SerpentEagle

Convince Me From Switching to anime.js

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Not sure if this type of post is acceptable here, but worth a shot anyways!

 

So i've recently been flabbergasted by the new version of anime.js, along with it's new website: http://animejs.com

 

Impressed by the amount of visible progress it's been making recently, I am thinking about making a full switch to animejs. As much as I enjoy using GSAP, I haven't really noticed any visible development or innovation in the library for quite a while now. 

 

My main requirements are complex animations (mainly object property based), timelining, callback scheduling, and passing around tweens between different scopes. Can anyone here give me a quick overview of the benefits of GSAP over the new anime? I'm mainly interested in features, robustness, and flexibility over performance.

 

Feel free to remove this post if this isn't appropriate here, but I know how great the support is on this forum so I decided to give it a shot here before going to reddit.

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I'm so glad you asked. It's totally fine to inquire here about stuff like that, but I must admit that I find myself in a bit of an awkward spot because I really try not to say things that'd come across as criticizing another talented developer's work. Do I have some opinions about this your question? Absolutely! But I'd rather not wade into giving you a bunch of "why GSAP is better than ___" arguments. 

 

I will say a few things, though: 

  • I have nothing but the utmost respect for anime.js and its author. Really solid work from what I've seen (though admittedly I haven't used it beyond the very basics, so I'm not terribly familiar with it). Clearly he's a good designer too - very nice web site. 
  • Your timing is great - we're literally about to push out a release that I think you'll dig. It should be out next week. We haven't been idle even though it has been a while since we did a release. I've personally been heads-down on some explorations around morphing and several other things. You'll see the fruit of that in the release :)
  • I think it's safe to say that GSAP is a lot more robust than anime, but that's not a criticism of anime; I think one of the main goals with that project is to have a very small library. GSAP can do quite a bit more. Then again, anime.js is perfectly capable with all the basics and quite a bit more (from what I've seen). 
  • One of the things that takes up our time the most is actually the forums. It's one of the best things GSAP has going for it, and pretty unique. Look how many questions are answered here. 

I've gotta run but I'll be back a bit later to share a few more thoughts. 

 

Again, I'm really glad you asked about this. I appreciate the opportunity to address it, as I'm sure you're not the only one who has ever had such a thought. 

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Thanks for the positive response! I've gotten tired of getting downvoted and turnt down on stackexchange over and over again, so it's refreshing to see some enthusiasm for vague questions like this.

 

After going through anime's documentation, I've realized that the timeline functionality is a little weak compared to gsap. That's one of the main things holding me back right now. And you make a good point about robustness, gsap has been super reliable for me so far!

 

I was mainly impressed at how much anime seemed to improve with the recent update, it seems to be gaining a lot of popularity right now. Looking into the future I figured it would only keep getting better.

 

That being said I'll definitely be looking forward to the new update. The plugins in this library are always stellar! Are you guys planning to release any new features for club greensock members? 

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2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

Thanks for the positive response! I've gotten tired of getting downvoted and turnt down on stackexchange over and over again, so it's refreshing to see some enthusiasm for vague questions like this.

 

That's one of the things I'm most proud of about the community around GreenSock (especially these forums) - there's none of that arrogant critical "oh what a stupid question...I'm so much smarter than you" kind of stuff. Read through the threads here and I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about. And to be honest, if I were looking into which animation library I'm gonna invest in for the long term, having a friendly community with a long track record of prompt, accurate answers would be a big factor. When you're wrestling with an animation with a deadline looming, that's HUGE. 

 

Again, I'm not going to criticize anime.js specifically, but I'll mention some of the things that I'd be looking at if I were in your shoes: 

  • Reliability - does it work around the many browser bugs and inconsistencies out there? We've put a ton of effort into normalizing behavior between browsers so you don't have to smash your head against the screen trying to solve all that stuff. For example, GSAP solves the transform-origin madness in SVGs. From my initial tests, it doesn't look like anime.js does things like that but perhaps I'm doing something wrong. There are countless other examples of inconsistencies that GSAP works around. 
     
  • Robust feature set - can it animate canvas, SVG, generic objects, etc.? Can it handle very complex sequencing? Morphing with mis-matched numbers of points? Bezier curves? Custom easing with unlimited points/segments? Basic physics? Can timelines be nested inside timelines infinitely? Is there a plugin system? Are there dev tools to make it easier during development? Most animation libraries have no trouble covering the basics, but when you've written a bunch of code on top of a certain tool and then you discover "crap! It can't do what I need..." on a more aggressive project, it's really frustrating. We typically hear from customers that when they discover a need, they poke around GSAP and find that it's already solved whatever they were facing. Like ExpoScaleEase.
     
  • Details - we've been doing this a long time and there are a lot of details that often get missed (not that anime.js missed them...I don't know). For example, does it have seamless loops that don't allow time drift? (most animation libraries just restart when a tween completes in a way that allows time drifts and those can bite you in some cases). Does it avoid layout thrashing? Does it offer overwrite management? Lag smoothing? Does it power down its ticker when there are no animations running (to conserve battery life on mobile devices)? How does it do with dropped frames? I'd certainly recommend looking at this: https://greensock.com/gsap-1-12-0 (there are some demos that may be enlightening).
     
  • Ubiquity - GSAP is the only robust animation library (that I'm aware of) that's whitelisted on every major ad network, meaning that its file size doesn't count against any ads that are served through those places. DoubleClick, Adwords, Sizmek, AOL, etc. That's a BIG deal to anyone in the advertising world. GSAP has been vetted by all the big companies. Its ubiquity also helps when you're looking to find talent; GSAP has been around for a long time and hundreds of thousands of people know its API. 
     
  • Support - in my 11+ years of doing this, I've seen countless animation libraries come and go. They seem so exciting when they first come out, or for the first year or two, but eventually the authors moves on and stop supporting them (at least most of the time). That's a real bummer for anyone relying on them. GSAP has a funding mechanism in place that has allowed us to build a crazy long track record of ongoing support. We have no plans of going anywhere. 

Again, none of those things were meant as knocks on anime.js - for all I know, it may do great in many of those categories. I only meant this list as a loose set of criteria I'd be looking at if I were in your shoes. 

 

2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

GSAP has been super reliable for me so far!

 

I love hearing that! It makes all the hours I've put in (as well as others in the community) worthwhile. We really aim to make animators say "gosh, this is such a pleasure to use and it solve tricky problems for me..." 

 

2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

Are you guys planning to release any new features for club greensock members? 

 

Well, this next release has some big updates/additions to MorphSVGPlugin which is indeed a members-only benefit. But there are plenty of other things in the public files that I hope you'll love too. Again, we're aiming to launch next week so keep your eyes peeled. 

 

Does that answer your question? Anything else we can do?  

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Thanks for the excellent, quality response. Really appreciate it!

 

I originally asked this question because I'm starting a new project which heavily relies on animation throughout all it's core components, so I want to make sure I have a solid animation platform to work with. After some more research, it's clear that gsap is the best option here. There's really quite a lot to greensock that I was never even aware of till now, which is great! And like you said, these forums are super helpful and have saved me some headbanging in the past as well haha. 

 

Now, for some reason I have the impression that there's a standard way to write your own plugins to use with gsap, I think I've read something about it on the forums. Is there an API available to do this, or will I just have to end up reading through the source code? If not, I think this would be a great feature to add to the club greensock extras!

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Oh, and just curious, other than club greensock, do you guys accept donations? 

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2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

After some more research, it's clear that gsap is the best option here. There's really quite a lot to greensock that I was never even aware of till now, which is great!

 

Fantastic. Well, I mean I'm glad we earned your trust but I'm bummed that there was so much you weren't aware of (that tells me we're not doing a great job of educating people). Do you mind me asking about some of the things you stumbled across that you didn't know about? And if you have recommendations for how to do a better job presenting the info, I'm all ears. 

 

2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

I have the impression that there's a standard way to write your own plugins to use with gsap, I think I've read something about it on the forums

 

Yep, there's a TEMPLATE_Plugin.js file in the plugins folder that lays it all out for you with comments. Hopefully it's relatively easy. I'm curious - what plugin would you make? Perhaps I've got something laying around that could help you. Is there a certain effect you're going for? What would your custom plugin do? 

 

2 hours ago, SerpentEagle said:

Oh, and just curious, other than club greensock, do you guys accept donations? 

 

Nope, we don't accept donations but I sure appreciate the thought. It's kinda funny - years ago (before Club GreenSock), several people kept pestering me about accepting donations and I was like "nah, it's okay, you don't have to feel obligated." and they INSISTED. I kept politely declining and saying I was just happy someone was using the code, but they started getting angry, like "Dude, we're a business and we're using your code for business-critical stuff; we don't feel right about this, and we WANT to give you money selfishly because it helps ensure that you keep supporting the tools." Ha. Shortly thereafter, Club GreenSock was born. The rest is history. 

 

Hopefully we'll see your name on the membership roster someday, but please don't feel any pressure. The vast majority of our users never pay us a dime. 

 

Good luck with your project. Let us know if you need anything else. 

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On 2/9/2019 at 2:00 AM, GreenSock said:

 

Fantastic. Well, I mean I'm glad we earned your trust but I'm bummed that there was so much you weren't aware of (that tells me we're not doing a great job of educating people). Do you mind me asking about some of the things you stumbled across that you didn't know about? And if you have recommendations for how to do a better job presenting the info, I'm all ears. 

 

 

Yep, there's a TEMPLATE_Plugin.js file in the plugins folder that lays it all out for you with comments. Hopefully it's relatively easy. I'm curious - what plugin would you make? Perhaps I've got something laying around that could help you. Is there a certain effect you're going for? What would your custom plugin do? 

 

 

Nope, we don't accept donations but I sure appreciate the thought. It's kinda funny - years ago (before Club GreenSock), several people kept pestering me about accepting donations and I was like "nah, it's okay, you don't have to feel obligated." and they INSISTED. I kept politely declining and saying I was just happy someone was using the code, but they started getting angry, like "Dude, we're a business and we're using your code for business-critical stuff; we don't feel right about this, and we WANT to give you money selfishly because it helps ensure that you keep supporting the tools." Ha. Shortly thereafter, Club GreenSock was born. The rest is history. 

 

Hopefully we'll see your name on the membership roster someday, but please don't feel any pressure. The vast majority of our users never pay us a dime. 

 

Good luck with your project. Let us know if you need anything else. 

Sorry for the late reply, guess I missed it!

 

It's mainly me just being lazy. When people like me wan't to know something, they expect it to be hand delivered to them. People don't know what they want until you show it to them! Maybe when people visit greensock.com, the features of GSAP could be clearly demonstrated with in-browser examples, sort of like how animejs does it, but better.

 

Keep in mind most people aren't like me though haha.

 

And thanks for pointing me to the template file, I'll check it out!

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