How to change the opacity (alpha, transparency) of an element in a canvas element after it has been drawn?


Using the HTML5 <canvas> element, I would like to load an image file (PNG, JPEG, etc.), draw it to the canvas completely transparently, and then fade it in. I have figured out how to load the image and draw it to the canvas, but I don't know how to change its opacity once it as been drawn.

Here's the code I have so far:

var canvas = document.getElementById('myCanvas');

if (canvas.getContext)
    var c           = canvas.getContext('2d');
    c.globalAlpha   = 0;

    var img     = new Image();
    img.onload  = function() {
        c.drawImage(img, 0, 0);
    img.src     = 'image.jpg';

Will somebody please point me in the right direction like a property to set or a function to call that will change the opacity?

1/24/2016 11:36:22 PM

Accepted Answer

I am also looking for an answer to this question, (to clarify, I want to be able to draw an image with user defined opacity such as how you can draw shapes with opacity) if you draw with primitive shapes you can set fill and stroke color with alpha to define the transparency. As far as I have concluded right now, this does not seem to affect image drawing.

//works with shapes but not with images
ctx.fillStyle = "rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5)";

I have concluded that setting the globalCompositeOperation works with images.

//works with images
ctx.globalCompositeOperation = "lighter";

I wonder if there is some kind third way of setting color so that we can tint images and make them transparent easily.


After further digging I have concluded that you can set the transparency of an image by setting the globalAlpha parameter BEFORE you draw the image:

//works with images
ctx.globalAlpha = 0.5

If you want to achieve a fading effect over time you need some kind of loop that changes the alpha value, this is fairly easy, one way to achieve it is the setTimeout function, look that up to create a loop from which you alter the alpha over time.

1/5/2018 6:20:34 AM

Edit: The answer marked as "correct" is not correct.

It's easy to do. Try this code, swapping out "ie.jpg" with whatever picture you have handy:

            var canvas;
            var context;
            var ga = 0.0;
            var timerId = 0;

            function init()
                canvas = document.getElementById("myCanvas");
                context = canvas.getContext("2d");
                timerId = setInterval("fadeIn()", 100);

            function fadeIn()
                context.clearRect(0,0, canvas.width,canvas.height);
                context.globalAlpha = ga;
                var ie = new Image();
                ie.onload = function()
                    context.drawImage(ie, 0, 0, 100, 100);
                ie.src = "ie.jpg";

                ga = ga + 0.1;
                if (ga > 1.0)
                    goingUp = false;
    <body onload="init()">
        <canvas height="200" width="300" id="myCanvas"></canvas>

The key is the globalAlpha property.

Tested with IE 9, FF 5, Safari 5, and Chrome 12 on Win7.


The post is old so far I'll go with my suggestion. Suggestion is based on pixel manipulation in canvas 2d context. From MDN:

You can directly manipulate pixel data in canvases at the byte level

To manipulate pixels we'll use two functions here - getImageData and putImageData

getImageData function usage:

var myImageData = context.getImageData(left, top, width, height);

and putImageData syntax:

context.putImageData(myImageData, dx, dy); //dx, dy - x and y offset on your canvas

Where context is your canvas 2d context

So to get red green blue and alpha values, we'll do the following:

var r =[((x*(imageData.width*4)) + (y*4))];
var g =[((x*(imageData.width*4)) + (y*4)) + 1];
var b =[((x*(imageData.width*4)) + (y*4)) + 2];
var a =[((x*(imageData.width*4)) + (y*4)) + 3];

Where x is x offset, y is y offset on canvas

So we having code making image half-transparent

var canvas = document.getElementById('myCanvas');
var c = canvas.getContext('2d');
var img = new Image();
img.onload  = function() {
   c.drawImage(img, 0, 0);
   var ImageData = c.getImageData(0,0,img.width,img.height);
   for(var i=0;i<img.height;i++)
      for(var j=0;j<img.width;j++)[((i*(img.width*4)) + (j*4) + 3)] = 127;//opacity = 0.5 [0-255]
   c.putImageData(ImageData,0,0);//put image data back
img.src = 'image.jpg';

You can make you own "shaders" - see full MDN article here


You can. Transparent canvas can be quickly faded by using destination-out global composite operation. It's not 100% perfect, sometimes it leaves some traces but it could be tweaked, depending what's needed (i.e. use 'source-over' and fill it with white color with alpha at 0.13, then fade to prepare the canvas).

// Fill canvas using 'destination-out' and alpha at 0.05
ctx.globalCompositeOperation = 'destination-out';
ctx.fillStyle = "rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.05)";
ctx.fillRect(0, 0, width, height);
// Set the default mode.
ctx.globalCompositeOperation = 'source-over';

I think this answers the question best, it actually changes the alpha value of something that has been drawn already. Maybe this wasn't part of the api when this question was asked.

given 2d context c.

function reduceAlpha(x, y, w, h, dA) {
    var screenData = c.getImageData(x, y, w, h);
    for(let i = 3; i <; i+=4){[i] -= dA; //delta-Alpha
    c.putImageData(screenData, x, y );

If you use jCanvas library you can use opacity property when drawing. If you need fade effect on top of that, simply redraw with different values.


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