Different Animation File Formats: Why Lottie Is The Best One?

12/01/2022
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Animation is the art of turning images and drawings into moving objects. Traditionally animations included hand drawings. These drawings were then photographed, and run in a film to make them appear moving. Innovation and technology have also revolutionized the art of animations. Resultantly, most of the animations today involve CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery).

What are animation file formats?

File formats define the way the information gets encoded and stored in a computer. Animation file formats use bits to store animations on a computer. There are many animation file formats available today. It is essential to choose a file format that is right according to your requirements, such as file size and quality. 

The different animation file formats

Let us take a look at some common animation file formats available today:

MPEG

Motion Picture Experts Group or MPEG is an animation file format that is known for producing high-quality animations. The format of MPEG has high compatibility with different browsers. It can run on multiple platforms, like quick time and windows media player and ensures high quality. Social media platforms like Whatsapp support these files, making them extremely popular.

AVI

AVI, also known as Audio-Video Interleave, is the animation file format launched by Microsoft in competition with Apple.  It has good image quality, and at the same time, its file size is big. However, it does not support chapters of videos, nor does it allow direct streaming. Although it has a high acceptance rate and is widely distributed due to the wide use of Microsoft Windows, its large file size makes it an inflexible format to use.

MOV

MOV is the quick time video format, developed by Apple. It is popular for editing and has little use for watching videos. A few multimedia playback programs support this format, and hence, it has a low acceptance rate for actual devices. It shows compatibility with platforms, like Windows platforms and Macintosh. It is also, sometimes, used to store video and movie files. Furthermore, MOV has alpha channel support, meaning MOV images have adjustable opacity. Since MOV files can go entirely transparent, these are excellent for embedding animations.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets or CSS is an animation file format that allows transitions of animations from one style to another. They are flexible and easy to use. Along with that, being robust and well-running is also a key benefit of the CSS animation format. Cascading style sheets allow the browser to control the sequence of animations which helps in improving the browsing experience. It is a method sheet language that helps to do spontaneous changes. Although it reduces file size during transfer, different types of CSS (CSS, CSS1, or CSS3) sometimes confuse the browser. Lack of security also gives CSS a disadvantage. CSS works differently for everyone as it is different for every browser.

GIF

GIFs are the Graphics Interchange Format, initially launched in 1987. They are commonly utilized for animations and other purposes. GIFs have a small size and can enable transparent background allowing professional use of animations. They are better able to convey the message as they can show emotions and movements. At the same time, GIFs cannot be edited once coded. They also have a limited colour option restricting your creative options. Even though GIFs have a small size, they are dependent on internet speed and at times, display low quality. Furthermore, Animated GIFs are static images, supported by Whatsapp stickers and various other social media platforms. Hence, they are easy to share

SVG

SVG, also known as Scalable Vector Graphics, is an animation file format that was first launched in 1999. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, web browsers started to integrate and support SVG. It has a fast page load and doesn’t require an HTTP request to load it, enhancing the user experience. Furthermore, It has a text-based format and is scalable. It has a small size but, at the same time, is not detailed. And it doesn’t fully cross platforms as there are still users who have browsers that don’t support SVG, meaning that they can’t view SVG content.

SWF

SWF or the Small Web Format is a vector-based animation file format. Its design ensures efficient delivery over the web. The graphics of a small web format are easily scalable, fitting it into screen sizes. It is easy to compress and allows smooth compression. It supports a transparent background. Although SWF is a good file format, it has a major disadvantage: it needs to be supported by Macromedia flash, otherwise, the device will not support it.

JSON

JSON, which is the abbreviation of JavaScript Object Notation, is an animation file format that allows file storage and data interchange. It lets them use readable text to store and transmit animation data files. One of the many benefits of JSON files is that it is easy to describe. The use of hierarchical and syntax structure allows the application to interpret it themselves. It is simple and compact, allowing easy transmissions of animations files without lowering quality.

What is Lottie File Format?

Lottie is an animation file format designed by Gabriel Peal, Brandon Withrow, and Leland Richardson in partnership with the animator Abdul-Karim. It is based on JSON. Department of AIRBNB designed this library, and it is very easy to use. It traditionally uses the platform of Adobe After Effects animations as of now. Lottie animation solves many problems that animators face while using other traditional platforms.

How to animate Lottie Files?

Following are the major steps to animate Lottie animations:

  1. Develop the resources to import them into Adobe After Effects.
  2. Create the desired animation in Adobe After Effects.
  3. After creating animation, export the newly created JSON files through the platform of the Bodymovin plugin.
  4.  Create the project in XCode and connect it to Lottie.
  5.  Test your animation on a device and view it for any  further alterations

Why is Lottie files the best animation file format?

Following are the main reasons that make Lottie animation the best choice for animators:

Small File Size

Efficient animation file formats are the need of today. Today’s fast-paced world demands file formats that deliver the maximum in the least size, which means that it should provide good quality animations without occupying much space in the devices. Lottie animations provide a small file size while ensuring that animation quality is not compromised. The reason is that Lottie files are a vector-based file format, achieved using vector graphics and keyframing.

Resolution Independent Along with Stability

Another quality of Lottie animations is their ability to scale without compromising the resolutions of the animations. It means that even zooming and trying to fit animations to different screens doesn’t mess up the quality and resolutions of animations.

Multi-platform Reach

Multi-platform reach is a great benefit of Lottie files which makes it the best choice for animators all around the globe. Platforms like Android, Web, iOS, and React Native support it, enabling the user to use it without doing any modifications at any time and place.

Compatible

One of the best things about Lottie animations is that they are compatible with almost every web builder. You can use it to make animations for your website, and you can even use it for apps as well. They are perfect for making animations that work for websites builders, like WordPress, Wix, Storyblok, and Web-flow, etc.

Higher Quality

Lottie files have small sizes and are compact, but at the same time, they ensure that the quality of the animations remains intact, making it the best animation file format. It allows high-quality animations that you can store and transmit to different devices as small-sized files.

Allows Manipulations in Run Time

It allows the animators to apply modifications and transformations in animation at run time while using multiple platforms. It also allows the use of animation elements at the run time, helping animators to improve their animation easily and quickly. This allows interactivity, real-time transformations, and edits.

Open-Source Library

It has an open-source library which means that its resources are free to use, making it is a cost-effective solution for animators. The open-source library allows the animators to use the Lottie platform for enhancing their resources and tools.

In the above image, you can see that you can have the access to their open-library available to use from https://lottiefiles.com/

Lottie File – The best animation file format!

Animation is the art that requires the animators to choose the best-suited options and platforms for them that don’t compromise the quality of their animations and be easy to use. Lottie files in animation are the best option for animators and everyone else who wants to animate and is unsure which animation file format to use. It is not only easy to use and has a small size, but at the same time, it doesn’t compromise on quality and allows manipulating animations along with the run time.

Plus, if you don’t know how to utilize all these animation formats, look no further. Vidalgo brings you an all-new viewer to enjoy your animations. With the help of the viewer, you can export our files in  JSON (Lottie), MP4, Animated Gifs, and Alpha MOV (Transparent) formats, and use them anywhere you like!

See for yourself:

Click on the animation for more options

Find more information here.

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