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Creating Flying Memes Using CSS3 Overlay Effect

Meme: The world isn't fair

Memes have become a novel way of conveying information or messages.

This area of creativity finds augmentation with current generation applications like Photoshop and CSS. Originally, these creations were meant to entertain and instigate viewers. However, with its growing popularity more variations are being introduced. Keeping the basic aspects of wit and humor intact, photos and images are being enhanced for greater impact on viewers’ minds. With introduction of novel tools, the realm of memes has also expanded to formal communication. Marketing organizations are even using innovative memes in greater extent for publicity and online business.

Super Bowl Meme 2014

Lately, flying memes are being used increasingly for creating a greater impact on online viewers. CSS3 is the tool used for such interesting creations. There are several reasons contributing to designers’ and meme makers’ preference for CSS3. The primary reason for using this tool is its capability of creating ‘overlays’. These ‘overlays’ essentially appear in the form of a mini page with the main web page dimmed in the background. These overlays carry special information, questions, call to action commands, or pop-up dialogues. You can visit for activating these overlays.

Element absolutely positioned – Creation of overlays is possible by introducing HTML elements. Here it is vital to position an overlay absolutely in comparison to the main body of a web page and not in respect to different divisions contained therein. Another important consideration about an overlay is that it should cover an entire viewport. For this, the content of a principal web page must reach up to the bottom of a viewport. It is a necessary condition for an overlay to be totally visible.

When this is done, the height of both your overlay and principal page covers your entire viewport and the former scrolls up when the latter is scrolled down, and vice versa. When flying memes are used in overlays it would be ideal to fix a minimum height that varies with content length. In order to make a flying meme overlay cover an entire web page, a relative position must be set such that its height increases with body’s length.

The greatest benefit of this process is its compatibility with popular browsers.

I'm not talking about twitter (Jesus) meme

Fixed position element – This form of overlaying uses similar HTML syntax as in absolute positioning. The distinction lies in its positioning. Instead of an absolute positioning a fixed position is given to an outlay such that an entire viewport is covered both vertically and horizontally. The position of such an outlay remains unchanged irrespective of scrolling up or down along an entire web page. Unlike absolute positioned elements which are in respect to a web page, fixed positioned elements are in respect to viewport. The viewport in this case is your browser window.

In fixed positioned outlays, placing an overlay is never a problem as its fixation is in relation to your viewport. However there is one word of caution for fixed position flying memes. In case an overlay’s original design gets transformed for some reason, all its manifestations get contained in a single block.

Application of an outline – No additional applications are necessary to create an overlay with dimmed background as is usual with other CSS3 applications. Only a large outline application to a modal window is sufficient to achieve a dimming effect on a web page. This makes your flying memes more prominent. Outline to a modal when it pops up creates a dimming effect on a background web page. Care needs to be taken that the outline is large enough to cover an entire viewport. Here it is to be noted that the dark overlay behind modals does not affect mouse operations with other elements on a web page. This is very unlike overlay creations with other CSS3 applications.

Usage of a pseudo-element – For avoiding addition of empty elements in a mark-up, pseudo-elements might be used for creating overlays. The techniques of creating overlays of flying memes are similar to other CSS3 apps, except that the styling is done by introduction of a pseudo-element. The position of this pseudo-element could be chosen either as absolute relative to a web page or be given a fixed position. It needs to be considered that this technique does not apply for mobile formats and is only applicable for larger display communication devices such as laptops, tablets, and desktops.

Large box shadow for a modal – Here, instead of applying an outline, a large box shadow is created for a modal. The dimmed overlay in the background does not affect interactions with on page entities that appear behind a modal. Use of box shadows has limitations particularly in cases of fixed element applications. The scrolling becomes slow because of presence of fixed elements and large box shadows. Once again this app is suitable for larger formats such as desktops and laptops.

Usage of HTML ‘dialog’ – This variation of CSS3 is the latest in creating flying memes. Of all variations of this tool, this is probably the most organized and systematic. The ‘dialog’ element is the key in creating overlays for a modal window. This element is a part of an application that allows a user to perform specific tasks such as creating flying memes or a dialogue box.


This element is characterized by three salient features:

i.            A dialogue box by default is vertically centred in an opened viewport. This is positioned absolutely allowing it to be scrolled away. Centring of viewport occurs independently of dialogue box position.

ii.            Stacking a layer atop an existing CSS pile, monitors behavior of these dialogue boxes. ‘Full-screen’ and ‘dialogue’ specifications both utilize the top layer. This top layer also accommodates modal dialogues. This is done by the application itself and without human intervention.

iii.            As these dialogues are modal, an entire document gets blocked when they are opened. Where more than one dialogue box is involved, a ‘pending stack’ arrangement takes care.

A dialogue element is integrated with a ‘backdrop’ pseudo element that enables background styling by creating a dimmed overlay. Unlike other processes, the styling is done in a simpler way.

About the author – Alvin Harris is a Meme member – Memes lets you effortlessly share funny pictures. Alvin has a penchant to write about the complicated topics, and that too in a lucid manner.

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