Re-rastering composited layers on scale change
Starting in Chrome 53, all content is re-rastered when its transform scale changes, if it does not have the
will-change: transform CSS property. In other words,
will-change: transform means "please animate it fast".
This only applies to transforms scales that happen via script manipulation, and does not apply to CSS animations or Web Animations.
This means your site will likely get better-looking content, but it may also be slower without some simple changes outlined below.
Implications for web developers
Under this change,
will-change: transform can be thought of as forcing the content to be rastered into a fixed bitmap, which subsequently never changes under transform updates. This allows developers to increase the speed of transform animations on that bitmap, such as moving it around, rotating or scaling it.
We do not distinguish between scale and translation transforms.
will-change: transform on elements when you need very fast (in other words, 60fps) transform animation speeds, and it is expected that rastering the element at high quality on every frame is not fast enough. Otherwise, avoid
To optimize the performance-quality tradeoff, you may want to add
will-change: transform when animations begin and remove it when they end. Be aware, however, that there is often a large one-time performance cost to adding or removing
Additional implementation considerations
will-change: transform causes content to be re-rastered at a crisp scale, but only on the next animation frame (via
requestAnimationFrame). Thus if you have a layer with
will-change: transform on it and simply wish to trigger a re-raster but then continue animating, you must remove will-change: transform, then re-add it in a
If at any time during an animation, you want to raster at the current scale, apply the above technique to remove in one frame, the re-add
will-change: transform in a subsequent frame.
This may have the side-effect of the content losing its composited layer, causing the above recommendation to be somewhat expensive. If that is a problem, we recommend adding
transform: translateZ(0) to the content as well to ensure it remains in a composited layer during this operation.
Summary of impact
This change has implications for rendered content quality, performance, and developer control.
- Rendered content quality: rendered output of elements which animate transform scale will always be crisp by default.
- Performance: animating transform when
will-change: transformis present will be fast.
- Developer control: developers can choose between quality and speed, on a per-element and per-animation frame basis by adding and removing
See the referenced design doc above for much more detail.
In this example, the element with the
remainsBlurry ID will stay blurry after this change, but the element with the
noLongerBlurry ID will become crisp. That is because the former has a
will- change: transform CSS property on it.
Examples of transform scale animations from real applications