Random 3D Explosions, 3D clouds – Effects with CSS 3D and jQuery


This tutorial will try to guide you through the steps to create a 3D-like, explosions in sky or billboard-based clouds. There are a few advanced topics, mainly how 3D transformations via CSS properties work. If you want to find more information, this is a nice place to begin.

If you’re in a hurry, just check the final result.


The tutorial is divided into sections, each with a different step to understand and follow the process, with HTML, CSS and Javascript blocks. Each step is based on the previous one, and has a link to test the code. The code in the tutorial is a simplified version of the demos, but the main differences are documented on every section.


First, we need two div elements: viewport and world. All the rest of the elements will be dynamically created.

Viewport covers the whole screen and acts as the camera plane. Since in CSS 3D Transforms there is no camera per se, think of it as a static sheet of glass through which you see a world that changes orientation relative to you. We’ll position all our world objects (or scene) inside it, and that’s what will be transformed around.

World is a div that we are going to use to anchor all our 3D elements. Transforming (rotating, translating or scaling) world will transform all our elements. For brevity and from here on, I’m using non-prefixed CSS properties. Use the vendor prefix (-webkit, -moz, -o, -ms, etc.) where appropriate.

This is all the markup we’ll need:

<div id="viewport">
    <div id="world"></div>


These next are our two CSS definitions. It’s very important to center the div that contains our scene (world in our case) in the viewport, or the scene will be rendered with an offset! Remember that you are still rotating an element that is positioned inside the document, exactly like any other 2D element.

#viewport {
	-webkit-perspective: 1000; -moz-perspective: 1000; -o-perspective: 1000; 
	position: absolute; 
	left: 0; 
	top: 0; 
	right: 0; 
	bottom: 0; 
	overflow: hidden;
	background-image: linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -o-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -webkit-gradient(
			left bottom,
			left top,
			color-stop(0.28, rgb(69,132,180)),
			color-stop(0.64, rgb(31,71,120))

#world {
	position: absolute; 
	left: 50%; 
	top: 50%; 
	margin-left: -256px; 
	margin-top: -256px; 
	height: 512px; 
	width: 512px; 
	-webkit-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	-moz-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	-o-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	pointer-events: none;

CSS For Adding Clouds Base

Now we start adding real 3D content. We add some new div which are positioned in the space, relatively to world. It’s esentially adding several absolute-positioned div as children of world, but using translate in 3 dimensions instead of left and top. They are centered in the middle of world by default. The width and height don’t really matter, since these new elements are containers for the actual cloud layers. For commodity, it’s better to center them (by setting margin-left and margin-top to negative half of width and height).

.cloudBase {
		position: absolute; 
		left: 256px; 
		top: 256px; 
		width: 20px; 
		height: 20px; 
		margin-left: -10px; 
		margin-top: -10px

CSS for Clouds Layer

Now things start getting interesting. We add several absolute-positioned .cloudLayer div elements to each .cloudBase. These will hold our cloud textures.

.cloudLayer {
		position: absolute; 
		left: 50%; 
		top: 50%; 
		width: 256px; 
		height: 256px; 
		margin-left: -128px; 
		margin-top: -128px; 
		-webkit-transition: opacity .5s ease-out; 
		-moz-transition: opacity .5s ease-out; 
		-o-transition: opacity .5s ease-out;

jQuery (JavaScript)

We add generate() and createCloud() functions to populate world. Note that random_{var} are not real variables but placeholder names for the real code, which should return a random number between the specified range.

var layers = [],
	objects = [],
	textures = [],

	world = document.getElementById( 'world' ),
	viewport = document.getElementById( 'viewport' ),

	d = 0,
	p = 400,
	worldXAngle = 0,
	worldYAngle = 0,
	computedWeights = [];

	viewport.style.webkitPerspective = p;
	viewport.style.MozPerspective = p;
	viewport.style.oPerspective = p;
	textures = [
		{ name: 'white cloud', 	file: 'cloud.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'dark cloud', 	file: 'darkCloud.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'smoke cloud', 	file: 'smoke.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'explosion', 	file: 'explosion.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'explosion 2', 	file: 'explosion2.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'box', 		file: 'box.png'		, opacity: 1, weight: 0 }

	function setTextureUsage( id, mode ) {
		var modes = [ 'None', 'Few', 'Normal', 'Lot' ];
		var weights = { 'None': 0, 'Few': .3, 'Normal': .7, 'Lot': 1 };
		for( var j = 0; j < modes.length; j++ ) {
			var el = document.getElementById( 'btn' + modes[ j ] + id );
			el.className = el.className.replace( ' active', '' );
			if( modes[ j ] == mode ) {
				el.className += ' active';
				textures[ id ].weight = weights[ mode ];
	setTextureUsage( 0, 'Few' );
	setTextureUsage( 1, 'Few' );
	setTextureUsage( 2, 'Normal' );
	setTextureUsage( 3, 'Lot' );
	setTextureUsage( 4, 'Lot' );


	function createCloud() {

		var div = document.createElement( 'div'  );
		div.className = 'cloudBase';
		var x = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var y = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var z = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var t = 'translateX( ' + x + 'px ) translateY( ' + y + 'px ) translateZ( ' + z + 'px )';
		div.style.webkitTransform = t;
		div.style.MozTransform = t;
		div.style.oTransform = t;
		world.appendChild( div );

		for( var j = 0; j < 5 + Math.round( Math.random() * 10 ); j++ ) {
			var cloud = document.createElement( 'img' );
			cloud.style.opacity = 0;
			var r = Math.random();
			var src = 'troll.png';
			for( var k = 0; k < computedWeights.length; k++ ) { 
				if( r >= computedWeights[ k ].min && r <= computedWeights[ k ].max ) { 					
( function( img ) { img.addEventListener( 'load', function() {
 						img.style.opacity = .8;
					} ) } )( cloud );
 					src = computedWeights[ k ].src; 
cloud.setAttribute( 'src', src ); 
cloud.className = 'cloudLayer'; 		 			
var x = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 ); 
var y = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 ); 
var z = 100 - ( Math.random() * 200 ); 
var a = Math.random() * 360; 
var s = .25 + Math.random(); 
x *= .2; y *= .2; 
cloud.data = {x: x, y: y, z: z, a: a, s: s, speed: .1 * Math.random()}; 
var t = 'translateX( ' + x + 'px ) translateY( ' + y + 'px ) translateZ( ' + z + 'px ) rotateZ( ' + a + 'deg ) scale( ' + s + ' )'; 
cloud.style.webkitTransform = t; 
cloud.style.MozTransform = t; 			
cloud.style.oTransform = t; 			
div.appendChild( cloud ); 			
layers.push( cloud ); 		} 		 		
return div; 	 	
function generate() { 		
objects = []; 		
if ( world.hasChildNodes() ) { 			
while ( world.childNodes.length >= 1 ) {
				world.removeChild( world.firstChild );       
		computedWeights = [];
		var total = 0;
		for( var j = 0; j < textures.length; j++ ) { 			
if( textures[ j ].weight > 0 ) {
				total += textures[ j ].weight;
		var accum = 0;
		for( var j = 0; j < textures.length; j++ ) { 			
if( textures[ j ].weight > 0 ) {
				var w = textures[ j ].weight / total;
				computedWeights.push( {
					src: textures[ j ].file,
					min: accum,
					max: accum + w
				} );
				accum += w;
		for( var j = 0; j < 5; j++ ) {
			objects.push( createCloud() );


For the final effect, we fill cloudLayer div for an img with a cloud texture. The textures should be PNG with alpha channel to get the effect right.



Of course, you can use any texture or set of textures you want: smoke puffs, plasma clouds, green leaves, flying toasters… Just change the background-image that a specific kind of cloud layer uses. Mixing different textures in different proportions gives interesting results.

Adding elements in random order is fine, but you can also create ordered structures, like trees, duck-shaped clouds or complex explosions. Try following a 3D curve and create solid trails of clouds. Create a multiplayer game to guess the shape of a 3D cloud. The possibilities are endless!

I hope it’s been an interesting tutorial and not too hard to follow.

view demo

I hope you like the result and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts about it. Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Dhiraj kumar

CSS3 Transitions Effects on Background Gradients

CSS transitions do not have any effect on background gradients. As far as I know, the thing is that something similar would be quite difficult to achieve considering the multitude of possible gradients that can be created using a color palette.

Though, there are some simple ways you can simulate smooth transitions on gradients and below you’ll see how to do that.


Before writing this article, I was thinking this new article will hopefully be more useful to you as It contains one more extra technique that can help you faking transitions on background gradients.

So, what is this about and why would you care about transitions on gradients? The answer is very simple: just think about the situation when you’re designing some CSS3 icons/buttons. To make them look awesome, it’s almost mandatory to use shadows, rounded corners and gradients.

Read the workarounds described below and you’ll be able to greatly improve your gradient buttons, especially their :hover state.
view demo

Initial styles

For this demo, we’re using three colored boxes to whom are applied the following workarounds.

I extracted only the important styles needed and as you can see, the background-color has the most important role, as it’s the one who’s actually being transitioned here.

.boxes li{
	transition: background-color .2s ease-out;

.boxes .red{
	background-color: #da232a;

.boxes .red:hover{
	background-color: #e75f64;

.boxes .green{
	background-color: #72b01a;

.boxes .green:hover{
	background-color: #9ed354;

.boxes .blue{
	background-color: #269ce9;

.boxes .blue:hover{
	background-color: #70b9e8;

1. Background-image

Having already a transitioned background-color, you just need to set a semi transparent background using background-image and the result will be a smooth gradient transition for the element to whom these styles are applied to.

background-image: linear-gradient(top, rgba(255,255,255,.5), rgba(255,255,255,0));

2. Box-shadow

Perhaps this is a bit dirtier, but it’s still a fully working technique. Instead of a semi transparent background as above, this assume using an inset box-shadow:

box-shadow: 0 60px 50px -30px rgba(255, 255, 255, .5) inset;

view demo


As you can see, the workarounds above are quite simple and easy to implement. Also, the big advantage is that they don’t require any additional markup element to work.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts!

Posted by: Dhiraj kumar

Creating CSS Starbursts Design with CSS3 Transform

Working with the new CSS3 rotation property I got that I could create image free starbursts. All I needed was a series of nested block-level elements each rotated by a slightly different amount. The rotation would distribute the box corners around the circumference of the star.

About these CSS3 Starbursts:

A good thing is if you create your starbursts with CSS3 you can do so much more than with images. You can experiment with different numbers of points/corners, rounded borders, resize, text-shadows and animations also.

To see the animations you will need to use latest browsers like IE 9+, Firefox 4.0+, Safari 4.1+ and Chrome 3.0+.


No CSS Hacks

There are no CSS hacks required for these CSS3 starbursts. CSS is designed to be backwards compatible so any browser that cannot understand CSS3 will simply ignore these new rules without any error.

iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible

The Safari browser is one of the most advanced when it comes to CSS3 because it uses the powerful Webkit rendering engine. This means all these animated starbursts will work fine on the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.

SEO Friendly

Because the text in each starburst is actually real text it will be crawled and indexed by Google like everything else. It also means that people who are vision impaired can more easily read and understand your web page if they are using a screen reader.

No Images Required

All of the shapes, colours and shadows in the starbursts above are created using CSS3 rules. No images are used at all.

No JavaScript Required

The animations in these demos are made possible with the CSS3 transition rules. No JavaScript is used to create any effects.

Resizable Text Compatible

All the dimensions of the starbursts are set in em measurements. This means that you can increase the text size in your browser and the starburst will grow in size along with all other text. This is great news for web accessibility.

view demo


<div class="price-container">
  <div class="price">
    <span class="label">Buy</span>
    <span class="number">$99.95</span>
    <span class="label">Now</span>

I have <div> that, you guessed it, contains the price starburst. I’ll use this for the background of the starburst. The <div> is the container for the text inside (the price info.) That’s it for the markup. From here, I’ll be styling pseudo classes to create the multiple points. Also, I mentioned earlier that there were a few less points in the CSS version of this starburst. This markup doesn’t really have anything unnecessary in it.


Now on to the fun part. Let me overview what I’m going to do, then I’ll show you the styles needed to achieve it. I’m going to style .price-container.price, and the :before and:after pseudo elements for each. Essentially, I’ve got six elements to work with. I created this background image to apply to each of the elements and I will rotate 15 degrees each:

image used for starburst

The CSS is a little bit longer. I’ve used the rotation rules in the CSS, one is for Firefox (prefixed with -moz-), one is for webkit i.e. Safari and Chrome (prefixed with -webkit-), one is for Internet Explorer (prefixed with -ms-), one is for Opera (prefixed with -o-), and the other is the standard rotation rule as it will be used once this rotation property becomes standard:

.price-container .price,
.price-container .price:before,
.price-container .price:after {
	height: 8.5em;
	width: 8.5em;
	background: #760B1F url(price-bg.png) top left no-repeat;
	background-size: 8.5em;

.price-container .price:before,
.price-container .price:after {
	content: "";
	position: absolute;

.price-container {
	margin: 100px auto; /* Centering for demo */
	position: relative; /* Context */
	top: 2.5em;
	left: 2.5em;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(-45deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(-45deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(-45deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(-45deg);
	       transform: rotate(-45deg);

.price-container:before {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(-30deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(-30deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(-30deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(-30deg);
	       transform: rotate(-30deg);

.price-container:after {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(-15deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(-15deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(-15deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(-15deg);
	       transform: rotate(-15deg);

.price-container .price {
	padding: .5em 0em;
	height: 7.5em; /* height minus padding */
	position: absolute;
	bottom: 0;
	right: 0;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(45deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(45deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(45deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(45deg);
	       transform: rotate(45deg);
	z-index: 1; /* important so the text shows up */

.price-container .price:before {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(60deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(60deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(60deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(60deg);
	       transform: rotate(60deg);

.price-container .price:after {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	-webkit-transform: rotate(75deg);
	  -moz-transform: rotate(75deg);
	   -ms-transform: rotate(75deg);
	    -o-transform: rotate(75deg);
	       transform: rotate(75deg);

A few things I’ll point out about the styles:

  • Notice the order of the rotation angles: This order is important because there is going to be text inside the inner-most element. Therefore, the last element (the one the text going in, in this case .price) has to be straight. Notice that .price-container is rotated -45 degrees and .price is rotated 45 degrees – back to 0.
  • The height and width: The height and width has to be set since we are dealing with background images here. I’ve set it in ems to adjust appropriately when the text size increases.
  • There’s a padding top and bottom on .price-container .price. That’s why the height is a little different than all the others.
  • Everything is positioned absolutely inside the first container. .price-container hasleft: 2.5em and top: 2.5em just to move the whole thing a little. When everything is rotated, the corners go of the page and out of the container a little.
  • z-index: There’s a z-index defined for .price-container .price. This is so the price information inside this div is visible.

Now all that’s left is styling the text.

.price-container .price span {
        position: relative;
	z-index: 100;
	display: block;
	text-align: center;
	color: #FE0;
	font: 1.8em/1.4em 'georgia',Sans-Serif;
	text-transform: uppercase;

.price-container .price span.number {
  font-weight: bold;
  font-size: 2.5em;
  line-height: .9em;
  color: #fff;

Some more CSS used in hover effect:

.price-container.one:hover {
	-webkit-transform: rotate(-20deg);
	-moz-transform: rotate(-20deg);
	-ms-transform: rotate(-20deg);
	-o-transform: rotate(-20deg);
	transform: rotate(-20deg);

Doing It Image-Free

Now, I have some extra stuff in here because the design called for this very subtle inner border. If you don’t like or need the inner border, just remove the bit about background image and background size and design will hold up fine.

Browser Support

This works as-is in IE 9+, Firefox 4.0+, Safari 4.1+ and Chrome 3.0+. IE 8 and below do not support background-size, and Chrome 1.0, Firefox 3.6 and Safari 3.0 will require some vendor prefixes. IE8 does support pseudo elements, however doesn’t support transform.

The fallback would be a colored square. Very likely not a huge problem.


There You Have It

It’s a price star thing. Flexible enough to grow when you increase your font size. Made with some CSS. You can use this for highlighting prices, discounts etc.

That’s it!

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, let me know! Thanks for reading.

Posted by: Dhiraj kumar