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JavaScript Animation Play State: Controlling the Animation Playback


Animation plays a crucial role in web development, bringing life and interactivity to websites and applications. It helps in creating engaging user experiences by adding visual elements that capture attention and communicate information effectively. JavaScript provides powerful tools to control and manipulate animations, allowing developers to have fine-grained control over the playback of animations. One important aspect of animation control is the play state, which determines whether an animation is running, paused, or idle. Understanding and utilizing the JavaScript animation play state can greatly enhance the user experience and provide more control over animations.

Play States in JavaScript Animation

In JavaScript animation, there are three play states: running, paused, and idle.

The running state is the default state of an animation. When an animation is in the running state, it is actively playing and progressing through its timeline.

The paused state allows you to pause an animation at a specific point in time. When an animation is paused, it will stop at its current state until it is resumed.

The idle state represents the initial state of an animation before it is started or after it has completed. In the idle state, the animation is not actively playing or paused.

To change the play state of an animation using JavaScript, you can use the playState property. This property allows you to check the current play state of an animation or set a new play state.

Here is an example of how to change the play state of an animation to paused:

animation.playState = 'paused';

By changing the play state, you have control over the playback of the animation, allowing you to pause, resume, or restart it as needed.

Pausing an Animation

Pausing an animation using JavaScript is a useful feature that allows you to temporarily halt the playback of an animation. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where you want to pause an animation during user interaction or when a specific condition is met.

To pause an animation, you can make use of the pause() method. This method is available on the animation object and can be called to pause the animation at its current state.

Here is an example code snippet that demonstrates how to pause an animation using JavaScript:

const element = document.getElementById('animated-element');
const animation = element.animate(keyframes, options);

// Pause the animation

In the code snippet above, we first obtain a reference to the element that we want to animate using its id. We then create an animation by calling the animate() method on the element. The animate() method takes in two arguments: keyframes (which defines the animation sequence) and options (which specifies the animation duration, timing function, etc.).

Once the animation is created, we can then call the pause() method on the animation object to pause the animation at its current state.

By pausing the animation, the element will remain in its current animated state until the animation is resumed or restarted.

Remember to replace 'animated-element' with the actual id of the element you want to animate in your code.

Pausing an animation provides you with greater control over the playback of your animations, allowing you to create more interactive and dynamic user experiences on your website.

Playing an Animation

In JavaScript, playing an animation involves using the play() method. This method is used to start or resume the playback of an animation that has been paused or is in the idle state.

To play an animation, you first need to select the element that you want to animate using JavaScript. This can be done by selecting the element using its class, id, or any other valid selector. Once you have selected the element, you can call the play() method on it to start playing the animation.

Here is an example code snippet that demonstrates how to play an animation using JavaScript:

// Select the element to animate
var element = document.querySelector('.box');

// Play the animation;

In this example, the querySelector() method is used to select the element with the class .box. The play() method is then called on the selected element to start playing the animation associated with it.

It's important to note that if an animation is already playing, calling the play() method again will have no effect. The animation will continue playing without any interruption.

Manipulating Playback Speed

In JavaScript, we have the ability to manipulate the playback speed of an animation. This allows us to control how fast or slow the animation plays.

The playback speed is controlled using the playbackRate property. This property can be set to a value greater than 1 to speed up the animation, or less than 1 to slow it down. A value of 1 represents the normal playback speed.

To manipulate the playback speed of an animation, we first need to access the animation element. We can do this by selecting the element using JavaScript or by using CSS selectors. Once we have access to the element, we can use the playbackRate property to set the desired playback speed.

Here's an example code snippet that demonstrates manipulating the playback speed of an animation:

// Select the animation element
const animationElement = document.getElementById('animation');

// Set the playback speed to 2x
animationElement.playbackRate = 2;

In the above code snippet, we select the animation element using getElementById and store it in the animationElement variable. Then, we set the playbackRate property of the animationElement to 2, which will make the animation play at double the normal speed.

By manipulating the playback speed, we can create various effects in our animations. For example, we can create slow-motion effects by setting the playback rate to a value less than 1, or we can create fast-forward effects by setting it to a value greater than 1. The ability to control the playback speed adds an extra level of flexibility and creativity to our animations.

Handling Animation End

When working with animations in JavaScript, it is often necessary to know when an animation has finished. This allows us to perform additional actions or trigger other events after the animation is complete. To achieve this, we can use the animationend event.

The animationend event is fired when an animation has completed its playback. By listening for this event, we can execute a function or perform any desired actions.

To handle the animation end event, we can use the addEventListener method to attach an event listener to the animated element. Here is an example code snippet demonstrating the usage of the animationend event:

const animatedElement = document.querySelector('.animated-element');

animatedElement.addEventListener('animationend', () => {
  // Animation has ended, perform additional actions here
  console.log('Animation has finished!');

In the example above, we select an element with the class name "animated-element" using querySelector. Then, we attach an event listener using addEventListener, specifying the "animationend" event and providing a callback function. Inside the callback function, we can perform any actions we want once the animation has finished.

It's important to note that the animationend event will only be triggered when an animation completes its full playback, including any iterations or delays defined in the animation properties.

By utilizing the animationend event, we can easily detect when an animation has finished and respond accordingly. This allows us to create more dynamic and interactive animations in our web applications.


In this article, we explored the concept of JavaScript animation play state and its significance in controlling the playback of animations. We learned about the three play states: running, paused, and idle, and how they affect the animation's behavior.

To recap, the default play state of an animation is running, meaning it starts playing as soon as it is created. However, we can change the play state using JavaScript to pause or play the animation as desired.

We learned that pausing an animation can be done using the pause() method, which temporarily halts the animation at its current position. On the other hand, playing an animation can be achieved using the play() method, which resumes a paused animation or starts a new one.

We also explored how to manipulate the playback speed of an animation using the playbackRate property. By adjusting this property, we can make an animation play faster or slower, allowing for creative control over the timing and pacing of the animation.

Lastly, we discussed how to handle the end of an animation by using the animationend event. This event is triggered when the animation completes, allowing us to perform additional actions or trigger other events in response.

In conclusion, JavaScript animation play state is a powerful feature that gives developers control over the playback of animations. By experimenting with different play states, we can create dynamic and interactive animations that enhance the user experience on websites and applications. So, go ahead and explore the possibilities of animation play state in JavaScript to bring your designs to life.