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WWW… Wednesday! Zdog

by Taylor Slattery | August 28, 2019

zdog javascript engine for canvas

In their current unmoving form, the pictures in this article might appear to be simple vector illustrations, but they are in fact, fully-rotatable 3D models. They were made entirely through JavaScript, using a pseudo-3D library for canvas and SVG. The library was created by David DeSandro of Metafizzy, a Virginia-based web development company responsible for several other popular JavaScript libraries, though Zdog is by far the most unique.

zdog javascript engine for canvas

According to DeSandro, Zdog was created over the course of the last year during the few hours he found himself left with as a new father. DeSandro says he was inspired by Dogz, a Windows title that was released back in 95 and used similar techniques to depict 3D forms. DeSandro built upon the ideas established in Dogz and added the ability to rotate the models, creating an even more convincing sense of form.

zdog kirby

At 28kb for the entire library, it’s extremely light. The library functions like a 3D engine, allowing users to model 8 basic shapes with an additional class for creating custom shapes. It uses a declarative API, so if you have any coding experience you’ll be able to hit the ground running and start modeling immediately.

For those without experience, David has also made a series of instructional modules for new users to follow along with. Additionally, all of the examples on his site were created using Codepen, so clicking any of them will reveal all of the JavaScript coding that was used in their construction. You can check out Zdog here or find some of David’s other JavaScript libraries at Metafizzy. Also, be sure to check here or search #zdog on Twitter to see what others are making with the library.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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