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What We Will Be Building

We’re going to build an app that parses JSON file exported from Adobe After Effects with bodymovin plugin and renders it natively on mobile. To do that we’ll use lottie-react-native library made by Airbnb.

For your reference, the final code for the app we’re building can be found in this GitHub repo.

Initialize New Project

Let’s start off by creating a new app. Open Terminal App and run these commands to initialize a new project.

react-native init BouncingBall;
cd BouncingBall;

Install Lottie

Next, let’s install lottie-react-native. That’s a React Native library made by Airbnb. Lottie allows to import animations made with Adobe After Effects into React Native apps.

npm i --save lottie-react-native;
react-native link lottie-ios;
react-native link lottie-react-native;

Link Lottie Library

  • Open ios/BouncingBall.xcodeproj file with Xcode.
  • Scroll down to Embedded Binaries section, and click + button.

  • Choose Lottie.framework.iOS and click Add.

You should see Lottie.framework.iOS added to Embedded Binaries list.

Download JSON Animation File

Download ball.json file and save it into your app’s folder.

Launch the Simulator

Now, let’s run the app in the simulator.

react-native run-ios;

Enable Hot Reloading

Once your app is up and running, press D and select Enable Hot Reloading. This will save you some time having to reload the app manually every time you make a change.

Index Files

Next, let’s update our index files. Since we’re going to re-use the same code for both, iOS and Android, so we don’t need two different index files. We’ll be using the same App component in both index files.

  • Open index.ios.js file and scrap all of the React Native boilerplate code to start from scratch. Do the same for index.android.js. And add the following code to both of index files.
import { AppRegistry } from 'react-native';
import App from './app';

AppRegistry.registerComponent('BouncingBall', () => App);

This code imports App component from app.js file and registers it as main app container.

The Code

  • Create a new file called app.js with the following code:
import React, { Component } from 'react';
import {
  Animated,
  Easing,
  Dimensions
} from 'react-native';
import Animation from 'lottie-react-native';

// Get screen dimensions
const { width, height } = Dimensions.get('window');

export default class App extends Component {

  state = {
    // Used by Animation component to run animation
    progress: new Animated.Value(0),
  };

  componentDidMount() {
    // Wait for 1 second before starting animation
    setTimeout(this.animate, 1000);
  }

  animate = () => {
    Animated.timing(this.state.progress, {
      // Change from 0 to 1 to run animation
      toValue: 1,
      // Animation duration
      duration: 24000, // higher the value slower the animation and vice versa
      // Linear easings
      easing: Easing.linear,
    }).start(() => {
      // Reset progress to zero after animation is done
      this.state.progress.setValue(0);
      // Animate again
      this.animate();
    });
  }

  render() {
    return (
      <Animation
        style={{
          // Black background
          backgroundColor: '#000',
          // Screen width
          width: width,
          // Screen height
          height: height,
        }}
        // Load animation from json file
        source={require('./ball.json')}
        // Animate json file
        progress={this.state.progress}
      />
    );
  }
}

That’s It!

And we’re done. Let’s bring up the simulator window. You should be able to see a bouncing ball!

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot on how to create animations with React Native.

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  • Rodney Jones

    I did everything on this tutorial, but when I run the simulator, it just shows a black screen no bouncing ball 🙁

    • Sorry to hear that. Were you running Android simulator? Can you press ⌘ + M (or ⌘ + D for iOS simulator) to access developer menu and select Debug JS Remotely? That should launch Chrome debugger. Then press ⌘ + SHIFT + J to open up the console. And see if there is any errors.