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Create a Silkscreen Effect For Web Images With CSS3

css / gradients

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Creating the visual effect of silkscreening - forming an image out of tiny dots of color - is easy to achieve in a web page with . The technique shown here uses multiple backgrounds in a div element: one repeating radial gradient that is closely related to the polka-dot effect in my Pop-Art CSS3 Effects Article, just at a smaller cell size, combined with a greyscale filter to desaturate the colors in the image.

I’ve also placed a full-size version of the same image (supplied by P Lam Khun) in the background of the <div>, set to a width of 100% to create a fluid, . I’ve also added a transition effect.

The Markup

The markup includes an inline SVG filter for Firefox. The <div> is empty, but will be propped open by using padding-bottom, in a method similar to that used to make YouTube videos responsive:

<div id="silkscreen"></div>
<svg version="1.1" xmlns=""> 
<filter id="greyscale">
<feColorMatrix type="matrix" values="0.3333 0.3333 0.3333 0 0
0.3333 0.3333 0.3333 0 0
0.3333 0.3333 0.3333 0 0
0      0      0      1 0"/>


The stylesheet sets multiple background images in the <div> to layer and repeat, while applying :

div#silkscreen {
background: radial-gradient(rgba(0,0,0,0) 45%,
rgba(0,0,0,0.4) 46%),
radial-gradient(rgba(0,0,0,0) 45%, rgba(0,0,0,0.4) 46%),
padding-bottom: 60%;
max-width: 800px; width: 80%;
margin: 0 auto;
background-position: 0 0, 2px 2px;
background-size:4px 4px, 4px 4px, 100% 100%;
background-repeat: repeat, repeat, no-repeat;
-webkit-filter: grayscale(1);
filter: url(#greyscale);
filter: grayscale(1);
transition: 1.3s
div#silkscreen:hover {
-webkit-filter: grayscale(0); filter: none; 

For more details on the filter, read my article on converting an image to black and white.

Check out the code for this effect on CodePen
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