What is the dotLottie format, and Why Is It Cool?

15/07/2021
blog

Yeah, we all know, Lottie animations are cool. You know what’s way more cooler? dotLotties. Ever heard of the dotLottie format?

Lottie already provides a host of nice features:

  • Streamlines the designer- programmer internal collaboration
  • Shorter loading times
  • Quick and easy animation edits
  • Open-free library
  • Cross-platform
  • Controlled by code

All these are impressive features, but dotLotties bring it to the next level. First of all, they’re now .lottie, no more confusing .json files.

Secondly, the dotLottie format allows you to bundle several animations together, like in an archive that takes less storage space without compromising on quality. So, basically, the dotLottie format archives and compresses Lotties in a more manageable formatting.

 Why is the dotLottie format so exciting?

If you’re a designer or programmer, you’ll love dotLotties because they enable you to add metadata and other related files within the archive. What is more, many animation components are stored in separate folders, so you can reuse the fonts or raster images. With lotties, they’re all embedded in the same big file.

What is even more impressive is that you can also add audio or preview images to dotLottie. How cool is that?

If you’re a programmer or designer and you’re not excited already, well, then you’re not a programmer or designer.

What Future Capabilities are we Looking At?

At the fundamental level, dotLottie provides a standard for creating, distributing and playing lottie animations – yes, all three.

Artists can include the After Effects project in the same dotLottie archive for further development so that they can reuse certain fonts or assets.

You’ll be able to play with this format on Vidalgo in the near future. You might be able to combine lottie animations in different ways with our online lottie editor. It’s coming! We’re also working on extending it to include audio; yes, it is possible.

Lotties under the dotLottie format could maybe even support 3D, and that is a significant step forward. There is also video layers support under development.

Hungry for some more cool features? How about this?

  • Simplified expressions language
  • General scripting engine
  • Support for mouse, touch, keyboard, and even sensors (compass, acceleration) interactivity
  • Haptic support
  • Network access support
  • Did we also mention 3D support?

Overall, dotLottie is a considerable upgrade that extends the scope of Lottie animations. It can act as a container, where Lotties are “tracks” that you can combine in different ways, like a DJ making art at a digital music festival.

Is it art or technology? It is both; there’s no doubt about that.

So, how do you make a dotLottie?

You can create a dotLottie the same way you make Lotties – with the Bodymovin plugin for AfterEffects. Moreover, you can also put it together by hand, with Lottie files or use an automated script that combines the animations one after the other, in an embedded frame, or according to any other additional input you might have.

Therefore, a dotLottie ZIP archive’s structure looks like this:

.
├─ manifest.json
├─ animations
│  ├─ animation-1.json
│  └─ animation-2.json
├─ images
│  ├─ img_1.json
│  └─ img_2.json
├─ fonts
|- js
|- resources
└─ previews

We have:

  • The manifest.json – contains metadata about the animations (author, version, list of animations, revisions, playback configurations like playback speed, sequencing, colors)
  • Animations – the actual folder where the animations are stored
  • Images – A separate folder containing only the image assets that are in the animations
  • Fonts – A separate folder with all the font assets
  • Js – Javascript files for scripting and interactivity
  • Resources – for the miscellaneous assets that support the animations
  • Previews – this is a folder that contains all the preview images for the animations; they’re named with the same base name as the animation file

{
  // Name and version of the software that created the dotLottie
  "generator": "LottieFiles 1.0",

  // Target dotLottie version
  "version": 1.0,

  // Revision version number of the dotLottie
  "revision": 1,

  // Name of the author
  "author": "Alibeyya",

  // List of animations
  "animations": [
    {
      // Name of the Lottie animation file without .json
      "id": "test",

      // Desired playback speed
      "speed": 1.0,

      // Theme color
      "themeColor": "#ffcc00",

      // Whether to loop or not
      "loop": true
    },
   // More animation file listings, if any...
   ....
  ],
  // Custom data to be made available to the player and animations
  "custom": {}
}

More dotLottie resources:

Web Player Component – https://github.com/dotlottie/player-component

dotLottie player for Android – https://github.com/dotlottie/dotlottieloader-android

iOS dotLottie player – https://github.com/dotlottie/dotlottie-ios

iOS dotLottie Loader – https://github.com/dotlottie/dotlottieLoader-ios

dotLottie CS (allowing dotLottie functionality inside netstandard applications)- https://github.com/LottieFiles/dotlottie-cs

Conclusion

You gotta’ love dotLotties, they’re open-source brilliance and give us countless possibilities in the world of lottie animations. Stay creative and actual, folks!

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