How to stretch images with no antialiasing

So I ran across this recently:

And I was curious: Is there a way to do this sort of thing with smaller images? I mean, it's pixel art, and rather than using an image with each pixel quadrupled in size couldn't we stretch them with the code? So I started trying to make it happen.

I tried CSS, Javascript, and even HTML, none of which worked. They all blur up really badly (like this:, which brings me to my question: Can you stretch an image in-browser without any antialiasing?

I'm open to any suggestions, whether it's using a canvas, jQuery, CSS3, or whatever.

Thanks for the help!

EDIT: There's a better way to do this now! A slightly less hackish way! Here's the magic:

.pixelated {
    image-rendering: -moz-crisp-edges;
    image-rendering: -o-crisp-edges;
    image-rendering: -webkit-optimize-contrast;
    -ms-interpolation-mode: nearest-neighbor;
    image-rendering: pixelated;

And that'll stop the anti-aliasing in all the modern browsers. It'll even work in IE7-8, but not in 9, and I don't know of any way of doing it in 9, unfortunately (aside from the canvas hack outlined below). It's not even funny how much faster it is doing it this way than with JS. Here's more info on those:

EDIT2: Because this isn't an official spec yet, it's not very reliable. Chrome and FF both seem to have stopped supporting it since I wrote the above (according to this article which was mentioned below), which is really annoying. We're probably going to have to wait a few more years before we really can start using this in CSS, which is really unfortunate.

FINAL EDIT: There is an official way to do this now! There's a new property called image-rendering. It's in the CSS3 spec. Support is super spotty right now, but Chrome just added support so before too long we’ll be able to just say image-rendering: pixelated; and it’ll work all the places (yaayy evergreen browsers!)



The Canvas documentation explicitly does not specify a scaling method - in my own tests it did indeed anti-alias the image quite badly in Firefox.

The code below copies pixel by pixel from a source image (which must be from the same Origin or from a Data URI) and scales it by the specified factor.

An extra off-screen canvas (src_canvas) is required to receive the original source image, and its image data is then copied pixel by pixel into an on-screen canvas.

var img = new Image();
img.src = ...;
img.onload = function() {

    var scale = 8;

    var src_canvas = document.createElement('canvas');
    src_canvas.width = this.width;
    src_canvas.height = this.height;

    var src_ctx = src_canvas.getContext('2d');
    src_ctx.drawImage(this, 0, 0);
    var src_data = src_ctx.getImageData(0, 0, this.width, this.height).data;

    var dst_canvas = document.getElementById('canvas');
    dst_canvas.width = this.width * scale;
    dst_canvas.height = this.height * scale;
    var dst_ctx = dst_canvas.getContext('2d');

    var offset = 0;
    for (var y = 0; y < this.height; ++y) {
        for (var x = 0; x < this.width; ++x) {
            var r = src_data[offset++];
            var g = src_data[offset++];
            var b = src_data[offset++];
            var a = src_data[offset++] / 100.0;
            dst_ctx.fillStyle = 'rgba(' + [r, g, b, a].join(',') + ')';
            dst_ctx.fillRect(x * scale, y * scale, scale, scale);

Working demo at

EDIT a more optimal demo is available at that also uses a raw image data array for the destination canvas.


Nope. The browser does it however it does it, and you get no control over scaling algorithms.

However, I'm sure there is a canvas based solution you could make, but it would probably involve copying pixels out of a source image and strategically drawing them into the canvas. It would be tricky, but possible (and slow).


im not sure but maybe you can use imagedata. try this function..

function imageToImageData(image) {
     var canvas = document.createElement("canvas");
     canvas.width = image.width;
     canvas.height = image.height;
     var ctx = canvas.getContext("2d");
     ctx.drawImage(image, 0, 0);
     return ctx.getImageData(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);

I've gotten this to work for canvas

var canvas = document.getElementById("canvas"),
    context = canvas.getContext('2d');
context.webkitImageSmoothingEnabled = context.imageSmoothingEnabled = context.mozImageSmoothingEnabled = context.oImageSmoothingEnabled = false;

The only way I can think of is via canvas. You can try simply drawing the image to a canvas and then scaling the canvas -- I think that you won't get anti-aliasing this way. If you still do, you can try either scaling the image in the draw call or if that doesn't work, you could use getImageData and putImageData to scale the image "by hand"

update: first method works:


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