How to Make Smooth Animations on Android (3 Methods)

As nice as stock Android can be, there are always factors that can be improved. While it may sound like I’m talking about rooting, there are plenty of steps you can take to get the most out of your phone without a root. I’ll be talking about one of those steps today, and that step has to deal with Android animations.

There are multiple ways to speed up or smooth out Android animations; you could tweak the current ones with developer options, change launchers to get a different set of animations to play with, or create different ones entirely with Android Studio tools. The bulk of this article will be talking about Android Studio, but I’ll touch on Developer Options and launchers quickly.

Method 1: Developer Options

If you’re a little more tech oriented then most, you most likely know what the developer options are all about. Using these options, you can change the animation duration scale of transitions, windows, and general animations.

For those that aren’t aware, I’ll go over them quickly.

Step 1: Open up your device’s Settings.

settings

Step 2: If Developer Options are not active:

  • Scroll down to About phone
  • Find your Build Number
  • Tap the number seven times
  • Congratulations, you’re now a developer!

If or when Developer Options are active:

developer-options
  • Scroll down to Developer Options
  • Scroll until you reach Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale.
  • From here, set the scale of different animations as you like and then note the differences.
  • If no difference is apparent, a reboot may be required.

Keep checking the undesirable animations on your device as you play with the settings, if you cannot reach the desired result, you may need to try other methods.

Method 2: A New Launcher

If you aren’t looking to get into Android development to get smoother animations, and a few simple edits to the settings in your Developer Options didn’t do the trick, maybe a new launcher can suit your needs?

Depending on the launcher, the animations on your phone may be different. If you’ve stuck with the stock launcher all this time, why not try out a few new launchers to see if you like the animations included? Most launchers on the Google Play market have ways to change the speed and appearance of animations.

Solo Launcher

If you venture outside of Google Play, there could be even further customizable launcher animations available. For most launchers it won’t be required that you root your phone, but there may be one you want to try that requires a root. Always make sure to check any app description to see if it mentions rooting being required.

It may take some time to find the launcher you like, but searching for launchers with the animations you want is a much easier task instead of developing the animations yourself. As a personal recommendation, Solo Launcher may just have the smooth animations you’re looking for.

Download at Google play7

Method 3: Android Studio Development

If editing the animations you already have won’t do, and additional launchers can’t suit your needs, why not create those smooth animations yourself? With Android Studio you can develop animations to use on your Android device, free of charge.

If you aren’t already familiar with Android development using Android Studio, I’ll be going over a few basics to help you get started, the steps you need to take to start creating animations, and point you in the right directions to put complex animations together.

As a warning, using Android Studio will require Java code knowledge, and this explanation below will assume you have this knowledge going forward.

The first thing you’ll need to do is download Android Studio on your PC. The files are fairly large—for those of you with limited or throttled bandwidth, heed the warning.

Android Studio Download

android-studio-download

There are downloads available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, so it doesn’t matter what operating system your PC has under its hood, you should be able to make use of Android Studio.

You’ll probably want to install Android Studio as soon as you download it, but before that, you’ll need an up-to-date Java SE Development Kit. If you don’t have at least Java NetBeans v7, you can find a pack to download to get yourself up-to-date.

Download Java NetBeans

Now that you have the latest Java SE Development Kit, install it before installing Android Studio. If you install Android Studio before Java SE, you’ll be prompted to search for up-to-date Java SE files before the installation can continue.

Now that Java SE has been properly updated and installed, you can start installing Android Studio. During the installation Android Studio may need to download additional files. These files will be downloaded through the installer, but I thought they warranted a mention.

Installation could take more than just a few minutes depending on your internet connection speed, so be prepared.

Once Android Studio has finished installing and downloading everything it needs to operate, it should open up a window for you to get started.

There’s a lot here, so you should take a quick look at the first window before continuing.

android-studio-main

Primarily, you’ll be dealing with the first option so you can create a new animation. However, there are import options below that you can load sample animation into.

Back on the Android developers website, there is an additional download available for sample animations.

Sample Animations

sample-animations

The download size is fairly small, but it is a compressed package. After unzipping the file, you’ll find a series of folders with different Java files representing different animations. These can be used in Android Studio to gain a better understanding of what it takes to code an animation correctly.

Just starting a project from scratch in Android Studio can be a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what type of animation you want to make in the first place.

Before I dive into the three different systems of animation capable in Android Studio, take a look at this tutorial by Android Developers to help get your bearings with the program:

As mentioned before, there are three different systems of animation in Android Studio. They are as follows:

  • First is Property Animation. This system is all about taking an object and changing its properties to suit your needs or desires.
https://www.youtube.com/user/androiddevelopers
  • Second is View Animation. This system deals with tweaking animations, such as rotations, size changes, and other simple transformations.
  • Third, but certainly not last, is Drawable Animation. This system works almost like a flip book, where you take several different drawable images and place them one after another to create an animation.

If you’re looking to create transitional animations, View Animation is most likely the system you want to learn about.

After you know the direction you want to pursue, you’ll need to know how to create your desired animation. Unfortunately, detailing how to make every possible animation in Android Studio would be close to impossible.

As such, the Android Developer website features an extensive guide on each animation topic, and provides examples. Additionally, where View Animation is concerned, a video detailing this can be found here:

If Android development interests you enough to create better animations, I urge you to take a look at the developer guides.

Conclusion

Having smooth animations on your Android device can be as easy as tweaking a few numbers in your Developer Options, or as complex as coding new ones entirely to implement. For the latter, there are several helpful guides on the Android developer website, and for the former you can take care of with just a few taps.

Do you know any other methods for making smoother animations on your Android device? Feel free to share them in the comments below, and while you’re at it, why not share what launcher you think has the best animations?

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