CSS3 Transitions – 5 ready to use examples

CSS3 Transitions - 5 ready to use examples

Since the release of the CSS3 specification, transitions are allowing web designers and front-end web developer to create stunning animations without using JavaScript. In this article, we'll go through 5 stunning, ready-to-use examples of what you can do with CSS3 transitions.

What are CSS transitions?

Introduced a few years ago with the CSS3 specification, the transition property allows front-end developers to smoothly change property values over a given time.

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As of 2019, transitions are well supported by modern browsers. Older browsers might still support this functionality, if you use vendor prefixes like -webkit-, -moz-, or -o-. Please refer to Can I use for more info on browser compatibility.

If you need more information on CSS transitions, W3 Schools have a concise article that will teach you what you need to know in order to get started.

Smooth background color change

A simple, but common effect in many modern websites, is to have a smooth background color change on hover. Let’s start with this dead simple piece of HTML:

<div class="color">Change Color</div>

And now time for the CSS magic. Notice the transition property on line 12, which animate our <div> on hover.

div.color {
    margin: 121px 149px;
    width: 483px;
    height: 298px;
    background: #676470;
    color: #fff;
    font-family: Lato;
    font-weight: 900;
    font-size: 3.4em;
    text-align: center;
    line-height: 298px;
    transition: all 0.3s ease;

div.color:hover {
    background: #53a7ea;

Source: Web Designer Depot

Sophisticated background transition

A more sophisticated example, demonstrating how easy it is to animate a background with CSS3. Here is the HTML:

<div class="container">
    <div class="circle one"></div>
    <div class="circle two"></div>
    <div class="circle three"></div>
    <div class="circle four"></div>

And the corresponding CSS code, where you can spot the use of transition as well as transform, for more sophisticated animations.

.circle {
	border-radius: 50%;
	left: calc(50% - 6.25em);
	top: calc(50% - 12.5em);
	transform-origin: 50% 12.5em;
	width: 12.5em;
	height: 12.5em;
	position: absolute;
	box-shadow: 0 1em 2em rgba(0, 0, 0, .5);

.three {
	background: rgba(142, 92, 205, .75);
	transition: background 1s ease-in;

.four {
	background: rgba(236, 252, 100, .75);

.one {
	transform: rotateZ(0);

.two {
	transform: rotateZ(90deg);

.three {
	transform: rotateZ(180deg);

.four {
	transform: rotateZ(-90deg);

.circle:hover {
  background: rgba(142, 92, 205, .25);

Source: Flavio Copes

CSS gradient border & rounded corner buttons

Here is an advanced, super good looking button, made entirely of CSS3. The HTML is very simple:

<a class="btn" href="#">
  <span>A button!</span>

The CSS code is a bit more complex, and demonstrate the full power of CSS3:

body {
  background: #e7e8e9;
  padding: 40px;

.btn {
	background-image: linear-gradient(to right, #006175 0%, #00a950 100%);
	border-radius: 40px;
  box-sizing: border-box;
	color: #00a84f;
	display: block;
	font: 1.125rem 'Oswald', Arial, sans-serif; /*18*/
	height: 80px;
	letter-spacing: 1px;
	margin: 0 auto;
	padding: 4px;
	position: relative;
  text-decoration: none;
	text-transform: uppercase;
	width: 264px;
	z-index: 2;

.btn:hover {
	color: #fff;

.btn span {
	align-items: center;
	background: #e7e8e9;
	border-radius: 40px;
	display: flex;
	justify-content: center;
	height: 100%;
	transition: background .5s ease;
	width: 100%;

.btn:hover span {
	background: transparent;

Source: Amber Weinberg

Different transitions for hover on / hover off

Transitions can be different for both hover on and hover off states, as demonstrated with the following HTML…

<a id="button" href="#">Buy Now!</a>

…And CSS:

#thing {
   padding: 10px;
   border-radius: 5px;

  /* HOVER OFF */
   -webkit-transition: padding 2s;

#thing:hover {
   padding: 20px;
   border-radius: 15px;

  /* HOVER ON */
   -webkit-transition: border-radius 2s;

Source: Chris Coyier

Hover over one element to affect another

Let’s finish this round-up with an interesting example on how we can hover one element to affect another one. Let’s start by creating two HTML containers:

<div id="box1">#box1</div>
<div id="box2">#box2</div>

Now let’s have a look at the CSS:

#box2 {
    position: absolute;
    left: 120px;
    background: blue;
    -webkit-transition: 1s ease-in-out;
    -moz-transition: 1s ease-in-out;
    -o-transition: 1s ease-in-out;
    transition: 1s ease-in-out;
  #box1:hover + #box2 {
    -webkit-transform: rotate(360deg);
    -moz-transform: rotate(360deg);
    -o-transform: rotate(360deg);
    -ms-transform: rotate(360deg);
    transform: rotate(360deg);
    left: calc(100% - 102px);
    background: yellow;

Source: The Art of Web