Building a Studio Landing Page with JavaScript and GSAP's ScrollTrigger Plugin

June 9, 2022

Animations enhance the appeal of a site, as well as improve the user experience while navigating the website. The Greensock Animation platform, popularly known as GSAP is a JavaScript animation library that can animate DOM elements, canvas, SVG, CSS properties, generic JavaScript objects, and so much more.

Popular websites such as Codesandbox, Drupal, Nvidia, Gitlab, and many others use this tool for their animations. GSAP introduced a plugin called ScrollTrigger for creating scroll interactions.

The ScrollTrigger library is an improvement of scroll-driven animation. However, it’s flexible, user-friendly, and supports vertical and horizontal scrolling.

In this tutorial, we will build a studio landing page that uses GSAP for animations and ScrollTrigger to trigger animations.

The goal is to learn about the GSAP ScrollTrigger plugin and its properties, as well as how to use it to trigger animations.

Prerequisites

To follow along, the reader will need:

  • A code editor installed (such as VS Code).
  • Basic knowledge of GSAP.
  • A good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Table of contents

Why use the GSAP ScrollTrigger Plugin

GSAP makes it possible to animate anything on your webpage as long as JavaScript is enabled. Let’s say you decide to animate the three cubes as shown in the image below:

Codepen

Youll notice that the animations work perfectly fine. It’s a group of tweens, each enabling the square to rotate at 360 degrees horizontally.

You can read more about GSAP here.

A problem arises when an object is off-screen. You’ll notice that the animation is played before you scroll to that section, which prevents you from seeing it.

ScrollTrigger plugin fixes this issue while enabling you to control when the animations should start.

Getting familiar with the ScrollTrigger plugin

Before starting the coding section, let’s understand ScrollTrigger’s features.

The modified Codepen demo can be found here.

Trigger

This scrollTrigger property shows the point where we want the animation to begin. The name of the object to be animated is passed as the value of the trigger property.

In this case, the trigger should be denoted as trigger: square. From the Codepen, the third square only animates when we are in the third square’s (’.yellow’) viewport.

Start

The ScrollTrigger activates when the top of the animated object enters the bottom of the viewport or scroller. You can change the start position using the start property.

It takes values such as top, bottom, center. In the Codepen demo, it was assigned as start: 'top center'. This tells the animation to start when the top of the third square hits the center of the viewport.

End

The animation deactivates when the bottom of the animated object hits the top of the viewport by default.

The end property is implemented as end: 'bottom top'. The animation stops when the bottom of the third square hits the top of the viewport.

Scrub

Scrub makes the animation catch up with the scroll trigger. It links the animation progress with the scrollbar’s position.

Setting the value to true smoothens things up i.e scrub: true. You can also set a value for the scrub to create a delay e.g scrub: 0.5.

toggleActions

ToggleAction controls how the animation behaves when it enters onEnter, onLeave, onEnterBack, and onLeaveBack toggle phases.

Examples of possible values it can take include: play, pause, restart, resume, none, reverse. To add the toggleAction property, use the following syntax:

toggleActions: 'play pause resume pause'.

Here, you want the animation to play when it enters the screen/viewport (onEnter). When we scroll past the viewport(onLeave) it pauses, but notice that it resumes when we enter back into the viewport(onEnterBack) - it unfreezes the paused animation.

The final position is set to handle when we scroll back beyond the viewport (onLeaveBack), we set this to pause.

A toggleAction property improves the performance by animating only views visible on the screen.

Creating the project

Create a folder on your desktop and label it as GSAPlandingpage. Open the folder in VS code and create index.html, style.css, and index.js files.

Next, create a folder titled images to hold all the pictures that we will be using. You can find the entire files and images in this GitHub Repo.

Adding content to the HTML file

Add the following contents to the HTML file that you created:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    <title>Document</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" />
    <script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/gsap/3.9.1/gsap.min.js"></script>
    <script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/gsap/3.9.1/ScrollTrigger.min.js"></script>
    <script src="index.js" defer></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <header class="header">
      <nav>
        <div class="navbar">
          <img src="images/logo.svg" alt="" />
          <ul>
            <li>
              <a href="#">About</a>
            </li>
            <li>
              <a href="#">Careers</a>
            </li>
            <li>
              <a href="#">Events</a>
            </li>
            <li>
              <a href="#">Products</a>
            </li>
            <li>
              <a href="#">Supports</a>
            </li>
          </ul>

          <img class="hamburger" src="images/icon-hamburger.svg" alt="" />
        </div>
        <div class="advert">
          <h1>IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES THAT DELIVER</h1>
        </div>
      </nav>
    </header>
    <section>
      <div class="img-div">
        <img
          class="interactive-img"
          src="./images/image-interactive.jpg"
          alt="vr-image"
        />
      </div>

      <div class="interactive-div">
        <h3>THE LEADER IN INTERACTIVE VR</h3>
        <p>
          Founded in 2011, Loopstudios has been producing world-class virtual
          reality projects for some of the best companies around the globe. Our
          award-winning creations have transformed businesses through digital
          experiences that bind to their brand.
        </p>
      </div>
    </section>
    <article>
      <div class="label">
        <h3>OUR CREATIONS</h3>
        <button>SEE ALL</button>
      </div>
      <div class="photos">
        <div class="box img-box1">
          <img src="images/image-deep-earth.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>DEEP EARTH</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box2">
          <img src="images/image-night-arcade.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>NIGHT ARCADE</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box3">
          <img src="images/image-soccer-team.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>SOCCER TEAM VR</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box4">
          <img src="images/image-grid.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>THE GRID</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box5">
          <img src="images/image-from-above.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>FROM UP ABOVE VR</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box6">
          <img src="images/image-pocket-borealis.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>POCKET BOREALIS</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box7">
          <img src="images/image-curiosity.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>THE CURIOSITY</p>
        </div>
        <div class="box img-box8">
          <img src="images/image-fisheye.jpg" alt="" />
          <p>MAKE IT FISHEYE</p>
        </div>
      </div>
    </article>
    <div class="virtual-reality">
      <img
        class="layer"
        src="https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2021/11/22/00/02/interior-design-6815493__340.jpg"
        alt=""
      />
      <img
        class="layer"
        src="https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2022/03/03/21/30/vr-7046094__340.jpg"
        alt=""
      />
      <img
        class="layer"
        src="https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2021/12/24/13/01/vr-6891052__340.jpg"
        alt=""
      />
      <img
        class="layer"
        src="https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2021/12/26/03/48/earth-6894160__340.jpg"
        alt=""
      />
      <img
        class="layer"
        src="https://media.istockphoto.com/vectors/astronaut-looking-on-earth-from-alien-planet-vector-id1324630423?k=20&m=1324630423&s=612x612&w=0&h=b1-F0bexQ28zFZEl4igb1Nlda6zkmjDu_goGv3dg-Xc="
        alt=""
      />
    </div>
    <footer>
      <div class="logos">
        <img src="images/logo.svg" alt="" />
        <div class="icons">
          <img src="images/icon-facebook.svg" alt="" />
          <img src="images/icon-twitter.svg" alt="" />
          <img src="images/icon-pinterest.svg" alt="" />
          <img src="images/icon-instagram.svg" alt="" />
        </div>
      </div>
      <div class="bottom">
        <ul id="footer-list">
          <li>
            <a href="#">About</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a href="#">Careers</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a href="#">Events</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a href="#">Products</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a href="#">Support</a>
          </li>
        </ul>
        <p>&copy 2021 Loopstudios. All rights reserved.</p>
      </div>
    </footer>
  </body>
</html>

The above HTML document has the header, section, article, and footer.

Styling the landing page

To make the HTML page more appealing, paste the following CSS styles in the style.css file.

@import url("https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Josefin+Sans:wght@100;200;300;400&display=swap");
@import url("https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Alata&display=swap");
* {
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  box-sizing: border-box;
}

body {
  font-family: "Alata", sans-serif;
  color: blue;
  overflow-x: hidden;
}
h1 {
  color: #fff;
  font-size: 4rem;
  font-weight: 100;
}
p {
  font-size: 15px;
}
header {
  background-image: url("./images/image-hero.jpg");
  max-width: 100%;
  height: 80vh;
}
.virtual-reality {
  justify-content: center;
  align-items: center;
}
.virtual-reality img {
  display: block;
  margin: 2rem auto;
  height: 80vh;
  width: 80vw;
}

nav {
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  width: 85%;
  margin: 0rem auto;
}
.navbar {
  display: flex;
  width: 100%;
  justify-content: space-between;
  padding: 3rem 0;
}
.hamburger {
  display: none;
}

h3 {
  color: #fff;
}
ul {
  display: flex;
  gap: 2rem;
}
li {
  list-style-type: none;
}
a {
  font-family: inherit;
  text-decoration: none;
  color: #fff;
  font-size: 15px;
  padding-bottom: 0.7rem;
}
a:hover {
  border-bottom: 3px solid #fff;
}
a.active {
  border-bottom: 3px solid #fff;
}

.advert {
  width: 50%;
  display: flex;
  margin-top: 3rem;
  padding: 1rem;
  text-align: left;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  border: 1px solid #fff;
}

.advert h1 {
  max-width: 100%;
}

section {
  width: 85%;
  position: relative;
  display: flex;
  margin: 3.5rem auto 7rem auto;
  justify-content: space-between;
}

.interactive-img {
  display: block;
}

.interactive-div {
  position: absolute;
  left: 55%;
  background: #fff;
  bottom: 0;
  padding: 4rem 0 0 4rem;

  max-width: 600px;
}

h3 {
  letter-spacing: 3px;
  font-weight: 100;
  margin-bottom: 1rem;
  color: #000;
  font-size: 3rem;
}

section p {
  font-size: 15px;
  line-height: 1.5;
  color: hsl(0, 0%, 55%);
}

article {
  width: 85%;
  margin: 1rem auto;
}

.img-div {
  /* visibility: hidden; */
  overflow: hidden;
}

.img-div img {
  transform-origin: left;
}

img {
  cursor: pointer;
  max-width: 100%;
}

.label {
  display: flex;
  margin-bottom: 3rem;
  justify-content: space-between;
}

.label h3 {
  color: black;
  font-size: 2.5rem;
}

article button {
  cursor: pointer;
  border: none;
  padding: 0.1rem 3rem;
  background-color: #000;
  color: #fff;
  letter-spacing: 2px;
}

.photos {
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  width: 100%;
  justify-content: space-between;
}

.photos img {
  margin-bottom: 1rem;
}

.photos img:hover {
  opacity: 0.5;
}

.img-box1,
.img-box2,
.img-box3,
.img-box4,
.img-box5,
.img-box6,
.img-box7,
.img-box8 {
  position: relative;
}
.img-box1 p,
.img-box2 p,
.img-box3 p,
.img-box4 p,
.img-box5 p,
.img-box6 p,
.img-box7 p,
.img-box8 p {
  position: absolute;
  font-weight: 100;
  padding: 5px;
  left: 1rem;
  width: 60%;
  font-size: 2rem;
  bottom: 2.5rem;
  color: #fff;
}
footer {
  background-color: #000;
  padding: 2rem 0;
  margin-top: 4rem;
}
.logos {
  width: 85%;
  margin: 1rem auto 1rem auto;
  display: flex;
  justify-content: space-between;
}
.logos h3 {
  color: #fff;
  align-items: center;
}
.icons img {
  margin-left: 0.5rem;
  padding-bottom: 5px;
}
.icons img:hover {
  border-bottom: 3px solid #fff;
}
.bottom {
  width: 85%;
  justify-content: space-between;
  display: flex;
  margin: 0 auto;
}
footer p {
  color: hsl(0, 0%, 55%);
}
#footer-list {
  display: flex;
  justify-content: space-between;
}

@media screen and (max-width: 600px) {
  nav {
    width: 100%;
  }
  .navbar {
    margin: 0 1rem;
  }
  .hamburger {
    display: flex;
  }

  .advert {
    width: 85%;
    margin: 0 auto;
    justify-content: center;
  }
  header {
    background-size: cover;
  }
  .navbar ul {
    display: none;
  }
  .interactive-div {
    width: 90%;
    text-align: center;
    position: relative;
    left: 0;
    padding-left: 0;
    padding-right: 0;
    margin: 0 auto;
  }
  .label {
    width: 100%;
    flex-direction: column;
    justify-content: center;
    align-items: center;
    text-align: center;
  }
  .label h3 {
    margin: 0 auto;
  }

  section {
    width: 95%;
    flex-direction: column;
  }
  article {
    width: 95%;
    justify-content: center;
  }
  .interactive-img {
    width: 100%;
  }
  .photos {
    margin: 0 auto;

    flex-direction: column;
    width: 100%;
  }
  .virtual-reality {
    margin-bottom: 2rem;
  }
  .virtual-reality img {
    height: 50vh;
  }

  .img-box1 img,
  .img-box2 img,
  .img-box3 img,
  .img-box4 img,
  .img-box5 img,
  .img-box6 img,
  .img-box7 img,
  .img-box8 img {
    max-width: 100%;
    width: 100%;
    height: 50vh;
    margin: 1rem 0;
  }
  .bottom {
    flex-direction: column;
    align-items: center;
  }
  footer {
    position: sticky;
    height: 35vh;
  }
  #footer-list {
    flex-direction: column;
    margin: 0 auto;
    gap: 0.5rem;
  }

  .logos {
    align-items: center;
    justify-content: center;
    flex-direction: column;
    margin: 0.2rem auto;
  }
}

@media screen and (max-width: 900px) {
  .advert h1 {
    font-size: 2.5rem;
  }
}

You now have a responsive website but without animations.

Animating the website using GSAP and ScrollTrigger

Note that CDNs for Gsap and scrollTrigger were added using the script tag in the head of the HTML file. It would be impossible to create animations and trigger them on scroll without registering them.

Edit the index.js file as follows:

//Registering the scrollTrigger plugin
gsap.registerPlugin(ScrollTrigger);

//Animating the advert div with GSAP
gsap.fromTo(
  ".advert",
  { xPercent: 30 },
  { duration: 3, xPercent: 0, ease: "bounce" }
);

//Animating the Section elements
gsap
  .timeline()
  .from(".img-div img", {
    xPercent: -100,
    duration: 1,
    scrollTrigger: {
      trigger: ".img-div",
      start: "top center",
      end: "bottom center",
      scrub: true,
    },
  })
  .fromTo(
    ".interactive-div",
    { yPercent: -50, scale: 0.5 },
    {
      opacity: 1,
      yPercent: 0,
      scale: 1,
      scrollTrigger: {
        trigger: ".interactive-div",
        start: "top center",
        end: "bottom center",
        scrub: true,
      },
    }
  );

In the code above, the scrollTrigger plugin was first registered to enable the animation of elements. Simple animation is created for the .advert class using gsap.fromTo.

The animation starts near the middle of the page xPercent: 30 to the left xPercent: 0. It bounces ease: bounce when it reaches the end. The entire animation takes place in three seconds.

A timeline is then created to control all tweens. The img-div image is animated from the left of its container using xPercent:-100. Note that this doesn’t animate on scroll yet.

Therefore, the scrollTrigger property is added and the trigger targets the img-div class. The image is set to begin animating when the picture reaches the center of the page and should end when the bottom is at the center.

The scrub is added to synchronize the progress of the animation on the scroll. The same process is repeated for the interactive-div which contains the text. The element is animated from the middle (50%) of its container to the bottom (0%). Its scale increases from 0.5 to 1.0 and it takes the scrub property to ensure a smooth animation.

Now, let’s animate the article section of the website. Copy and paste the following code into your index.js file:

// Animating the article images
gsap.to(".box", 1, {
  scale: 0.3,
  y: 60,
  yoyo: true,
  repeat: -1,
  ease: "power1.inOut",
  delay: 2,
  stagger: {
    amount: 1.5,
    grid: "auto",
    from: "center",
  },
});

GSAP’s stagger property is used above to create a start time lag between each .box class animation. The .box class which contains the image is reduced in scale from 1 to 0.3. It moves down the y-axis by 50px.

The yoyo: true and repeat: -1 properties ensure that each box image animation waits for the entire animation to complete before restarting the whole sequence. It eases gently and then moves faster and a delay time of 2 seconds is set.

The stagger property as an object, takes in amount: 1.5 which is the total time that is split between staggers. In this case, 1.5/8 = 0.187 seconds is the time between each image’s animation, grid: auto automatically calculates the rows and columns for responsive layouts.

The from: center command indicates that you want the animation to begin from the center. Reload the website to see the beautiful animation.

The last step is to animate the metaverse images. We will put some color over the metaverse images when one scrolls down.

To do this, add the following code to the index.js file:

//Animating the Metaverse images
gsap.utils.toArray(".layer").forEach((layer, i) => {
  ScrollTrigger.create({
    trigger: layer,
    start: "top top",
    pin: true,
    pinSpacing: false,
  });
});

From the code above, you’ll notice all the metaverse images have a class of layer. GSAP makes an array off this class and allows looping through it using the forEach method.

For each layer, a scrollTrigger is created and the animation kicks off when the element reaches the top of the viewport. The current layer is pinned on top of the previous pin: true and the spacing between them is set to false.

The demo website can be found with this link.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned and applied the fundamental properties of GSAP’S scrollTrigger plugin by building a landing page.

You can, therefore, use this knowledge to craft other beautiful applications.

Happy coding!

Further reading


Peer Review Contributions by: Wanja Mike