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 outdated and very WET.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!
Virtual reality has become a thing again! All of the usual suspects are involved: HTC, Microsoft, Samsung, and Facebook, among others, are all peddling their respective devices. These predictable players shouldn’t be having all the fun, though!
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!
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.
Paul Lewis animated a 3D Card Flip. Straightforward enough there, but this needed a shadow element as well:
The shadow may need to move around or fade, so we need a solution that we can animate with transforms & opacity, since they can be handed off to the GPU. It will need to be separate to the element it’s shadowing, since we will likely want to fade and move it without affecting the other element.
filter: blur(), but both aren't performant enough.
He tried an SVG element with a blur filter, but SVG alone can't do 9-slice scaling (necessary to keep the corners from scaling awkwardly).
The winner was using an SVG image but applying it to an element via
border-image, which essentially 9-slice scaling.