Non-composited animations can appear janky (i.e. not smooth) on low-end phones or when performance-heavy tasks are running on the main thread. Janky animations can increase the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) of your page. Reducing CLS will improve your Lighthouse Performance score.
It's OK if you don't understand what each step of the rendering pipeline means. The key thing to understand right now is that at each step of the rendering pipeline the browser uses the result of the previous operation to create new data. For example, if your code does something that triggers Layout, the Paint and Composite steps need to run again. A non-composited animation is any animation that triggers one of the earlier steps in the rendering pipeline (Style, Layout, or Paint). Non-composited animations perform worse because they force the browser to do more work.
Check out the following resources to learn about the rendering pipeline in-depth:
- Inside look at modern web browsers (part 3)
- Simplify paint complexity and reduce paint areas
- Stick to compositor-only properties and manage layer count
How Lighthouse detects non-composited animations #
When an animation can't be composited, Chrome reports the failure reasons to the DevTools trace, which is what Lighthouse reads. Lighthouse lists DOM nodes which have animations that were not composited along with the failure reason(s) for each animation.