After Effects to create your animations. It is based on Hernan Toririsi – BodyMovin extension.
a. Download the Zip file from the link
b. Extract content and get the .zxp file from ‘/build/extension
c. Download and Install ZXP installer from aescripts.com and run the extension file.
Now that your done setting up. Its time to run After Effects.
a. Open your AE project and select the bodymovin extension from Window > Extensions > bodymovin
b. A Panel will open with a Compositions tab. On the Compositions tab, click Refresh to get a list of all you project Comps. Select the composition you want to export. Select a Destination Folder and then click Render.
c. Look for the exported json file in the Destination Folder
After you finish rendering of animations, its time to load them up on your app. Depending on the platform of your choice, download the Lottie Library for iOS, Android or React Native and install based on the platform.
Since the animation is a JSON file they are quite small in size therefore reducing the load on your apps. The Animations can be played, resized, looped, sped up, slowed down, and even trigger based on interactions.
All-in-All Lottie has been a welcome surprise by the folks at Airbnb. We are still tinkering with it but are pretty excited by the possiblites. For now it only supports solids, shape layers, trim paths, alpha mattes and masks in After Effects but updates are expected.
We really hope that this sets off a trend of animation tools from the big players. They are hard to write!