Beginners Guide to CSS Animations

Guide to Animations

CSS animations are a powerful way to add interactivity and visual interest to your websites. With CSS animations, you can create effects such as fading elements in and out, moving elements around the page, changing the appearance of elements over time, and even simulate complex physics-based effects.

To create a CSS animation, you need to do two things:

  1. Define the animation keyframes. Keyframes are the different stages of the animation. For each keyframe, you specify the CSS properties that you want to animate and the values of those properties.
  2. Apply the animation to an HTML element. Once you have defined your animation keyframes, you can apply the animation to an HTML element using the animation property.

Defining animation keyframes

Animation keyframes are defined using the @keyframes at-rule. The @keyframes at-rule takes the name of your animation as its argument. Inside the @keyframes at-rule, you define one or more keyframes.

Each keyframe is defined by a percentage value and a set of CSS properties. The percentage value specifies when the keyframe should occur in the animation. The CSS properties specify the values that the element should have at that point in the animation.

For example, the following code defines a simple animation that bounces an element up and down:

CSS
@keyframes bounce {
  0% {
    transform: translateY(0);
  }
  50% {
    transform: translateY(-10px);
  }
  100% {
    transform: translateY(0);
  }
}

This animation has three keyframes:

  • The first keyframe occurs at 0% of the animation. At this point, the element's transform: translateY() property is set to 0, which keeps the element in its original position.
  • The second keyframe occurs at 50% of the animation. At this point, the element's transform: translateY() property is set to -10px, which moves the element 10 pixels down.
  • The third keyframe occurs at 100% of the animation. At this point, the element's transform: translateY() property is set back to 0, which moves the element back to its original position.

Applying animations to HTML elements

Once you have defined your animation keyframes, you can apply the animation to an HTML element using the animation property. The animation property takes the name of your animation as its value.

For example, the following code applies the bounce animation to the .box element:

CSS
.box:hover {
  animation: bounce 1s linear;
}

This code tells the browser to animate the .box element using the bounce animation over a period of 1 second. The linear timing function specifies that the animation should play at a constant speed. You can see the result of this animation below.

Animation Result
Hover over me to view animation.

Animation properties

In addition to the animation property, there are a number of other CSS properties that you can use to control your animations. These properties include:

Creating more complex animations

Once you have a basic understanding of CSS animations, you can start to create more complex and creative animations. For example, you can use CSS animations to create:

  • Animated menus and navigation bars
  • Scrolling animations
  • Physics-based animations such as bouncing balls and waving flags
  • Complex visual effects such as particle animations and transformations

Tips for creating CSS animations

Here are some additional tips for creating CSS animations:

  • Use keyframes to define the different stages of your animation.
  • Use the animation property to apply the animation to HTML elements.
  • Experiment with different values for the animation properties to create different effects.
  • Use a CSS preprocessor such as Sass or Less to make it easier to manage your CSS animations.
  • Use CSS animation libraries.

This article is just the beginning of a series of articles we will be publishing about CSS animations, hopefully this first one will give you a general understanding of how animations work in CSS.