The two most popular web animation formats are Lottie and GIF. Among the two, GIFs have been around us for quite some time now. We often spot them on popular social media platforms and several websites. Lottie, a JSON-based animation file format, was launched recently. But it gained immense popularity in no time! Before we dive into Lottie vs GIF, let’s quickly overview what these two formats exactly are.
Lottie, named after a German film director Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger, is an effects animation file format. There are various tools to create, edit, test, and display high-quality, interactive animations. The top 500 apps have recently shifted to Lottie to engage and enhance user conversations. Lottie animations can be used on iOS, Android, and React Native without any modifications.
It perfectly blends with your needs and gives you fantastic animations without any hassle in minimum time. In addition, you can edit Lottie animation at any time, even for final touches.
Graphical Interchange Format, popularly known as GIF, was invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, an American computer scientist. He wanted to create a way to display animation in the tiniest files possible. In simple words, GIFs are small, vibrant videos with no music and a play or pause button. GIFs continuously loop until you close the tab.
Over the years, GIFs have captured the meme market. They became popular on websites such as Tumblr, Buzzfeed, and Reddit. They are fun, easy to use, and hassle-free. GIFs offer everything you want to make your conversations and content more engaging.
Lottie vs GIF
Which one is the best out of Lottie and GIF? Let’s compare both the formats based on five major aspects:
One of the most significant benefits which separate Lottie from other animation formats is the file size. Lottie files significantly increase download speed and reduce the amount of disk space utilized as the JSON is very small in size. Ultimately, when you load the page, the loading speed matters, which makes Lottie a reasonable choice. These files can be easily used on iOS and Android.
On the other hand, the GIF files are only 4-5 seconds long for 5 MB, which is a lot in real life and practically impossible to load every time. It takes time to load even the small animations and does not allow you to place huge animations on your website or other social media platforms.
When you look at the Lottie animations (on the left), the visuals are crisp, vibrant, and high-quality, which does not get blurry or fade out once you scale it up. Also, the quality of Lotties remain the same or preserved due to being coded.
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On the contrary, when you look at the GIF files (on the right), you can easily make out that the background colors are messed up and fused. Once you scale it up, the image starts to look blurry, which isn’t the most appealing thing a visitor to your website might want to look at. In addition, you can either select the page loading speed or the image quality, which isn’t the best option.
Here, customization does not mean “the usual customization.” With Lottie, the customization opportunities are endless as you can do last-minute edits. It is also possible to edit or make changes to your file once completed. For example, you can change the background color to black, blue, pink, green, and even transparent. You can change the animation speed without hampering the overall quality. You can edit the Lottie animation at any stage to give the final touch-ups or make necessary changes.
When we talk about GIFs, the customization here is limited to a certain extent only as you cannot get the same level of customization as is possible in Lottie and other animation formats.
When you place the Lottie file with the GIF file, the transparency issue is pretty evident. The Lottie animations do not showcase any problems regarding the alpha channel.
On the other hand, a GIF file has uneven and jagged edges, hampering the overall experience.
A popular way of creating Lotties is exporting an animation produced in Adobe After Effects into a Lottie file. An existing Adobe After Effects user can immediately start creating Lottie content by using the LottieFiles Plugin. Designers unacquainted with Adobe After Effects can start creating Lottie content in a few hours, given the comprehensive collection of educational material on using the editor. Once you create your Lottie, you can upload it to the Lottie Editor to test and customize it.
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The very aspect in which the GIF files yet again lag in is the workflow. Unlike a Lottie file, the creation of the GIF file is complex and limited to an extent where there is no way you can change the colors of the background or objects or attain customization as possible with Lottie.
User interfaces with crisp graphics grab eyeballs while pixelated ones barely get noticed. However, weighing the use of high-quality graphics against storing, transporting, and rendering costs have always been a concern. Lottie - a lightweight animated graphics format solves this problem, enabling applications to be smaller in size and incorporating dynamic features that aren't possible with static or traditional graphic formats.
LottieFiles is a platform for testing, collaborating, and discovering animations catering to a community of animators, designers, developers, engineers, and marketers. The platform offers a range of tools, integration & plugins, and features to make the discovery, creation, and implementation of Lottie animations easier and more efficient.
Learn more about What is a Lottie and explore newer horizons of digital content creation with motion.