File Under: Browsers, CSS

Google Chrome, Now With Cinema-Style 3-D Effects

CSS custom filters in action. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey

Google has released an update for its Chrome web browser. Chrome 24 boasts some speed improvements and support for the still-experimental CSS custom filters, which give web developers a way to apply 3-D effects to any HTML element.

You can grab Chrome 24 — now tied with emacs in the great version number race — from Google. Current users should be updated the next time Chrome restarts.

The best news for web developers in this release is support for the draft CSS custom filters specification. First developed by Adobe, custom filters allow web developers to easily apply cinema-style filter effects to any HTML content. Think grayscale-to-color transitions, animated shadows, photo-realistic warping and other mainstays of the 3-D animation world.

Previously you needed Adobe’s special build of WebKit to work with custom filters, but now support is baked into Chrome. However, it’s still disabled by default so you’ll need to head to about:flags and search for “Enable CSS Shaders”. Click “Enable” and then relaunch Chrome. Once you’ve enabled custom filter support, head on over to Adobe’s demo page for some examples of what’s possible with custom filters.

Chrome 24 also offers a nominal speed bump thanks to some improvements in Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine and, according to an earlier blog post, Chrome’s Cloud Printing feature is faster thanks to some server-side tweaks.