7 Creative Ways to Use HTML5 Canvas

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 1 Comment

One of the most exciting features of HTML5 is the <canvas> element that can be used to draw vector graphics, create amazing effects, or produce interactive games and animations. Canvas is supported in all modern browsers, including the upcoming Internet Explorer 10, but a little help from JavaScript allows older versions to adapt. It was originally designed by Apple for creating lightweight dashboard widgets on its mobile devices, but is now an openly developed W3C spec which grants it enormous flexibility and application.

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Back to regular programming!

HTML5 Canvas works with JavaScript libraries and CSS3 to help you create interactive websites, charts and graphs, web-based games and animations. Integrating Canvas into your webpages is as simple as adding any other markup, but some programming knowledge and mathematical perseverence is required to create the effects, graphs, animations, games and functions that make Canvas interactive.

Each of the below examples of HTML5 Canvas are primed for integration into your web designs, and can be taken beyond the basic concepts presented here through the power of your creativity.

Interactive Typography Effects

Canvas can be used to create stunning typographic effects that add a unique flair to any design. This tutorial from codrops gets you started with interactive type manipulation through the HTML5 canvas, covering development of dynamic type effects. Choose a font and color and with one <canvas> tag and a few snippets of JavaScript, you’ll have your own interactive logo.

This canvas effect has a wide variety of applications. Use it for animating your logo, adding flair to a coming soon or 404 error page, or add your own version of the effect to intro typography in your website designs.

Learn More or See it in action.

3D Slideshow

Hakim el-Hattab is an early HTML5 experimentalist known for his amazing application of JavaScript and HTML5 Canvas to produce a wide array of original effects. His 3D slideshow concept can be implemented to produce a traditional image slider for a portfolio page, incorporate photos for a stunning gallery showcase, or use text for a unique approach to content presentation.

Of course, slideshows aren’t just for visual presentation. This effect can be used for presenting content, introductory text or to provide an interactive learning experience.

Learn More or See it in action.

Social Audio Visualization

In this amazing canvas demo by 9elements, Canvas particle effects are combined with audio and the Twitter API to produce an interactive social status feed. Particles are affected by the movement of your mouse, and clicking will cycle through past updates. View the page source to see how it was done.

Combining HTML5 and social media like this or in other ways is a useful exercise in creativity and adds a little fun to any website. It can be applied to promotional websites and used in marketing campaigns, too. Imagine the impact on a Facebook page!

See it in action.

Animated 404 Not Found Page

Error pages are the most overlooked aspect of web design, but are just as important as any other page. They help retain traffic by redirecting it to the right place and show visitors that you’re not only innovative, but thoughtful. This tutorial combines HTML5 and CSS3 to create a unique animated 404 Error page with very few extras needed.

The concepts, styles and code can be easily adapted to your own ideas. Add some links and a search box for an even more amazing result.

Learn more or See it in action

Interactive Book Layout

20ThingsLearned is a demo from Google that features an interactive book layout to deliver information about browsers and web technologies. It is not only impressive from a coding standpoint, but a useful resource as well.

Book formats and interatcitvity in design can greatly enhance anything from practical applications such as magazines and learning resources to promotional sites, personal journals and portfolios.

Build your own or See it in action

Drag and Drop

HTML5 Canvas includes native support for interacting with images, thanks to the draggable attribute, but when combined with kinetic.js, you can turn this event into anything from a visual categorization app to an interactive pinboard for arranging and displaying images. View the example source to see how the image board was done.

Drag and drop events are useful for more than image collages. Consider using them for arranging content, creating agile project management tools, or a fun way for customers to drop products into a shopping cart.

Build your own or See it in action

Image Effects

One of the most powerful features of HTML5 canvas is its interpretation of pixels and how it grants us power over them. As a result, any image filter or effect can be recreated and applied to apps, themes or anything else you can imagine. Google’s Ilmari Heikkinen takes you through several examples to learn this trick.

Learn more and See it in action

Conclusion

Hopefully this overview was useful in introducing the powerful relationship between JavaScript, CSS3 and the HTML5 canvas tag, and that it inspires you to implement your own HTML5 tricks into future or existing web projects.

If you are more of a designer than a developer, but wish you could take advantage of the awesome effects and behaviors of HTML5, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Wix will be launching the very first HTML5 website builder on the 26th of March. This tool can significantly change how you design, giving you a visual editor for creating and styling elements, using drag and drop for arranging layouts and adding widgets. You will also get access to a library of interactive canvas elements and animations, CSS3 effects and add-ins such as HTML5 audio, video, slideshows, forms and more. Visit the Wix website to learn more and sign up to be the first to explore this new technology.

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1 Written Articles

+Vail Joy is a professional writer, designer and developer with a vibrant background in music business, photography and social media. When she is not contributing her expertise to blogs and e-zines, she is building HTML websites and slaying dragons for Obox Design.

One Comment
  • Chris Hitchcock

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 09:55

    1

    HTML5 is the way forward, these examples are another great showcase

    +6
  • Chris Hitchcock

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 09:55

    1

    HTML5 is the way forward, these examples are another great showcase

    +6

Comments are closed.

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