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How To Use CSS Background Blur Effects Like A Master

Blurring backgrounds to create depth and visual interest is one of the hottest trends in modern web design. Subtly blurred backgrounds are everywhere – behind translucent navigation bars, under tinted hero images, and adding life to otherwise flat layouts. And it’s all achievable with CSS background blur!

The personal portfolio of Daniel Filler beautifully demonstrated the magic of the blur effects. From navigations, to sections, to buttons, to cards, he creatively added subtle blur effects to everywhere on his website.

The personal portfolio of Daniel Filler

However, manually adding blurred backgrounds in Photoshop is tedious and inflexible. This is where the CSS backdrop-filter property comes in. Backdrop filters give you native, flexible blur effects with a single line of CSS.

So what exactly does this property do and how can you use it to level up your designs? This guide will cover everything you need to know to master CSS background blur using backdrop-filter, from basic usage to creative implementations. You’ll learn how to:

  • Apply and customize background blurs with ease

  • Mix and match filters like contrast, brightness, and more

  • Create stunning frosted glass, vignettes, and other effects

  • Use backdrop filters to improve accessibility

  • Deal with browser compatibility and fallbacks

By the end, you’ll have a toolbox of backdrop-filter techniques to create visually stunning blurs in web interfaces your users will love interacting with. So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of blurred backdrops!

Backdrop-Filter Basics

The backdrop-filter property is a great tool that allows you to apply graphical effects such as blurring or color shifting to the area behind an element. This property is incredibly versatile and can be used to create a variety of visually appealing effects on your web pages.

The primary purpose of the property is to enhance the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of a website. It allows developers to create a sense of depth, focus, and visual interest. For instance, it can be used to blur a background image behind a text box, improving text readability and drawing the user’s attention to the content.

Do you want to skip ahead and learn quickly? Check out this YouTube video on Backdrop Filter CSS Background Blur

Whether you’re looking to implement a backdrop-filter effect or any other CSS property, Purecode.ai has got you covered. So why wait? Start designing with Purecode.ai today and take your web development projects to the next level!

Requirements for Use

To use the filter property:

  • You need to have an understanding of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language).

  • The element you want to apply the filter to must be transparent or semi-transparent; otherwise, the effect will not be visible.

The syntax for using the backdrop-filter property is as follows:

element {
  backdrop-filter: filter-function;
}

Here, filter-function can be any one of the available filter functions such as blur(), brightness(), contrast(), grayscale(), hue-rotate(), invert(), opacity(), saturate(), sepia(), or drop-shadow().

Simple Example

Here’s a simple example of how to use the CSS background blur backdrop-filter property:

/* Blur an image by 5px */
.blur {
  backdrop-filter: blur(5px);
}

<div>
  <img src="paris.jpg"/>
  <img src="paris.jpg" class="blur"/>
</div>

CSS Blur
Blur

In this example, a blur effect of 5 pixels is applied to the background behind the div element. The result is a soft, diffused background that can help foreground content stand out.

Remember, the filter property is still relatively new and may not be supported in all browsers. Always check for browser compatibility and provide fallbacks where necessary. Stay tuned for the “Considerations” section for more on this.

Blurring the Background: CSS Blur Background Images

Applying a Basic Blur

The backdrop-filter property can be used to apply a basic background blur effect to the background of an element. This is achieved by using the blur() filter function. The blur() filter function applies a Gaussian blur to the elements on which it is applied. It allows you to create blur background images with CSS.

The syntax is as follows:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    10px Backdrop Blur
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(10px);
}

Background blur 10x
10px Backdrop Blur

In this example, a blur effect of 10 pixels is applied to the area behind the element. This creates a soft, diffused look that can help to focus attention on the element itself.

Customizing the CSS Background Blur Intensity

The intensity of the blur effect can be customized by adjusting the value inside the blur() filter function. A higher value will result in a more pronounced blur, while a lower value will produce a subtler effect. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    90px Backdrop Blur
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(90px);
}

90px Backdrop Blur

In this case, the CSS background blur effect is more intense due to the higher pixel value.

Layering Multiple Blurs for Unique Effects

The backdrop-filter property also allows for multiple filters to be applied at once, enabling the creation of unique visual effects that could be blurry. This is done by listing multiple functions within the property, separated by spaces. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    90px Backdrop Blur
    150% Brightness
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(10px) brightness(150%);
}

Brightness: Background Blur
90px Backdrop Blur 150% Brightness

In this example, a blur effect and a brightness effect are applied simultaneously, resulting in a bright, diffused background. This can be particularly effective for creating a sense of depth and focus.

Beyond Blurring

Color Shifting, Contrast, and Other Filters

While blurring is a popular effect, the backdrop-filter property offers a range of other filters that can be used to create stunning visual effects. These include color shifting, contrast adjustment, and more to achieve similar objectives as the blur effect.

Color shifting can be achieved using the hue-rotate() filter function. This function rotates the hue of the background colors, allowing you to shift the overall color scheme of the background. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    90deg Hue-Rotate
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: hue-rotate(90deg);
}

90deg Hue-Rotate

In this example, the hue of the background colors is rotated by 90 degrees.

Contrast adjustment can be achieved using the contrast() filter function. This function adjusts the contrast of the background colors, making them either more distinct or more similar. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    200% Contrast
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: contrast(200%);
}

200% Contrast

In this example, the contrast of the background colors is doubled, resulting in a more striking visual effect.

Drop Shadow Example

A drop shadow is a composited version of the alpha mask from the input image that has been particularly blurred and offset. This allows you to set a drop shadow backdrop using blur radius and pixel offsets.

Apply a drop shadow effect to an image

 img { filter : drop-shadow(8px 8px 10px gray); } 

Adding Multiple Filters Filters for Striking Combos

One of the most powerful features of the backdrop-filter is the ability to combine multiple filters to create unique blurry visual effects. This is done by listing the blur() filter function and several other functions within the backdrop-filter, separated by spaces. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    10px Blur
    150% Brightness
    200% Contrast
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(10px) brightness(150%) contrast(200%);
}

10px Blur 150% Brightness 200% Contrast

In this example, a blur effect, a brightness effect, and a contrast effect are applied simultaneously, resulting in a visually striking background.

Creative Applications

Frosted Glass and Vignette Effects

The backdrop-filter property can be used to create a variety of creative effects, including the popular frosted glass and vignette effects.

The frosted glass effect gives the appearance of text or content being viewed through a pane of frosted glass. This is achieved by applying a blur filter to the background and then adjusting the brightness and contrast. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    Frosted Glass Effect
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(5px) brightness(0.9) contrast(1.1);
}

Frosted Glass Effect

In this example, a blur effect of 5 pixels is applied, the brightness is reduced to 90%, and the contrast is increased to 110%.

The vignette effect gives the appearance of a soft fade from the center to the edges of an element, drawing focus to the center. This can be achieved by layering multiple filters, including a radial gradient and a blur. For example:

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    Vignette Effect
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  background-image:  radial-gradient(circle, transparent, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6));
  backdrop-filter: blur(5px);
}

Vignette Effect

In this example, a blur and a radial gradient from transparent to black is applied.

Animations and Transitions

The property can also be used in conjunction with CSS animations and transitions to create dynamic visual effects. For instance, you could animate the blur effect to create a focus-in or focus-out effect or transition the hue-rotate function to create a color-changing background.

<div class="background">
  <div class="box">
    Blur Transition Effect
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box {
  backdrop-filter: blur(0px);
  transition: backdrop-filter 1s ease-in-out;
}

.box:hover {
  backdrop-filter: blur(100px);
}

Blur Transition Effect

Using Backdrop-Filter for Accessibility

Finally, the backdrop-filter property can be a great tool for improving the accessibility of your web pages. By using this property to increase contrast or blur distracting backgrounds, you can make your content more readable for users with visual impairments.

<div class="background">
  <div class="box1">
    Less Readable Texts
  </div>
  <div class="box2">
    More Readable Texts
  </div>
</div>

.background {
  background-image: url("paris.jpg");
}

.box1 {
  color: black;
}

.box2 {
  backdrop-filter: blur(50px);
  color: black;
}

Accessible Texts

Considerationsfor CSS Background Blur

Browser Compatibility and Fallbacks

While the backdrop-filter property opens up a world of creative possibilities, it’s important to note that not all browsers support this property. As of the time of writing, backdrop-filter is supported in most modern browsers, including Chrome, Safari, and Edge, but not in Internet Explorer.

To ensure that your design remains accessible to all users, it’s crucial to provide fallbacks for browsers that do not support the property. This can be done using feature detection in CSS or JavaScript.

For example, you can use the @supports rule in CSS to provide a fallback style:

.box{
  background: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);
}

@supports (backdrop-filter: blur(10px)) {
  .box {
    background: transparent;
    backdrop-filter: blur(10px);
  }
}

In this example, a semi-transparent white background is applied to the element by default. If the browser supports the backdrop-filter property, this default style is overridden, and a blur effect is applied to the background instead.

Browser Support

The numbers in the table specify the first browser version that fully supports the property. As of writing this,according to MDN, every major browser except for Internet Explorer, Firefox for Android, and Samsung Internet supports the property.

Numbers followed by -webkit- specify the first version that worked with a prefix.

PropertyChromeEdgeFirefoxSafariOpera
backdrop-filter76.017.070.0*9.0 -webkit-63.0

📝NOTE: For this to function, you must first open about:config and set the gfx.webrender.all preferences as well as the layout.css.backdrop-filter.enabled to true.

Performance Implications

While the backdrop-filter property can create stunning visual effects, it’s also worth noting that these effects can be performance-intensive. Applying filters to the backdrop of an element requires the browser to constantly recalculate the filtered background area as the page is scrolled or elements are moved, which can lead to increased CPU usage and potentially slow down your website.

Therefore, it’s important to use the property carefully and test your website’s performance across different devices and browsers.

Appropriate Use Cases

Even though the backdrop-filter property can greatly improve the visual appeal of your web pages, it’s crucial to use it correctly. When this feature is overused, designs may become overpowering or distracting to the user.

The property is best used sparingly, to enhance focus on specific elements or create subtle visual interest. Always consider the user experience when deciding how and where to apply this property.

Recap and Key Takeaways on CSS Background Blur

What You’ve Learned

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the backdrop-filter CSS property in depth. We’ve learned about its definition and purpose, and how it can be used to create a variety of visual effects, including blurring, color shifting, and contrast adjustment. We’ve also delved into some creative applications of the property, such as creating frosted glass and vignette effects and using it to enhance accessibility.

We’ve also discussed some important considerations when using the backdrop-filter property, including browser compatibility, performance implications, and appropriate use cases. We’ve learned that while backdrop-filter is a nice tool for enhancing the visual appeal of web pages, it’s important to use it carefully to ensure that designs remain accessible and user-friendly.

How to Take backdrop-filter to the Next Level

Now that you have a solid understanding of the backdrop-filter property, you’re well-equipped to start experimenting with it in your own projects. Remember, the key to mastering backdrop-filter is practice and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try out different filter functions, combine multiple filters, and play around with different values to see what effects you can create.

Also, keep in mind that while backdrop-filter is a great tool, it’s just one of many CSS properties that you can use to enhance your designs. Be sure to explore other CSS properties and techniques as well, and always keep the user experience at the forefront of your design decisions. Also, always feel free to come back to our blog for more resources and learning.

Additional Resources

To further enhance your understanding and mastery of the property, here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  1. MDN Web Docs : Mozilla’s MDN Web Docs is a comprehensive resource for developers, featuring detailed documentation on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more. The MDN page on the backdrop-filter property provides a thorough overview of the property, including its syntax, usage examples, and browser compatibility information.

  2. CSS-Tricks: CSS-Tricks is a website created by and for web designers and developers, packed with articles, tutorials, and guides on all things CSS. Their guide to the filter property is a great resource for learning more about this property and seeing it in action.

  3. W3Schools: W3Schools offers a wide range of tutorials and references on web development topics, including CSS. Their tutorial on the property includes interactive examples that allow you to experiment with different filter functions and see the results in real time.

  4. Can I use: Can I use is a valuable tool for checking the compatibility of web platform features across different browsers and browser versions, including the backdrop-filter property.

  5. CodePen: CodePen is an online code editor and open-source learning environment where developers can write code in the browser and see the results in real time. You can find numerous creative implementations of the property on CodePen, which can serve as inspiration for your own projects.

Remember, the key to mastering any new concept or technology is practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the backdrop-filter property and try out different things.

Use this video below as a guide while honing your backdrop filter CSS skills ⬇

Last Notes

Mastering the backdrop-filter CSS property can significantly enhance your web design skills, allowing you to create visually stunning and user-friendly websites. However, creating custom CSS components can be time-consuming.

That’s where Purecode.ai comes in. Purecode.ai is a marketplace library boasting a collection of over 10,000 custom AI-generated components of TailwindCSS, CSS3, and MUI. It’s designed to help you design quickly and efficiently, providing you with a vast array of components to choose from.

Happy coding! 💻

Emmanuel Uchenna

Emmanuel Uchenna

Emmanuel is an experienced and enthusiastic software developer and technical writer with 4+ proven years of professional experience. He focuses on full-stack web development. He is fluent in React, TypeScript, VueJS, and NodeJS and familiar with industry-standard technologies such as version control, headless CMS, and JAMstack. He is passionate about knowledge sharing.