Difference between Animation and Transition in CSS

Animations and transitions are both techniques used in graphical user interfaces to enhance user experience, but they serve slightly different purposes.


Animations involve the dynamic movement or transformation of elements on the screen over a period of time. They are typically used to provide visual feedback, guide the user's attention, or communicate changes in the interface state. Animations can include effects such as fading, scaling, rotating, or moving elements in response to user interactions or system events. The primary goal of animations is to make the interface more engaging and intuitive by providing visual cues about the relationship between different elements and the actions performed by the user.

Example of Animation:

Consider a mobile weather application. When the user refreshes the weather data by pulling down the screen, an animation can be triggered to simulate the process of data refreshing. This animation might involve a spinning icon or a progress bar that indicates the data is being fetched. Once the data is loaded, another animation could smoothly transition the updated weather information onto the screen, such as fading in or sliding from the top.


Transitions are a specific type of animation that focuses on the smooth and gradual change from one state to another. They are commonly used to create fluid transitions between different views or screens within an application, such as when navigating between pages or switching between content tabs. Transitions help maintain continuity and coherence in the user experience by providing visual feedback about the spatial or logical relationships between interface elements.

Example of Transition:

Imagine a mobile shopping app where users can browse through different categories of products. When the user taps on a category, instead of abruptly jumping to the new screen, a transition animation can be applied to smoothly navigate to the selected category. For instance, the current category grid could fade out while the new category grid fades in, creating a seamless transition between the two states.

Animations VS. Transitions

Here's a breakdown of the key differences between animations and transitions:


Animation applies to a single element within a scene or context, allowing it to dynamically move, transform, or change over time. It focuses on enhancing the behavior or appearance of that particular element, such as a button pulsating when hovered over.

Transition, on the other hand, occurs between two distinct scenes or contexts, facilitating smooth and gradual changes. It ensures coherence and fluidity during transitions between screens or states within an interface, like smoothly fading from one image to another in a slideshow.


Animation can involve multiple steps, keyframes, and changes in various properties over time, allowing for intricate and detailed movement or transformation of elements within a scene or context. This complexity enables sophisticated effects like character animations in games or elaborate motion graphics in videos.

Transition, in contrast, tends to be simpler, typically focused on a single change between two states or scenes. It facilitates smooth and straightforward transitions between interface states, such as fading in/out, sliding, or scaling, without the need for intricate multi-step sequences. This simplicity ensures clear and intuitive visual feedback during state changes within an application or website.


Animations can be triggered by a variety of events, such as user interactions (like clicks or swipes), time-based triggers (such as delays or intervals), or scripted events triggered by specific conditions or actions. This versatility allows animations to respond dynamically to user input or system events, enhancing interactivity and engagement.

Transitions, conversely, are typically triggered automatically when entering or exiting a scene or context. They occur in response to predefined events or actions, such as navigating between screens, hovering over elements, or initiating state changes. This automatic triggering ensures smooth and consistent transitions between interface states without requiring explicit user input.


Animations can be designed to loop continuously, creating perpetual motion or effects, or they can be set to run for a specific number of times before stopping. This flexibility allows for diverse visual experiences, from seamlessly repeating background animations to finite sequences like loading spinners or progress bars.

Transitions, on the other hand, usually play once when triggered, transitioning between two states or scenes in a single execution. They occur primarily during specific events, such as navigating between pages or interacting with elements, providing smooth and concise visual feedback without unnecessary repetition.


Animations offer granular control over the entire sequence through techniques like keyframes and precise timing adjustments. Keyframes enable specifying specific states or properties at different points in time, allowing for intricate and custom animations. Additionally, timing functions enable fine-tuning the speed and easing of transitions between keyframes, ensuring smooth and polished motion.

Transitions, in contrast, provide less control as they are often limited to choosing from pre-defined transition effects like fading, sliding, or scaling. While transitions offer simplicity and ease of implementation, they lack the detailed control afforded by animations, making them suitable for straightforward state changes or scene transitions within user interfaces.


Animations add movement and visual interest to individual elements within a scene, enhancing their appearance and emphasizing specific information. They can draw attention to important elements, guide user focus, or communicate changes in interface states, contributing to a more engaging and dynamic user experience.

Transitions, on the other hand, create smooth and visually appealing connections between different scenes or contexts within an interface. They ensure continuity and coherence during transitions between screens, views, or states, enhancing the overall flow and usability of the interface. By seamlessly connecting disparate elements, transitions contribute to a more cohesive and polished user experience.


Animations add movement and visual interest to individual elements, emphasizing information and enhancing user engagement. They offer fine control over sequences and timing, often triggered by various events like user interactions. Transitions, on the other hand, provide smooth connections between different scenes or contexts, ensuring continuity and coherence in interface transitions, typically playing once and offering less control over the effects.