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iOS Animations by Tutorials

Section IV: Layer Animations

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10. Getting Started With Layer Animations
Written by Marin Todorov

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Layer animations work much like view animations; you simply animate a property between a start and an end value over a defined period of time and let Core Animation take care of the rendering in between.

However, layers have a bigger number of animatable properties than views; this gives you a lot of choice and flexibility when it comes to designing your effects; many specialized CALayer subclasses add other properties that you can use in your animations.

This chapter will introduce you to the basics of CALayer and Core Animation. You’ll get a feel for working with animations in layers; you’ll learn how to move layers around, fade them in and out and create animations comparable to the ones you created using UIKit.

Animatable Properties

Some of the animatable properties in CALayer correspond directly to the view properties you worked with in previous chapters, such as frame, position and opacity. You’ll see both the familiar and the new animatable properties used in layer animation in this chapter. You’ll re-create some of the earlier view animations but with layers, so you can draw the parallels and see for yourself where the similarities end — and where the new possibilities begin.

Position and Size




Your First Layer Animation

You’ll begin with the completed Bahama Air login screen project from the end of Chapter 5, “Transitions”. As always, you can build on your previous work or open the starter project included with this chapter. -= view.bounds.width
UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.5) { += self.view.bounds.width

let flyRight = CABasicAnimation(keyPath: "position.x")
flyRight.fromValue = -view.bounds.size.width / 2
flyRight.toValue = view.bounds.size.width / 2
flyRight.duration = 0.5
heading.layer.add(flyRight, forKey: nil)

More Elaborate Layer Animations

You’ve handled the title layer on your login screen; your next task is to take care of the username field. -= view.bounds.width
UIView.animateWithDuration(0.5, delay: 0.3, 
  usingSpringWithDamping: 0.6, initialSpringVelocity: 0, 
  animations: { += self.view.bounds.width
  completion: nil
username.layer.add(flyRight, forKey: nil)

flyRight.beginTime = CACurrentMediaTime() + 0.3

Using fillMode

The fillMode property lets you control the behavior of your animation at the beginning and end of its sequence.


CAMediaTimingFillMode.backwards displays the first frame of your animation instantly on the screen, regardless of the actual start time of the animation, and starts the animation at a later time.


CAMediaTimingFillMode.forwards plays the animation as usual, but retains the final frame of the animation on the screen until you remove the animation:


CAMediaTimingFillMode.both is a combination of forwards and backwards; as you’d expect, this makes the first frame of the animation appear on the screen immediately and retains the final frame on the screen when the animation is finished:

flyRight.fillMode = .both -= view.bounds.width
UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.5, delay: 0.4, options: .curveEaseOut, animations: { += self.view.bounds.width
}, completion: nil)
flyRight.beginTime = CACurrentMediaTime() + 0.4
password.layer.add(flyRight, forKey: nil)

Animations vs. real content

First, you’ll put the text fields off screen at the start of the animation. For testing purposes, add the following code to the start of viewWillAppear():

username.layer.position.x -= view.bounds.width
password.layer.position.x -= view.bounds.width
flyRight.fromValue = nil

flyRight.isRemovedOnCompletion = false

Updating the Layer Model

Once you remove a layer animation from the screen, the layer falls back to its current values for position and other properties. This means that you’ll usually need to update the properties of your layer to reflect the final values of your animation.

flyRight.isRemovedOnCompletion = false
username.layer.position.x = view.bounds.size.width / 2
password.layer.position.x = view.bounds.size.width / 2
flyRight.fromValue = nil

Best Practices

Whoa — this was a long chapter! You tried out a ton of different layer animation techniques, and that’s just the start!

Key Points


You covered a lot of ground in this chapter; if you want to really test that you’ve retained all of the concepts covered in each section, feel free to take on the challenges below.

Challenge 1: Fade in the Clouds With Layer Animations

In this challenge, you’ll replace the UIKit cloud animations from Chapter 3, “Getting Started With View Animations” with layer animations instead.

Challenge 2: Animating Colors

In this challenge you’ll re-create the Log In button tint animation.

self.loginButton.backgroundColor = UIColor(red: 0.85, green: 0.83, blue: 0.45, alpha: 1.0)
self.loginButton.backgroundColor = UIColor(red: 0.63, green: 0.84, blue: 0.35, alpha: 1.0)
func tintBackgroundColor(layer: CALayer, toColor: UIColor)
let tintColor = UIColor(red: 0.85, green: 0.83, blue: 0.45, alpha: 1.0)

tintBackgroundColor(layer: loginButton.layer, toColor: tintColor)

completion: { _ in
  let tintColor = UIColor(red: 0.63, green: 0.84, blue: 0.35, alpha: 1.0)
  tintBackgroundColor(layer: self.loginButton.layer, toColor: tintColor)

Challenge 3: Animating Corner Radius

In this challenge you won’t recreate one of your existing view animations; instead, you’ll animate the layer specific property cornerRadius. Just like you did in Challenge 2 above, create the following new top-level function in ViewController.swift:

func roundCorners(layer: CALayer, toRadius: CGFloat)
roundCorners(layer: loginButton.layer, toRadius: 25.0)
roundCorners(layer: self.loginButton.layer, toRadius: 10.0)

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