Page Transitions in React Router with Framer Motion

Framer Motion Nov 12, 2019

A benefit of doing client-side routing is, as developers, we have more control over how we want to handle the transition from one page to the next. With React Router, we gain fine-grained control at a per-component level. Let's take advantage of this and animate the transition between different routes with the help of Framer Motion.

What we're creating

The final animation, slide-in, scale up and fade-in from the left and slide-out, scale-up and fade-out to the right

The tutorial focuses on a step-by-step approach to animating a React app which is using React Router for routing. We'll start with a simple fade-in/fade-out animation by animating the opacity of the component. We'll then look at how we can animate the position to create a slide animation and finally we can leverage multiple variants (animation states) to have a different animation for mounting and unmounting the components when the route changes.

The video tutorial

Video tutorial explaining how to animate page transitions with Framer Motion

Animating mount and unmount

AnimatePresence is the key component for easily animating the route transitions. It's job is to determine whether a component is mounting or unmounting and play an animation on our <motion /> components. The routes we want to animate are within the <Switch/> component will mount and unmount but we also need to tell AnimatePresence if we want to animate at all, this is where the key prop comes in. We don't want to trigger an animation when we navigate to the same route, using the location.pathname as the key results in an animation which only triggers when we change to a new route.

<AnimatePresence>
  <Switch location={location} key={location.pathname}>
    <Route path="/about" component={About} />
    <Route path="/settings" component={Settings} />
    <Route path="/" component={Home} />
  </Switch>
</AnimatePresence>

Variants

Using variants in Framer Motion is an easy way to define the different animation states we want to transition between. Take the following example:

const pageVariants = {
  initial: {
    opacity: 0,
  },
  in: {
    opacity: 1,
  },
  out: {
    opacity: 0,
  }
};

We can now reuse the animations we defined in pageVariants, initial will be state which the component starts on. When the component mounts, it will animate from the initial state to the in state. AnimatePresence adds another state to our component which it expects to also be defined, exit. When the component unmounts, it will animate between the in and out defined in our animate and exit props respectively.

<motion.div
  initial="initial"
  animate="in"
  exit="out"
  variants={pageVariants}
>

We leverage this behaviour in React Router. As the route changes the Switch component determines which component to show. Each component is wrapped in a <motion.div> with animation states defined and thus the transition animations are played. It's as easy as that.

Where to go from here

Framer Motion is easy to use and page transitions aren't too difficult to get working, I recommend experimenting with different transitions and getting comfortable with animations and variants. For more information, the Framer Motion documentation is a great place to start - it has simple examples to learn form.

Resources

Seth Corker

My main focus is JavaScript specialising in frontend UI with React. I like to explore different frameworks and technologies in my spare time. Learning languages (programming and real life) is a blast.