backface-visibility

This article is in need of a technical review.

This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for the proper prefixes to use in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the spec changes.

Summary

The CSS backface-visibility property determines whether or not the back face of the element is visible when facing the user. The back face of an element always is a transparent background, letting, when visible, a mirror image of the front face be displayed.

There are cases when we do not want the front face of an element to be visible through the back face, like when doing a flipping card effect (setting two elements side-to-side).

This property has no effect on 2D transforms as there is no perspective.

Syntax

Formal syntax:  visible | hidden 
backface-visibility: visibility

backface-visibility: visible
backface-visibility: hidden

Values

visibility
Is a keyword indicating if the backface must be visible or not. It can have the following values:
  • visible meaning that the back face is visible, allowing the front face to be displayed mirrored;
  • hidden meaning that the back face is not visible, hiding the front face.

Examples

Cube with transparent faces

HTML Content

<table>
   <tbody>
      <tr>
         <th><code>backface-visibility: visible;</code>
         </th>
         <th><code>backface-visibility: hidden;</code>
         </th>
      </tr>
      <tr>
         <td>
            <div class="container">
               <div class="cube showbf">
                  <div class="face front">1</div>
                  <div class="face back">2</div>
                  <div class="face right">3</div>
                  <div class="face left">4</div>
                  <div class="face top">5</div>
                  <div class="face bottom">6</div>
               </div>
            </div>
            <p>All the faces are transparent and the three back faces are visible through the front ones.</p>
         </td>
         <td>
            <div class="container">
               <div class="cube hidebf">
                  <div class="face front">1</div>
                  <div class="face back">2</div>
                  <div class="face right">3</div>
                  <div class="face left">4</div>
                  <div class="face top">5</div>
                  <div class="face bottom">6</div>
               </div>
            </div>
            <p>No face is opaque, but the three back faces are always hidden now.</p>
         </td>
      </tr>
   </tbody>
</table>

CSS Content

/* Shorthand classes that will show or hide the three back faces of the "cube" */
 .hidebf div {
   backface-visibility: hidden;
   -webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;
}
.showbf div {
   backface-visibility: visible;
   -webkit-backface-visibility: visible;
}

/* Define the container div, the cube div, and a generic face */
 .container {
   width: 150px;
   height: 150px;
   margin: 75px 0 0 75px;
   border: none;
}
.cube {
   width: 100%;
   height: 100%;
   perspective: 300px;
   perspective-origin: 150% 150%;
   transform-style: preserve-3d;
   -webkit-perspective: 300px;
   -webkit-perspective-origin: 150% 150%;
   -webkit-transform-style: preserve-3d;
}
.face {
   display: block;
   position: absolute;
   width: 100px;
   height: 100px;
   border: none;
   line-height: 100px;
   font-family: sans-serif;
   font-size: 60px;
   color: white;
   text-align: center;
}

/* Define each face based on direction */
 .front {
   background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.3);
   transform: translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: translateZ(50px);
}
.back {
   background: rgba(0, 255, 0, 1);
   color: black;
   transform: rotateY(180deg) translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: rotateY(180deg) translateZ(50px);
}
.right {
   background: rgba(196, 0, 0, 0.7);
   transform: rotateY(90deg) translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: rotateY(90deg) translateZ(50px);
}
.left {
   background: rgba(0, 0, 196, 0.7);
   transform: rotateY(-90deg) translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: rotateY(-90deg) translateZ(50px);
}
.top {
   background: rgba(196, 196, 0, 0.7);
   transform: rotateX(90deg) translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: rotateX(90deg) translateZ(50px)
}
.bottom {
   background: rgba(196, 0, 196, 0.7);
   transform: rotateX(-90deg) translateZ(50px);
   -webkit-transform: rotateX(-90deg) translateZ(50px);
}

/* Make the table a little nicer */
th, p, td {
   background-color: #EEEEEE;
   margin: 0px;
   padding: 6px;
   font-family: sans-serif;
   text-align: left;
}

Result

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Transforms Level 1 Working Draft  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 12-webkit 10 (10)-moz
16 (16)
10 15-webkit (Yes)-webkit
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 3.0-webkit (Yes)-webkit 10.0 (10)-moz
16.0 (16)
8.1 (Yes)-webkit (Yes)-webkit

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: trevorh,
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