David Walsh Blog

CSS 3D Folding Animation

Google Plus provides loads of inspiration for front-end developers, especially when it comes to the CSS and JavaScript wonders they create. Last year I duplicated their incredible PhotoStack effect with both MooTools and pure CSS; this time I’m going to duplicate their map fold-in effect. This effect uses 3D CSS animations which makes the animation even more sexy, and to make it red host, the animation requires no JavaScript!


There’s a series of HTML elements that need to be in place to accomplish the effect and keep the content in place:

<div id="container">
	<div class="parent1">
		<div class="parent2">
			<div class="parent3">
				<!-- Content goes here -->

The first parent element will define 3D state, the second parent element will contain the fully viewable code during the animation, and the third parent is the most visibly different during the animation progress.


The CSS to complete this animation is quite interesting, and there’s probably less of it than you’d think:

/* Static state */
#container 	{ 
	width: 400px; 
	height: 400px; 
	position: relative; 
	border: 1px solid #ccc; 
.parent1 	{ 
	/* overall animation container */
	height: 0; 
	overflow: hidden;

	transition-property: height;
	transition-duration: 1s;
	perspective: 1000px;
	transform-style: preserve-3d;
.parent2	{ 
	/* full content during animation *can* go here */ 
.parent3	{ 
	/* animated, "folded" block */
	height: 56px; 
	transition-property: all; 
	transition-duration: 1s;
	transform: rotateX(-90deg);
	transform-origin: top; 

/* Hover states to trigger animations */
#container:hover .parent1	{ 
	height: 111px; 
#container:hover .parent3	{
	transform: rotateX(0deg); 
	height: 111px; 

The static state of parent1 sets the 3D transform and perspective states, starting at 0px height. The static state of parent3 sets the transition and transformation of the rotation. Upon hover the parent1 and parent3 heights are animated to full height, 111px in this case, and rotated to 0deg, i.e. a front-facing state.

I get the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this animation in the future; a folding billboard is a nice effect and takes very little space. As evidenced above, there’s also very little CSS required so there’s a large payoff for so little code. I do think this effect looks better when an image is animated in — it’s easier to visually see the transform.