CSS shaders

23 October 2011

Vincent Hardy, Adobe Systems,
Dean Jackson, Apple Inc.,
Erik Dahlström, ,

This specification is not being actively maintained, and should not be used as a guide for implementations. CSS shaders are an integrated part of Filter Effects.
If you have questions or comments on this specification, please send an email to the FX Task Forces's mailing list at public-fx@w3.org. (Before sending mail for the first time, you have to subscribe at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-fx/.)


This document describes a proposed feature called "CSS shaders". CSS shaders are a complement to the Filter Effects specification and a solution for its feCustom element. In addition, CSS shaders introduce a notion of vertex shader into the filter model. The CSS shaders feature is proposed for consideration by the FX Task Force and could be integrated in the Filter Effects specification or made a separate module. This document is the result of ACTION-3072

Table of contents

1. Introduction

Graphics architectures such as Microsoft's Direct3D or OpenGL have a notion of vertex shaders that operate on point coordinates (vertices) and a notion of fragment shaders (often called pixel shaders) which operate on pixel color values.

Vertex shaders operate on a mesh of vertices and provide a way to provide a wide variety of distortion effects (such as a curl, wobble, folding or waving effect). Fragment shaders allow per-pixel operations effects such as a bloom effect and various image effects (such as blur, glows or edge detection).

When applied to document content such as HTML or SVG elements, shaders can be used in very interesting ways. These 2D elements can conceptually be drawn on a mesh of vertices that can then be processed through a vertex shader for distortion and then to a fragment shader for pixel processing.

This document proposes to bring the expressiveness of vertex and fragment shaders to CSS so that all visual content styled with CSS can benefit from these sophisticated effects.

Shaders are particularly interesting in the context of animated transitions and a complement to the Filter Effects 1.0, the CSS Animations, the CSS Transitions and the SVG Animations specifications.

A shader is essentially a small program which provides a particular effect (such as a distortion, a blur or a twirl effect) and whose behavior is controlled with input parameters (such as the amount of distortion, blur or twirl).

This document proposes:

  1. a model and a CSS syntax to make vertex shaders apply to arbitrary markup content.
  2. a CSS syntax to make fragment shaders operate with other filter effects primitives.
  3. a CSS syntax to make fragment shaders to be used with the filter property.
  4. a CSS syntax to pass parameters to fragment and vertex shaders.
  5. a CSS syntax to control the granularity of the vertex mesh processed by CSS shaders.
  6. a CSS syntax for defining a filter effect regions (applicable to CSS shaders, but generally useful for filter effects).

Following are a few examples illustrating how shaders could apply to content styled with CSS.

Element before applying shaders

1.1. Simple animated vertex shader example

The following figure shows a simple vertex shader that transforms vertices to create a ‘waving’ effect. The code snippet illustrates how a ‘wave.vs’ vertex shader is used for the effect and how the effect can be animated when hovering on an element using CSS transitions (see [CSS3-TRANSITIONS]).

Element with a vertex shader applied

.waving      {
    filter: custom(url('wave.vs'), 20 20, phase 0, amplitude 50);
    transition-property: filter;
    transition-duration: 0.2s;

.waving:hover {
    filter: custom(url('wave.vs'), 20 20, phase 90, amplitude 20);


    <div class='waving'>
        <h2>Hello CSS Shaders</h2>

The meaning of the different parameters are explained in this document in details: url('wave.vs') references the custom vertex shader that computes the waving effect. The 20 20 parameter controls the vertex mesh granularity, so that the wave is smooth. Finally, the phase and amplitude parameters control the shape and strength of the sinusoidal curve used for the waving effect.

1.2. Combined vertex and fragment shaders example

The following figure shows a combination of a vertex shader (to give an ‘open book’ form to the element) and a fragment shader (to give the image an ‘old paper’ color style, with a subtle shadow around the middle).

Element with both a vertex shader
and a fragment shader applied

.old-book-page {
    filter: grayscale(1.0) 
            custom(url('book.vs') url('old-page-paper.fs'));


    <div class='old-book-page'>
        <h2>Hello CSS Shaders</h2>

Note how the ‘filter’ property (defined in the Filter Effects 1.0 specification) is extended with a custom() function and how that function can be combined with one of the existing filter functions (such as grayscale() in the above example)

The shading language is discussed in a later section.

Each shader defines its own set of parameters. Typically, different shaders will have different parameters with different types. For example, a ‘box-blur’ shader could have a ‘box-size’ parameter.

The proposal allows an arbitrary number of parameters for shaders

1.3. Relation to WebGL and Filter Effects

1.3.1. WebGL

WebGL provides an implementation for the HTML5 canvas element. WebGL offers a 3D context for canvas and, within that context, fragment shaders are available (and so are vertex shaders and all the other 3D features WebGL has to offer). WebGL operates within the bounds of the canvas for which it provides a context for full 3D features. By contrast, CSS shaders provide a way to apply arbitrary vertex and fragment shaders to arbitrary Web content.

1.3.2. Filter Effects

The Filter Effects specification offers a way to apply a finite set of filter primitives for arbitrary Web content. For each primitive, there is a CSS syntax to configure the primitive effects. For example, there is a parameter to specify the strength of the sepia() filter primitive. CSS shaders provide an extensibility mechanism to Filter Effects by allowing an author to reference a custom shader effect and configure it with an arbitrary set of parameters.

In addition, CSS shaders bring the ability to transform the geometry of document elements in an arbitrary way by allowing vertex shaders to apply to the elements's box (generated box in HTML, object bounding box in SVG).

2. Processing Model

This section illustrates the CSS shader processing model as it applies to an element whose unfiltered rendering is shown in figure 1.

2.1. Key concepts

source texture
The source texture is created by rendering the filtered element into an offscreen image. The offscreen size and position (relative to the target element's box [see targetBox]) is controlled by the filter region.

Source texture created by rendering
the element offscreen and adding filter primitive margins

When a CSS shader is used in a filter graph (with an feCustom filter primitive), the source texture is the output of the feCustoms input (the ’in' attribute).
Note that applying a ‘filter’ to an element creates a new pseudo-stacking context, as defined in the Filter Effects specification.
filter region
The filter region defines the size and position of the source texture. In the previous figure, the blue border represents the filter region. The filter region is the intersection of the filter effect region and the filter primitive subregion
vertex mesh
The vertex mesh defines the geometry that is processed by the vertex shader. By default, the extent of the vertex mesh is the same as the filter region. In the following figure, the red markers represent the default vertices in the default vertex mesh. The diagonal line illustrate how the vertices define two triangles.

The default vertex mesh and its default vertices

It is possible to define a finer vertex mesh (see the custom() function and the 'vertexMesh' attribute).

A finer, custom vertex mesh

The <box> parameter in the vertexMesh attribute value controls if the mesh aligns with the filter region box, the content box, the padding box or the border box.

The mesh-box is the box the mesh aligns with.

The shader mesh can either be a set of connected triangles, or a set of disconnected triangles. This option is controlled by the detached parameter.

2.2. Model

A CSS shader defines a custom filter primitive. The following figure illustrates its model.

The CSS shader processing model

The CSS shader is defined by a custom() function or an <feCustom> filter primitive. As explained later, a custom() function is a shorthand for defining a <filter> element with a single <feCustom> filter primitive. Therefore, the discussion explains the feCustom model.

The input of the feCustom filter primitive is the same as most of the other filter primitives and defined by that element's ‘in attribute. This is represented as the input of step one in the figure.

The input of the <feCustom> filter primitive is used as a texture on a vertex mesh. By default, the vertex mesh has the position and size of the filter region and its granularity is controlled by the vertexMesh attribute on <feCustom> (and the <vertex-mesh> parameter in the custom() function). The creation of this vertex mesh with the input texture mapped to the vertices is represented in the figure as the output of step 1.

The <feCustom> node processes the vertex mesh through the vertex shader in step 2, which produces a set of transformed vertices. This transformed vertices are the output of step 2.

During the rasterization step, the <feCustom> primitive invokes the fragment shader for every pixel location inside the vertex mesh to perform per pixel operation and produce the final pixel color at that vertex mesh location. This is the output of step 3. Note that the fragment shader may be called several time for what corresponds to the same pixel coordinate on the output, for example when the vertex mesh folds over itself.

Step 4 shows how this rasterized output is the input to the next step in the filter chain (or graph, since <filter> elements can define a graph of filters). If the <feCustom> primitive is the last one in the filter chain, then this output is the filtered rendering of the element. Otherwise, the output of the primitive becomes the input to the next filter primitive using it.

The CSS fragment shaders processing model follows the Filter Effects 1.0 specification with regards to how filters apply to HTML and how the filter region is computed.

One issue with filter effects is the impact on interactivity. Filters can offset the visual rendering of content and affect the way users interact with content. For example, the feOffset element moves the element's rendering by a given offset, which biases the interaction: the end user may click on an element and actually hit a different one because of the offset. This issue is expected to be more acute with vertex shaders and the working group should consider a general solution to this issue that works for both predefined filter effects and custom ones.

3. Integration in Filter Effects 1.0

This document provides a definition for the feCustom element in the Filter Effects specification. It also defines the ‘custom()’ function for use in the ‘filter’ property.

3.1. The custom() function

The custom() function has the following syntax:

<vertex-shader> <uri> | none
<fragment-shader> <uri> | none
<vertex-mesh> +<integer>{1,2}[wsp<box>][wsp'detached']
where: <box> = filter-box | border-box | padding-box | content-box
<params> See the <feCustom>s params attribute.

The custom() function is a shorthand for the following filter effect:

    <feCustom vertexShader="vertex-shader" 

It can be used in combination with other filter shorthands, for example:

filter: sepia(0.5) custom(none url(add.fs), amount 0.2 0.2 0.2);

It might be clearer to name the custom() function the shader() function instead and introduce an feCustomShader filter primitive instead of feCustom.

3.2. The feCustom element

The Filter Effects specification does not define the feCustom element. This document proposes the following definition.

Content model:
Any number of the following elements, in any order:
vertexShader: <uri>
The shader at <uri> provides the implementation for the feCustom vertex shader. If the shader cannot be retrieved, or if the shader cannot be loaded or compiled because it contains erroneous code, the shader is a pass through. Otherwise, the vertex shader is invoked for all the vertex mesh vertices.
fragmentShader: <uri>
The shader at <uri> provides the implementation for the feCustom fragment shader. If the shader cannot be retrieved, or if the shader cannot be loaded or compiled because it contains erroneous code, the shader is a pass through. Otherwise, the fragment shader is invoked for each of the pixels during the rasterization phase that follows the vertex shader processing.
vertexMesh: +<integer>{1,2}[wsp<box>][wsp’detached']
See the vertexMesh attribute discussion
params: [<param-def>[,<param-def>*]]
Parameters are passed as uniforms to both the vertex and the fragment shaders.
<param-def> <param-name>wsp<param-value>
<param-name> <ident>
<param-value> true|false[wsp+true|false]{0-3} |
<number>[wsp+<number>]{0-3} |
<array> |
<transform> |
<array> array(’<number>[wsp<number>]*‘)
<transform> <css-3d-transform> | <mat>
<css-3d-transform> <transform-function>;[<transform-function>]*
<mat> mat2(’<number>(,<number>){3}‘)’ |
mat3(’<number>(,<number>){8}‘)’ |
mat4(’<number>(,<number>){15}‘)’ )

There are two ways to specify a 4x4 matrix. They differ in how they are interpolated.

The <mat> values are in column major order. For example, mat2(1, 2, 3, 4) has [1, 2] in the first column and [3, 4] in the second one.

There may be different ways to specify the <param-value> syntax. For example, it might be better to not have a texture() function and simply a <uri> for texture parameters. Or it might be better to not have a mat<n> prefixes for matrices.

The following document from Mozilla describes how WebGL vertex and fragment shaders can be defined in <script> elements.

CSS shaders can reference shaders defined in <script> elements, as shown in the following code snippet.

<script id="warp" type="x-shader/x-vertex" >
<-- source code here -->

.shaded {
    filter: custom(url(#warp));

3.2.1. The ‘vertexMesh’ attribute

The <feCustom>s ’vertexMesh' attribute defines the granularity of vertices in the shader mesh. By default, the vertex mesh is made of two triangles that encompass the filter region area.

One or two positive integers (zero is invalid) indicating the additional number of vertex lines and columns that will make the vertex mesh. With the initial value of ‘1 1’ there is a single line and a single column, resulting in a four-vertices mesh (top-left, top-right, bottom-right, bottom-left). If only one value is specified, the second (columns) value computes to the first value. In other words, a value of ‘n’ is equivalent to a value of ‘n n’.
A value of ‘n m’ results in a vertex mesh that has ‘n’ lines and ‘m’ column and a total of ‘n + 1’.‘m + 1’ vertices as illustrated in the following figure.

The optional <box> parameter defines the box on which the vertex mesh is stretched to. It defaults to the ‘filter-box’ value which is ‘border-box’ with the added filter margins. For elements that do not have padding or borders (e.g., SVG elements), the values ‘padding-box’ and ‘border-box’ are equivalent to ‘content-box’. For SVG elements, the ‘content-box’ is the object bounding box.

The optional ‘detached’ string specifies whether the mesh triangles are attached or detached. If the value is not specified, the triangles are attached. If ‘detached’ is specified, the triangles are detached. When triangles are attached, the geometry provided to the vertex shader is made of a triangles which share adjacent edges' vertices. In the ‘detached’ mode, the triangles do not share edges.

In the following figure, let us consider the top-left ‘tile’ in the shader mesh. In the detached mode, the vertex shader will receive the bottom right and top left vertices multiple time, one of each of the two triangles which make up the tile. Otherwise, the shader will receive these vertices only once, because they are shared by the ‘connected’ triangles.

See the discussion on uniforms passed to shaders to understand how the shader programs can leverage that feature.

vertexMesh: 6 5

The above figure illustrates how a ‘vertexMesh’ value of ‘5 4’ adds vertices passed to the vertex shader. The red vertices are the default ones and the gray vertices are resulting from the ‘vertexMesh’ value.

The following example applies a vertex shader (‘distort.vs’) to elements with class ‘distorted’. The vertex shader will operate on a mesh that has 5 lines and 4 columns (because there are 4 additional lines and 3 additional columns).

    .distorted {
        filter: custom(url(distort.vs), 4 3);

    <div class="distorted">
which could also be written as:
.distorted {
    filter: url(#distort);


<filter id="distort">
    <feCustom vertexShader="url(distort.vs)" vertexMesh="4 3" />

<div class="distorted">

3.3. Shader inputs in filter graph

When an feCustom filter primitive is used in a filter graph, a ‘texture’ parameter can take a value of ‘result(<name>)’ where ‘name’ is the output of another filter primitive.

    <feGaussianBlur stdDeviation="8" result="blur" />
    <feTurbulence type="fractalNoise" baseFrequency="0.4" numOctaves="4" result="turbulence"/>
    <feCustom fragmentShader="url(complex.fs)" params="tex1 result(blur), tex2 result(turbulence)" />

4. Properties

There are current discussions in the FX task force about computing filter regions automatically. CSS shaders add a new requirement to that discussion, because it may be non-trivial to compute the filter region of a custom filter automatically.

The ideal solution, from an authoring perspective, is to define how to compute filter regions automatically to create the desired effect in all cases, including custom filters. The proposed filter margin properties, specified below, would not be required if a solution to the automatic computation of filter region is found and agreed upon.

4.1. Filter margins properties: ‘filter-margin-top’, ‘filter-margin-bottom’, ‘filter-margin-left’, ‘filter-margin-right’, and ‘filter-margin

The ‘filter-margin’ properties define the filter effect region for filters defined with filter functions such as the ‘custom()’ function defined in this document. If the filter property references a <filter> element, then the filter effect region defined by the element takes precedence over the ‘filter-margin’ property.

On a regular <filter> element, the x, y, width and height attributes define the filter effects region.

The following sections describe the ‘filter-margin-top’, ‘filter-margin-left’, ‘filter-margin-bottom’, ‘filter-margin-right’ properties.

The filter-margin properties are a shorthand mechanism for defining a filter region equivalent to:

<filter filterUnits="objectBoundingBox" 
        x="fx(targetBox, [filter-margin-left])"
        y="fy(targetBox, [filter-margin-top])"
        width="fw(targetBox, [filter-margin-left], [filter-margin-right])"
        height="fh(targetBox, [filter-margin-top], [filter-margin-bottom])">
    <!-- filter primitives for the filter function -->


Margin properties specify the width of the filter region of a box. The ’filter-margin’ shorthand property sets the margin for all four sides while the other margin properties only set their respective side. These properties apply to all elements (which is different from the regular margin properties where vertical margins will not have any effect on non-replaced inline elements).

The ‘filter-margin-top’, ‘filter-margin-bottom’, ‘filter-margin-left’, ‘filter-margin-right’ can take the same values are the ‘margin-top’, ‘margin-bottom’, ‘margin-left’ and ‘margin-right’ properties, respectively. In addition, they can take the ‘auto’ value which is also their default value.

The ‘filter-margin’ property can take the same values as the ‘margin’ property and is a shorthand for setting ‘filter-margin-top’, ‘filter-margin-right’, ‘filter-margin-bottom’ and ‘filter-margin-left’ at the same place in the stylesheet.

The following figure illustrates how the various filter-margin properties affect the filter region.

The filter region

The blue border delimit the filter region. The margins are represented by:

Name: filter-margin-top, filter-margin-right, filter-margin-bottom, filter-margin-left
Value: <margin-width> | inherit | auto
Initial auto
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: no
Percentages: refer to the containing block
Media: visual
Computed value: the percentage as specified or the absolute length. A value of auto computes to 10% of the targetBox

5. Integration with CSS Animations and CSS Transitions

The attributes and properties defined in this document can be subject to animation as any other attribute or CSS property.

Even though the Filter Effects specification does not clarify that point, this document assumes that the ‘filter’ property can be animated and that interpolation happens between the filter functions only if the ‘filter’ values have the same number of filter functions appearing in the same order.

5.1. Interpolating the shader-params component in the custom() function.

To interpolate between params values in a custom() filter function or between <feCustom> params attribute values, the user agent should interpolate between each of the [param-def] values according to its type. List of values need to be of the same length. Matrices need to be of the same dimension. Arrays need to be of the same size.

Interpolation between shader params only happens if all the other shader properties are identical: vertex shader, fragment shader, filter margins and vertex mesh.

<number>[wsp<number>{0-3}] Interpolate between each of the values.
<true|false>[wsp<true|fals>{0-3}] Interpolate between each of the values using a step function.
<array> Interpolate between the array elements.
<css-3d-transform> Follows the CSS 3D transform interpolation rules.
<mat> Interpolate between the matrix components (applies to mat2, mat3 and mat4).
As with the ‘transform’ property, it is not possible to animate the different components of the ‘shader-params’ property on different timelines or with different keyframes. This is a generic issue of animating properties that have multiple components to them.

6. Shading language

6.1. Precedents

There are many precedents for shading languages, for example:

6.2. Recommended shading language

This document recommends the adoption of the subset of GLSL ES defined in the WebGL 1.0 specification.

In particular, the same restrictions as defined in WebGL should apply to CSS shaders:

All the parameters specified in the <shader-params> values (e.g., the feCustom's param attribute or the custom(<uri>, <shader-params>) filter function or the shader property value) will be available as uniforms to the shader(s) referenced by the ‘shader’ property.

The group may consider applying further restrictions to the GLSL ES language to make it easier to write vertex and fragment shaders.

The OpenGL ES shading language provides a number of variables that can be passed to shaders, exchanged between shaders or set by shaders. In particular, a vertex shader can provide specific data to the fragment shader in the form of ‘varying’ parameters (parameters that vary per pixel). The following sections describe particular variables that are assumed for the vertex and fragment shaders in CSS shaders.

Even though this document recommends the GLSL ES shading language, there are other possible options to consider, for example: The implementation could use the mime type of the url or <script> element to determine the the shading language.

6.2.1. Vertex attribute variables

The following attribute variables are available to the vertex shader.

attribute vec4 a_position The vertex coordinates in the filter region box. Coordinates are normalized to the [-0.5, 0.5] range along the x, y and z axis.
attribute vec2 a_texCoord; The vertex's texture coordinate. Coordinates are in the [0, 1] range on both axis
attribute vec2 a_meshCoord; The vertex's coordinate in the mesh box. Coordinates are in the [0, 1] range on both axis.
attribute vec3 a_triangleCoord;

The x and y values provide the coordinate of the current ‘tile’ in the shader mesh. For example, (0, 0) for the top right tile in the mesh. The x and y values are in the [0, mesh columns] and [0, mesh rows] range, respectively.

The z coordinate is computed according to the following figure. The z coordinate value is provided for each vertex and corresponding triangle. For example, for the bottom right vertex of the top triangle, the z coordinate will be 2. For the bottom right vertex of the bottom triangle, the z coordinate will be 4.

The a_triangleCoord.z value

6.2.2. Shader uniform variables

The following uniform variables are set to specific values by the user agent:

uniform mat4 u_projectionMatrix The current projection matrix to the destination texture's coordinate space). Note that the ‘model matrix’ which the ‘transform’ property sets, is not passed to the shaders. It is applied to the filtered element's rendering.
uniform sampler2D u_texture The input texture. Includes transparent margins for the filter margins.
uniform sampler2D u_contentTexture A texture with the rendering of the filtered element. If the filter is the first in the filter chain, then, this texture is the same as the u_texture uniform. However, if there are preceding filters, this provides the rendering of the original filtered element, whereas u_texture provides the output of the preceding filter in the filter chain (or graph).
uniform vec2 u_textureSize The input texture's size. Includes the filter margins.
uniform vec4 u_meshBox The mesh box position and size in the filter box coordinate system. For example, if the mesh box is the filter box, the value will be (-0.5, -0.5, 1, 1).
uniform vec2 u_tileSize The size of the current mesh tile, in the same coordinate space as the vertices.
uniform vec2 u_meshSize The size of the current mesh in terms of tiles. The x coordinate provides the number of columns and the y coordinate provides the number of rows.

6.2.3. Varyings

When the author provides both a vertex and a fragment shader, there is no requirement on the varyings passed from the vertex shader to the fragment shader. If no vertex shader is provided, the fragment shader can expect the v_texCoord varying. If no fragment shader is provided, the vertex shader must compute a v_texCoord varying for the default shaders.

varying vec2 v_texCoord; The current pixel's texture coordinates (in u_texture).

6.2.4. Other uniform variables: the CSS shaders parameters

When there parameters are passed to the custom() filter function or the feCustom filter primitive, the user agent pass uniforms of the corresponding name and type to the shaders.

The following table shows the mapping between CSS shader parameters and uniform types.

CSS param type GLSL uniform type
true|false[wsp+true|false]{0-3} bool, bvec2, bvec3 or bvec4
<number>[wsp+<number>]{0-3} float, vec2, vec3 or vec4
<array> float[n]
<css-3d-transform> mat4
mat2(’<number>(,<number>){3}‘)’ |
mat3(’<number>(,<number>){8}‘)’ |
mat2, mat3 or mat4
texture(<uri>) sampler2D

The following code sample illustrates that mechanism.


.shaded {
    filter: custom(
                   url(distort.vs) url(tint.fs), 
                   distortAmount 0.5, lightVector 1.0 1.0 0.0, 
                   disp texture(disp.png)

Shader (vertex or fragment)

uniform float distortAmount;
uniform vec3 lightVector;
uniform sampler2D disp;
uniform vec2 dispSize;

As illustrated in the example, for each <textureName> texture() parameter, an additional vec2 uniform is passed to the shaders with the size of the corresponding texture.

6.2.5. Default shaders

If no vertex shader is provided, the default one is as shown below.

attribute vec4 a_position;
attribute vec2 a_texCoord;

uniform mat4 u_projectionMatrix;

varying vec2 v_texCoord;

void main()
    v_texCoord = a_texCoord;
    gl_Position = u_projectionMatrix * a_position;


If no fragment shader is provided, the default one is shown below.

varying vec2 v_texCoord;
uniform sampler2D u_texture;

void main()
    gl_FragColor = texture2D(u_texture, v_texCoord);  

6.2.6. Texture access

If shaders access texture values outside the [0, 1] range on both axis, the returned value is a fully transluscent black pixel.

6.3. Security considerations

Since vertex and fragment shaders are programs that would be executed by the user agent, it is important to consider the security implications.

The same efforts made on making WebGL highly secure would apply to CSS shaders, since this document proposes to share the same shading language.

In addition, CSS shaders offer a restricted environment for shaders. Scripts have no access to the shaders output and no communication is possible between the shaders and the page's scripts or external servers. Possible denial of service attack are a concern. There are active efforts to address these issues for WebGL and these efforts would apply to CSS shaders.

In addition, the group may consider adding restrictions on the number of parameters allowed for shaders, as well as the size of input textures, vertex mesh size and number of shader parameters.

The working group should decide on restrictions that will apply to shaders, to avoid information leakage. Timing attack are an example of a method to compute the content pixel values without having actual API access to the pixel values. However, it seems difficult to mount such an attack with CSS shaders because the means to measure the time taken by a cross-domain shader are limited.

The group could decide to limit the cross domain usage of shaders or shader textures, and only permit the use of same domain shaders and textures or only allow those validated through Cross Origin Resource Sharing.


Many thanks to Mihnea Vlad-Ovidenie, Alexandru Chiculita and Andrei Valentin Onea for their help defining and prototyping the features proposed in this note. Thanks to Ken Russell for his input and discussion about WebGL. Thanks to Benoit Jacob and Robert O’Callahan for the discussion on security, parameter typing and filter margins and some WebGL precedents.

Thanks to Ben Schwarz and Jerrold Maddox for their guidance creating a legible design for this specification proposal. Any remaining design errors would be the editor’s failure to follow their recommendations.

Change Log

6.4. October 19 2011


Normative references

Bert Bos; et al. Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification. 7 June 2011. W3C Recommendation. URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/REC-CSS2-20110607

Other references

Dean Jackson; et al. CSS Transitions. 3 April 2012. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/WD-css3-transitions-20120403/


Property index

Property Values Initial Applies to Inh. Percentages Media
filter-margin-top, filter-margin-right, filter-margin-bottom, filter-margin-left <margin-width> | inherit | auto all elements no refer to the containing block visual