It’s hard to think of a natural (or manmade) phenomena that grabs the attention quite like fire. You see it and can’t look away. Maybe it has something to do with that old fight-or-flight response?
But it’s not just the natural world taking notice. The web has long been home to fiery GIFs and all manner of attempts to digitally recreate the effect. And as technology has improved, so have the renderings of fire.
Thus, it seems like a good time to dig into the archives of CodePen to see how developers are working with flames these days. Below is a selection of the most interesting examples. Some are ultra-realistic; others are a bit more abstract. One thing they all have in common is the ability to command a user’s attention. Let’s get started!
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SVG on Fire
The use of SVG in animation has exploded in recent years. Combining the sharpness of vector graphics with movement is very attractive – and it’s on full-display in this snippet. The campfire-like effect looks similar to a faux fireplace that uses cellophane instead of real flames. The movements are natural and the tiny sparks are an added bonus.
This example, created with pure CSS, is reminiscent of a graphic equalizer. Here, the three layers of flames are represented by colored bars that rhythmically jump up and down. Far from realistic, but fun nonetheless.
Candle in the (Strong) Wind
When we think of fire effects, our first thought may be of an overwhelming visual. But subtlety can also be quite effective, as is the case with this animated logo. Here, the effect adds a touch of modernity to the retro-styled composition.
Much like fire effects, 8-bit graphics seem to have found a permanent home on the web. Their simple, pixelated look is both fun and a great reminder of classic video games. This snippet shows both of the effects coming together in glorious harmony. At first glance, a line of fire fades out. Then you realize that the flames are also attached to cursor movements. As you move around, fire follows. Totally rad!
Flying Through Space
It’s hard to believe that this flame-tinged sky effect was crafted with just HTML and CSS. But it shows what’s possible with a seamless background and some movement. Warp speed, indeed.
This is not your traditional campfire. Rather, it seems more liquid-like (or maybe even a tad like a ghost). Still, this would be a great fit for sites that rely more on illustrations to tell their story. The movements are subtle and, despite the uniqueness of the look, still recognizable.
Time Stands Still
Here’s a different take on fire. Having a full-width background of raging orange and yellow flames could be a little too intense. This snippet offers a great alternative. A still photo of flames sits in the background, while hundreds of tiny particles act as sparks, dancing their way around them. The effect is something to behold.
Burning up the Web
Sure, the use of fire effects isn’t appropriate for every website. But there are a number of potential use cases. Sites that focus on specific topics such as camping, the outdoors or even scary stories could be a fit. You might even see it implemented on the official site of the next big action movie.
So, while fire may be among the most ancient things in our world, we might also use it to judge our present.