In the previous section we discussed the render tree, but only used static values for our node properties. All of those properties can also take time-varying values to create rich animations. These values can come from user input or Transitionables.


Transitionables define a value or array of values that change over time. They are interpolated either by easing curves or physics transitions, like springs. Transitionables like all Samsara streams emit start, update and end events. To animate a value, call the set method with a target value, transition definition, and (optional) callback function. We'll discuss what we mean by a transition definition below, but first an example:

var Transitionable = require('samsara/core/Transitionable');

var t = new Transitionable(0); // define a transitionable with initial value 0

t.on('start', function(value){
    console.log(value) // 0

t.on('update', function(value){
    console.log(value) // values between 0 and 100

t.on('end', function(value){
    console.log(value) // 100

    100, // new value 
    {curve : 'easeIn', duration : 500},  // transition definition 
    function(){ console.log("finished"); // callback

Layout data of a node can read from Transitionables. For example, we can have a Transitionable fade out a Surface with the following code:

var opacity = new Transitionable(1);

var surface = new Surface({
    size : [100,100],
    properties : {background : 'red'},
    opacity : opacity


opacity.set(0, {curve : 'linear', duration : 500});

Mapping values

Like all Samsara streams, Transitionables have a map method, which converts its values into other types. Calling map will return a new stream, so the same transitionable can map to several different streams. Here we use a Transitionable to rotate a Surface and fade it out at the same time.

var t = new Transitionable(0);

var rotation ={
    return Transform.rotateZ(2 * Math.PI * angle);

var opacity ={
    return 1 - x / 2;

var surface = new Surface({
    content : 'click me',
    size : [100, 100],
    origin : [.5,.5],
    properties : {background : 'red'}

surface.on('click', function(){
    t.set(1, {curve : 'easeInOut', duration : 700});

var context = new Context();

        transform : rotation,        
        opacity : opacity,
        align : [.5,.5]

See the Pen transitionable-map by SamsaraJS (@samsaraJS) on CodePen.

Easing Curves

By default, Transitionables come with 9 predefined easing curves:

  • linear (default)
  • easeIn
  • easeOut
  • easeInOut
  • easeOutBounce
  • easeInCubic
  • easeOutCubic
  • easeInOutCubic
  • easeOutWall

They are used with a transition definition, as in the examples above, which is a JSON object with the following properties:

key default description
duration 500 The time in milliseconds to complete the transition
curve 'linear' The easing curve name

Custom Easing Curves

Though Samsara only includes 9 easing curves by default, any easing curve can be added by providing your own easing function. This function should be defined on the domain [0, 1] and map to the range [0,1]. You can map to values beyond the range [0,1] which will correspond to an undershoot (if less than 0) or overshoot (if greater than 1).

var myCustomFunction = function(t){ return Math.pow(t, 5); }
var myTransitionable.set(100, {curve : myCustomFunction, duration : 500});

Or give your function a name and register it with the Transitionable constructor. You can then define it once and use it from anywhere in your application.

Transitionable.registerCurve("myCustomCurve", myCustomFunction);
var myTransitionable.set(100, {curve : "myCustomCurve", duration : 500});

Physics Curves

Physical curves can also be used to transition values. They lack the precise timing of easing curves, but whereas easing curves come in a discrete number, physics curves are continuously parametrized. They can also take into account the velocity of a previous motion, such as a gesture, to create more natural transitions. Currently, the physics curves that Samsara comes with are springs and inertia.

The API for a physics curves is exactly like an easing curve except the transition definition is different.

Transition Definition for Springs
key default Range description
period 100 [0, ∞] The time it takes for one oscillation without any damping applied
damping 0.5 [0, 1] If 0 the spring will oscillate forever, if 1 the spring will never oscillate
velocity 0 [-∞, ∞] The initial velocity of the transition in milliseconds/pixel

For example:

myTransitionable.set(1, {curve : 'spring', damping : .5, period : 100, velocity : -.1});

Here's the same example as above, but with a physics transition instead of an easing curve:

See the Pen transitionable-map-physics by SamsaraJS (@samsaraJS) on CodePen.

Transition Definition for Inertia
key default Range description
drag 0.1 [0, 1] The ratio the velocity will decrease by each tick
velocity 0 [-∞, ∞] The initial velocity of the transition in milliseconds/pixel

For example:

myTransitionable.set(1, {curve : 'inertia', drag : .5, velocity : -.1});