Articles by
Ana Tudor

Mad scientist.

Simplifying CSS Cubes with Custom Properties

I know there are a ton of pure CSS cube tutorials out there. I've done a few myself. But for mid-2017, when CSS Custom Properties are supported in all major desktop browsers, they all feel... outdated and very WET. I thought I should do something to fix this problem, so this article was born. It's going to show you the most efficient path towards building a CSS cube that's possible today, while also explaining what common, but less than ideal cube coding patterns you should steer clear of. So let's get started!

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Methods for Contrasting Text Against Backgrounds

It started with seeing a recent Pen of Mandy Michael's text effects demos. I'm a very visual creature, so the first thing I noticed was the effect, not the title (which clearly states how the effect was achieved). Instantly, my mind went "blend modes!", which turned out to be wrong.

The demo actually uses clip-path. First of all, the text is duplicated. We have black text below as the actual text content of the element and the white text above as the value of the content property (taken from a data attribute which gets updated via JS). These two are stacked one on top of each other (they completely overlap). Then the pseudo-element with the white text above gets clipped to the shape of the black dress.

However, this means we need to change the clipping path if we change the image and, at this point, it's anything but easy to figure out polygonal clipping paths with a lot of points via dev tools (which is why having something like Benett Feely's Clippy with two-way editing directly in dev tools would be immensely useful). So I decided to give my initial idea - blend modes - a try.

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The State of Responsive 3D Shapes

As some people might know, I've always loved 3D geometry. Which has meant getting drawn towards playing with CSS 3D transforms in order to create various geometric shapes. I've built a huge collection of such demos, which you can check out on CodePen.

Because of this, I've often been asked whether it would be possible to create responsive 3D shapes using, for example, % values instead of the em values my demos normally use. The answer is a bit more complex than a yes/no answer, so I thought it would be a good idea to put it in an article. Let's dive in!

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Things to Watch Out for When Working with CSS 3D

I've always loved 3D geometry. I began playing with CSS 3D transforms as soon as I noticed support in CSS was getting decent. But while it felt natural to use transforms to create 2D shapes and move/rotate them in 3D to create polyhedra, there were some things that tripped me up at first. I thought I might write about the things that surprised me and the challenges I encountered so that you might avoid the same.

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The State of CSS Reflections

I recently saw this loader on CodePen, a pure CSS 3D rotating set of bars with a fading reflection. It's done by using an element for each bar, then duplicating each and every one of these elements to create the reflection and finally adding a gradient cover to create the fading effect. Which sounds a bit like scratching behind your right ear with the toes of your left foot! Not to mention the gradient cover method for the fading effect doesn't work with non-flat-color backgrounds. Isn't there a better way to do this with CSS?

The answer is: "yes" and "no". (more…)

Recreating the Twitter Heart Animation (with One Element, No Images, and No JavaScript)

I recently saw a recreation of the Twitter heart animation among the picks on CodePen. If I happen to have a bit of time, I always look through the code of demos that catch my attention to see if there's something in there that I could use or improve. In this case, I was surprised to see the demo was using an image sprite. I later learned that this is how Twitter does it. Surely it could be done without images, right?

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The `background-clip` Property and its Use Cases

background-clip is one of those properties I've known about for years, but rarely used. Maybe just a couple of times as part of a solution to a Stack Overflow question. Until last year, when I started creating my huge collection of sliders. Some of the designs I chose to reproduce were a bit more complex and I only had one element available per slider, which happened to be an input element, meaning that I couldn't even use pseudo-elements on it. Even though that does work in certain browsers, the fact that it works is actually a bug and I didn't want to rely on that. All this meant I ended up using backgrounds, borders, and shadows a lot. I also learned a lot from doing that and this article shares some of those lessons.

Before anything else, let's see what background-clip is and what it does.

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