It seems like every year there’s a new batch of frameworks and libraries for the web.
This gives developers an endless stream of assets to play with and try out in their projects. Not all of them will work for every project, and the animation-focused libraries don’t all support the same UIs.
But the only way to find what you want is by testing a lot. That’s exactly why I curated this huge list of animation libraries specifically for web developers.
Web Animation Libraries
No matter your skill level or how long you’ve been doing web development, I guarantee there’s a library in here that you could try out and really enjoy using.
For more on animation, please see:
- Ultimate Guide to CSS3 and HTML5 Animation
- Sequential Landing Page Animation Effects with CSS3
- Top 5 Scroll-to-Animate Effects
Here’s one of the newest libraries on the web that I just recently found. And I think it’s a game-changer for animation features as you scroll down the page.
Animate on Scroll is a totally free library released as open-source on GitHub. You just add this into your page and define certain elements on the page to animate into view.
Basically when the user scrolls down this script checks the viewport to see when certain items are within view. Then the objects animate onto the page and show up based on their custom data attributes.
Pretty cool right?
So you can define an element to fade into the page, define which direction it should move, and even customize how fast it’ll go. You have full control over the animations and they’re all triggered based on user scroll mechanics.
Here’s a classic that requires no introduction. If you’ve never tried Animate.css before then I’d say you’re long overdue for a practice project.
To me this is the original CSS animation library that started it all.
Animate.css first released quite a few years back and it was at the forefront of custom CSS animation.
Today it’s one of the easiest libraries to use and it’s still got all the same animations it had when it first came out. All you have to do is include the CSS file into your page and then target your element(s) with the animate classes.
All very fun to play with and certainly a trusted resource for web developers.
The Hover.css library is quite similar to the Animate library above, although this one focuses only on hover states.
I’ve used Hover in a couple smaller projects and really like the features. It comes with a few hand-crafted animation styles that you can apply to anything. Not to mention these styles can even be customized to suit your needs.
Everything runs on CSS3 but you can setup the project to work with a Less coding environment. If you’re more of a Sass user then don’t worry: it works there too.
You can always apply other animation effects to elements on hover, but why go through all that trouble custom coding a solution?
Hover.css has you covered with ease and these are some of the best animations you’ll find packed into a tiny CSS library.
So if you want to try a newer library with some more experimental effects, this one might be for you.
Introducing Magic CSS: a magical animation library developed with pure CSS3 and a bit of love. The entire thing can be found on GitHub and is currently released as v1.2.0 as of writing this article.
These animation effects build off similar styles like you find in Animate.css by adding custom keyframe motions for hiding or showing elements on the page.
But these effects genuinely feel like magic because they push CSS to its limit. I have not seen any of these effects imitated in other libraries so they’re truly unique to this package.
Is it worth using? That’s up to you.
But if you want to jazz up a project with some unique animation styles this is at least worth looking into.
5. Dyn CSS
With DynCSS you’ll be working more with data attributes and custom attributes in CSS. This certainly makes it a more complicated to work with because it’s not really a simple library to pick up.
The effects are pretty darn cool and you can see many of them in action on the demo page.
But to get this working in your code you’ll need to learn the DynCSS syntax. It might take a day or a week, or maybe longer. Just depends how much time you have.
Granted for any pro web developer this will be a piece of cake. But if you’ve never used any animation library before I’d start elsewhere.
6. Wicked CSS
When I first stumbled onto Wicked CSS a few years back it was really fun to test with in my projects.
Now it’s still one of my favorites but it’s just one of many awesome CSS libraries with great animation features. If you’ve never used this before I definitely recommend checking out the demo page and clicking some of the animations.
These look incredible and really feel eye-catching even at a glance.
Not to mention this is totally 100% free to use on any project, just like all the other pure CSS3 animation libraries.
Think of this as just one more option to give your pages a little more variety in animation styles.
7. Tuesday CSS
Another incredible library you might dive into is Tuesday CSS. This library has some very unique animation techniques for showing and hiding page elements.
Whether you could find use for this in your project or not, that’s another story.
But definitely check out the demo page and flip through a few of the sample animations. Get a feel for what Tuesday can do.
The project is updated semi-frequently, although since it’s all CSS you rarely need to worry about bugs or issues with old code.
I’ve found a few animations in this library that I really like. But I’ve also found a few that are kinda “meh” and left me wanting more.
Still, I think Effeckt.css belongs in this list since it’s one of the many awesome CSS-only animation libraries on the web.
This one is a couple years old and comes with a very large library of custom styles. You can add unique animations to modal windows, buttons, or even custom page elements. All just with a bit of CSS.
I just recently found the VHS library and I’m still not sure what to think of this yet.
It’s an incredibly well-designed library and it has some neat retro-styled effects. I think the name here is a reflection of the old VHS tapes popular back in the 90s. Doesn’t seem like that long ago.
I can’t say the animations are super practical but they are fun.
You’ll find some documentation along with a full code repo on GitHub if you want to sort through and see how this works.
It’s labeled as a “post-future CSS animation library” which I’m not sure how to take that. Quite the description.
Still the animations are pretty darn fun so if you could use some of these styles in a project definitely give this a try.
This animation library is one of a kind and it’s meant to focus on animations you’d find in typical day-to-day UX work. Naturally this is also geared solely towards the web so it’s best used by web developers who want to create dynamic interfaces.
Would you benefit from AniJS in your work? I would argue that for most people the answer is “yes”. It’s just vanilla enough to have effects for almost everyone.
But it is worth looking through their code snippets to see what it can do.
I’ve found that pure CSS libraries can sometimes do what JS libraries offer, but with fewer lines of code. However AniJS may offer that little bit extra to encourage you to stick with a JS solution.
11. Animate Plus
While I haven’t personally used Animate+ on any of my own projects, I will say the demos are simply fantastic.
Take a look at the main GitHub repo to get a full list of documentation along with some code snippets. These are also hosted on the main site with live demos you can preview right in your browser.
Everything is controlled through the animate() function with parameters passed inside curly braces. These parameters control everything from animation style to speed, end position, and targeted elements(even multiple selectors!)
I wouldn’t say this is the most popular animation library or the easiest to learn.
But it’s a nice choice for anyone who works on the web that wants to try adding some custom animation effects into their frontend UI/UX.
You don’t even need to visit the main page here to know that this library is pretty crazy.
Just the name should give you a hint.
But if you do visit the main page you’ll see what I mean. This is an incredibly powerful animation library with some pretty crazy styles.
My only complaint is that some of these effects could be better off with a larger CSS library. Think of something like Tuesday CSS mentioned earlier.
Wow.js comes with a whole lot more customization so if that’s what you’re going for this is well worth testing.
I’ve seen a bunch of motion libraries in recent years but few compare to Popmotion.
In total it’s quite a bit larger than other libraries. This one totals 12kb which, in all honesty, is not huge. But it’s large enough to really use this only if you love it and simply cannot replicate the animations in a simpler way.
This gives you full control over tweens and keyframe animations, along with more complex animations based on built-in physics libraries.
Overall just a fun library to play with and it really brings motion back into web animation.
The hottest new trend for web graphics has to be SVGs. I see them everywhere now, including company logos and even in-page graphics.
Vivus.js lets you customize your scripting to target all SVG items on the page with ease. Right now it’s a pretty simple library without a whole lot of control for developers.
But you can always build on top of this to add custom functionality for whatever you need.
And I have a feeling this library will be around for the long haul with plenty of updates in the near future.
Out of this entire list I have to say Anime.js is my personal favorite choice. And that’s a really tough call to make!
Just visit the main page and click your mouse around the background. That’s merely one example of what Anime.js can do.
This library is tough to learn so it could take a few weeks to really understand all the main function calls and parameters. Not to mention designing your own animation from scratch will be a serious task.
But visit the GitHub page and skim through the documentation. You’ll find everything you need to get started creating beautiful web animations on your own.
The team also put together a collection on CodePen featuring some incredible animations made using Anime.js. Just to show you a touch of what this library offers.
Motion graphics are wildly popular on the web. That’s partially why I like the Anime.js library mentioned above.
Yet it’s also why I highly recommend Mo.js as another option.
I would consider this library a touch easier to learn than Anime.js, but it’s also very complex. You can view a list of demos on the main GitHub repo with plenty of motion graphics examples that you could port into your own website.
Their documentation does feel a bit cleaner with lots of tutorials for beginners. You’ll learn how to manipulate shapes, create random artefacts, and how to time your animations perfectly.
All of this will require effort so Mo.js is not a pick up & go library. If you want that it’s better to go with a CSS alternative.
Hopefully this list gives you plenty to play with and ideally find something for your upcoming projects.
There are a few other libraries I didn’t feel really “fit” into this list, but I still wanted to include them as extras. So if you’re looking for even more extravagant web animation libraries maybe these will pique your interest: