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Animate a Rocket

Warning: Please note

This thread was started before GSAP 3 was released. Some information, especially the syntax, may be out of date for GSAP 3. Please see the GSAP 3 migration guide and release notes for more information about how to update the code to GSAP 3's syntax. 

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I am currently trying to achieve a rocket animation. It should start very slow as a lift off and then gradually increase the velocity at the top of window.


I cannot achieve the effect with slowmo, as it starts too quickly and the rocket reaches midway the window. I'd appreciate the help and tips.





See the Pen mPwYjB by thirdknife (@thirdknife) on CodePen

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Hi thirdknife :)


Welcome to the forums.


Yep - Shaun is putting you on the right track with easing. In addition to the Ease Visualizer he linked to, you can take a look at these resources


I've just made a new GreenSock Easing Playground you can try:

See the Pen RaVEpP by PointC (@PointC) on CodePen


Blake has a Cubic-Bezier Easing CodePen:

See the Pen OyPGEo by osublake (@osublake) on CodePen


This is the forum post that goes with it: 



In addition to easing you can gain a lot of control by animating the timescale too. You could start extremely slow and then really ramp it up as the rocket gains altitude. Check out the docs about timeScale():



Here's a great GreenSock CodePen showing timeScale() animation in action:

See the Pen LuIJj by GreenSock (@GreenSock) on CodePen


Hopefully that helps a bit.


Happy tweening and welcome aboard.


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Sometimes you can also animate the background to make it look like the rocket is moving, if you seem to be running out of space for the rocket to go--just a tip once you get it into the air and the launch has already taken place following PointC, and Shaun's great advice!


Here's a pen showing an older rocket I was animating with GSAP:

See the Pen RWoPya by celli (@celli) on CodePen

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Great question and suggestions so far.

To take PointC's "tween the timeScale()" suggestion one step further here is another demo:


var rocket = document.getElementById("rocket");
var marker = document.getElementById("marker"); // red line for visualizing where acceleration occurs
var position = 70; // percentage of window height where acceleration gets triggered
var tween;

marker.style.bottom = position + "%"; 

//create animation on demand
function blastOff() {
  tween =  TweenLite.fromTo(rocket, 5, {bottom:"0%"}, {bottom:"100%", ease:Linear.easeNone, onUpdate:checkPos});

function checkPos() {
  if(parseInt(rocket.style.bottom) > position){
    TweenLite.to(tween, 1, {timeScale:5}); //speed things up
    tween.eventCallback("onUpdate", null); //stop running the callback to check position
    console.log("accelerate!!!"); //rejoice!

document.getElementById("restart").onclick = function() {





The rocket moves up using a Linear (constant rate) tween. Once it gets to a certain window-height percentage we tween the timeScale of the tween making it accelerate.

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Very nice Carl. :)


You've got the rocket here and the 'planes with parachutes' solution on another thread. If somebody asks about ships or tanks, you'll have a whole military collection happening here.  :-P

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  • 5 years later...

Hi leonardphb!


For that you would use the MotionPathPlugin.



Everything will work basically the same, except there is not a "soft" type anymore...


See the Pen oNwyQbW by GreenSock (@GreenSock) on CodePen


That helper function comes from this thread.





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