SwiftUI Advanced Animation: Morphing Shapes

I'm going to show how complex SwiftUI views can be animated efficiently using VectorArithmetic protocol with Accelerate library for fast computations.

SwiftUI Advanced Animation: Morphing Shapes

The regular .animate() function already provides a powerful way of animating views. Yet, its usage is limited to simple transformations. In this guide, I'm going to show how complex SwiftUI views can be animated efficiently using VectorArithmetic protocol with Accelerate library for fast computations.

Inspiration

In the course of this guide, we will make a morphing sphere animation inspired by lava lamp bubbles. Some kind of wobbling lava bubbles.

💡
The proposed technique can be used in other even more complex animations
Wobbling bubble
Wobbling bubble

Creating custom animations

You may think about animation as a transition between two states. And this transition must be smooth! To display this smooth transition, SwiftUI needs to know how to draw in-between stages.

Smooth change between two shapes (states)
Smooth change between two shapes (states)

AnimatableVector

The key idea of the animation is to represent objects' states with properties that can change continuously.

For example, if we try to animate an object's positioning and it has integer coordinates, then creating in-between frames of an object smoothly moving from one coordinate to the other is impossible. On the opposite, if the object's position is represented by a floating-point variable, then we can gradually change the object's coordinate until the new coordinate is achieved.

The same goes for more complicated animations. But usually, states cannot be represented by a single float variable. In this case, we are going to use AnimatableVector. It represents a mathematical vector, conforming to VectorArithmetic protocol.

💡
If two animation stages are represented by objects conforming to VectorArithmetic protocol, then SwiftUI can compute in-between vectors and draw transitioning.

The AnimatableVector is pretty simple. We store an array of coordinates and define basic math operations for them. In the code below Accelerate is used for fast computations.

💥
Accelerate can introduce too much overhead when the vector contains only several values. So, if your animation can be represented with a few values, then consider rewriting operators without Accelerate
import enum Accelerate.vDSP

struct AnimatableVector: VectorArithmetic {
    var values: [Float]
    
    static var zero = AnimatableVector(values: [0.0])

    static func + (lhs: AnimatableVector, rhs: AnimatableVector) -> AnimatableVector {
        let count = min(lhs.values.count, rhs.values.count)
        return AnimatableVector(
            values: vDSP.add(
                lhs.values[0..<count],
                rhs.values[0..<count]
            )
        )
    }

    static func += (lhs: inout AnimatableVector, rhs: AnimatableVector) {
        let count = min(lhs.values.count, rhs.values.count)
        vDSP.add(
            lhs.values[0..<count],
            rhs.values[0..<count],
            result: &lhs.values[0..<count]
        )
    }

    static func - (lhs: AnimatableVector, rhs: AnimatableVector) -> AnimatableVector {
        let count = min(lhs.values.count, rhs.values.count)
        return AnimatableVector(
            values: vDSP.subtract(
                lhs.values[0..<count],
                rhs.values[0..<count]
            )
        )
    }

    static func -= (lhs: inout AnimatableVector, rhs: AnimatableVector) {
        let count = min(lhs.values.count, rhs.values.count)
        vDSP.subtract(
            lhs.values[0..<count],
            rhs.values[0..<count],
            result: &lhs.values[0..<count]
        )
    }

    mutating func scale(by rhs: Double) {
        vDSP.multiply(
            Float(rhs),
            values,
            result: &values
        )
    }

    var magnitudeSquared: Double {
        Double(
            vDSP.sum(
                vDSP.multiply(values, values)
            )
        )
    }
    
    var count: Int {
        values.count
    }
    
    subscript(_ i: Int) -> Float {
        get {
            values[i]
        } set {
            values[i] = newValue
        }
    }
}
Animatable vector

Wobbling bubble

So, as I already said, we need to define stages of animation with AnimatableVector so that SwiftUI will be able to magically draw all in-between frames.

To do this with a circle, we first need to somehow make it able to wobble. This is done through approximation with curves. To make the morphing effect, we will use AnimatableVector to modify the radius at every specific point.

That's it

The first coordinate of the vector will say how much must be added to the distance of the first approximation point. The second is for the second point and so on.

You can see in a gif below how the radius at every specific point changes and how SwiftUI changes it smoothly. Curves' control points are also displayed.

Under the hood of wobbling
Under the hood of wobbling
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Implementation

The concept of animation is determined. It's time to code!

As I said, the main idea is to approximate a circle with curves. There is an approximation of control points: (4/3)*tan(pi/(2n)) distance from a point in a circle with n segments.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1734745/how-to-create-circle-with-bézier-curves

We're going to represent the circle as an object conforming to Shape protocol. For SwiftUI to know what to animate, you need to define animatableData property. That's what SwiftUI is going to use to animate in-between frames.

var animatableData: AnimatableVector {
    get { animatedValue }
    set { animatedValue = newValue }
}

A little bit of linear algebra and all point coordinates are calculated. Some more advanced operations on CGVector and CGPoint are needed:

import Foundation
import SwiftUI

extension CGPoint {
    public static func +(lhs: CGPoint, rhs: CGPoint) -> CGPoint {
        CGPoint(x: lhs.x + rhs.x, y: lhs.y + rhs.y)
    }
    
    static func +(lhs: CGPoint, rhs: CGVector) -> CGPoint {
        CGPoint(x: lhs.x + rhs.dx, y: lhs.y + rhs.dy)
    }
    
    static func -(lhs: CGPoint, rhs: CGVector) -> CGPoint {
        CGPoint(x: lhs.x - rhs.dx, y: lhs.y - rhs.dy)
    }
    
    public static func -(lhs: CGPoint, rhs: CGPoint) -> CGPoint {
        CGPoint(x: lhs.x - rhs.x, y: lhs.y - rhs.y)
    }
    
    init(_ vec: CGVector) {
        self = CGPoint(x: vec.dx, y: vec.dy)
    }
}

extension CGPoint: VectorArithmetic {
    public mutating func scale(by rhs: Double) {
        x = CGFloat(rhs) * x
        y = CGFloat(rhs) * y
    }
    
    public var magnitudeSquared: Double {
        Double(x * x + y * y)
    }
    

}

extension CGVector {
    init(_ point: CGPoint) {
        self = CGVector(dx: point.x, dy: point.y)
    }
    
    func scalar(_ vec: CGVector) -> CGFloat {
        dx * vec.dx + dy * vec.dy
    }
    
    func len() -> CGFloat {
        sqrt(dx * dx + dy * dy)
    }
    
    func perpendicular() -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: -dy, dy: dx) / len()
    }
    
    static func *(lhs: CGVector, rhs: CGFloat) -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: lhs.dx * rhs, dy: lhs.dy * rhs)
    }
    
    static func *(lhs: CGFloat, rhs: CGVector) -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: rhs.dx * lhs, dy: rhs.dy * lhs)
    }
    
    static func /(lhs: CGVector, rhs: CGFloat) -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: lhs.dx / rhs, dy: lhs.dy / rhs)
    }
    
    static func -(lhs: CGVector, rhs: CGVector) -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: lhs.dx - rhs.dx, dy: lhs.dy - rhs.dy)
    }
    
    static func +(lhs: CGVector, rhs: CGVector) -> CGVector {
        CGVector(dx: lhs.dx + rhs.dx, dy: lhs.dy + rhs.dy)
    }
    
    func angle(_ rhs: CGVector) -> CGFloat {
        return acos(scalar(rhs) / (rhs.len() * len()))
    }
}

Finally, implementing Shape:

import SwiftUI
import Foundation

struct MorphingCircleShape: Shape {
    let pointsNum: Int
    var morphing: AnimatableVector
    let tangentCoeficient: CGFloat
    
    var animatableData: AnimatableVector {
        get { morphing }
        set { morphing = newValue }
    }
    
    // Calculates control points
    func getTwoTangent(center: CGPoint, point: CGPoint) -> (first: CGPoint, second: CGPoint) {
        let a = CGVector(center - point)
        let dir = a.perpendicular() * a.len() * tangentCoeficient
        return (point - dir, point + dir)
    }
    
    // Draw circle
    func path(in rect: CGRect) -> Path {
        var path = Path()
        let radius = min(rect.width / 2, rect.height / 2)
        let center =  CGPoint(x: rect.width / 2, y: rect.height / 2)
        var nextPoint = CGPoint.zero
        
        let ithPoint: (Int) -> CGPoint = { i in
            let point = center + CGPoint(x: radius * sin(CGFloat(i) * CGFloat.pi * CGFloat(2) / CGFloat(pointsNum)),
                                         y: radius * cos(CGFloat(i) * CGFloat.pi * CGFloat(2) / CGFloat(pointsNum)))
            var direction = CGVector(point - center)
            direction = direction / direction.len()
            return point + direction * CGFloat(morphing[i >= pointsNum ? 0 : i])
        }
        var tangentLast = getTwoTangent(center: center,
                                        point: ithPoint(pointsNum - 1))
        for i in (0...pointsNum){
            nextPoint = ithPoint(i)
            let tangentNow = getTwoTangent(center: center, point: nextPoint)
            if i != 0 {
                path.addCurve(to: nextPoint, control1: tangentLast.1, control2: tangentNow.0)
            } else {
                path.move(to: nextPoint)
            }
            tangentLast = tangentNow
        }
        
        path.closeSubpath()
        return path
    }
    
    
    init(_ morph: AnimatableVector) {
        pointsNum = morph.count
        morphing = morph
        tangentCoeficient = (4 / 3) * tan(CGFloat.pi / CGFloat(2 * pointsNum))
    }
}

Finally, we can use this shape in a View. To make a wobbling effect, we need to change the vector responsible for radius modification.

This can be done by timer.

Using Timer

We're going to randomly change the morphing vector in the timer's callback. Also, it looks weird to change all points at once, so we're going to animate only a subset of them.

struct MorphingCircle: View & Identifiable & Hashable {
    static func == (lhs: MorphingCircle, rhs: MorphingCircle) -> Bool {
        lhs.id == rhs.id
    }
    
    func hash(into hasher: inout Hasher) {
        hasher.combine(id)
    }
    
    let id = UUID()
    @State var morph: AnimatableVector = AnimatableVector.zero
    @State var timer: Timer?
    
    func morphCreator() -> AnimatableVector {
        let range = Float(-morphingRange)...Float(morphingRange)
        var morphing = Array.init(repeating: Float.zero, count: self.points)
        for i in 0..<morphing.count where Int.random(in: 0...1) == 0 {
            morphing[i] = Float.random(in: range)
        }
        return AnimatableVector(values: morphing)
    }
    
    func update() {
        morph = morphCreator()
    }
    
    let duration: Double
    let points: Int
    let secting: Double
    let size: CGFloat
    let outerSize: CGFloat
    var color: Color
    let morphingRange: CGFloat
    
    var radius: CGFloat {
        outerSize / 2
    }
    
    var body: some View {
        MorphingCircleShape(morph)
            .fill(color)
            .frame(width: size, height: size, alignment: .center)
            .animation(Animation.easeInOut(duration: Double(duration + 1.0)), value: morph)
            .onAppear {
                update()
                timer = Timer.scheduledTimer(withTimeInterval: duration / secting, repeats: true) { timer in
                    update()
                }
            }.onDisappear {
                timer?.invalidate()
            }
            .frame(width: outerSize, height: outerSize, alignment: .center)
            .animation(nil, value: morph)
        
    }
    
    init(_ size:CGFloat = 300, morphingRange: CGFloat = 30, color: Color = .red, points: Int = 4,  duration: Double = 5.0, secting: Double = 2) {
        self.points = points
        self.color = color
        self.morphingRange = morphingRange
        self.duration = duration
        self.secting = secting
        self.size = morphingRange * 2 < size ? size - morphingRange * 2 : 5
        self.outerSize = size
        morph = AnimatableVector(values: [])
        update()
    }
    
    func color(_ newColor: Color) -> MorphingCircle {
        var morphNew = self
        morphNew.color = newColor
        return morphNew
    }
}

Results

Created bubbles can be combined and animated to drift around the screen for example. Also, in the course of this guide, we created AnimatableVector structure that you can use in your projects.

Feel free to share your results!

More wobbling bubbles
More wobbling bubbles
💡
Check my iOS section of the blog to learn more useful tips
Alex Dremov | iOS
One of my favorites. Here I write about Swift and iOS development

References

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