CSS3 transitions have some significant limitations that make them unworkable for a serious animation platform. They don’t provide precise controls over the timing or easing. They’re great for simple effects but the GreenSock Animation Platform delivers extremely precise rendering, so you can do things like pause() and reverse() an animation anytime or skip to a specific time and play from there, etc. Try creating a CSS3 transition that uses an elastic.out or slow motion ease and then jump to 0.72494-seconds into a 2-second transition and pause() only to resume() later. It’s impossible from what I understand. So no, the platform doesn’t make use of CSS3 transitions. However, it is highly optimized for performance. See the detailed cage match where GSAP battles CSS3 transitions where there’s a detailed comparison in several categories.
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No need to worry. Tweens and timelines are automatically made eligible for garbage collection (gc) when appropriate (typically when they finish but if you maintain a reference to an instance so that you can restart it later, for example, it won’t be gc’d out from under you). Basically the system manages gc for you and generally cleans up after itself.
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