How to Recreate YouTube's Ambient Mode Glow Effect

In this article, we will explore the charming glow effect on YouTube’s video player and learn how to recreate it in our own videos. The effect, known as Ambient Mode, was introduced in 2022 and adds a subtle lighting effect to the video player, casting gentle colors from the video onto the screen’s background.

To understand how this effect is achieved, we need to dive into the HTML element and the requestAnimationFrame function. The element is a container that allows us to draw graphics using JavaScript’s Canvas API and WebGL API. It provides a blank canvas on which we can create interactive graphics that respond to user input.Unlike SVG, which requires additional DOM nodes for drawing paths and shapes, is more performant and ideal for complex and performance-heavy use cases like YouTube’s Ambient Mode. It can be easily updated and manipulated to create various effects.To recreate the Ambient Mode effect, we need to render the current video frame onto a smaller canvas and downscale it to a lower resolution. This downscaled image preserves the dominant colors and details of the video while losing small details. We then apply a blur filter to the canvas to blend the pixelated colors and create a subtle glow effect.In terms of implementation, we can use JavaScript’s requestAnimationFrame method to keep the in sync with the playing video. This method instructs the browser to run a function before the next repaint, ensuring smooth animation. We can also use the cancelAnimationFrame function to stop the animation when the video is paused or ends.To make our code reusable, we can convert it into an ES6 class or a custom React hook. This allows us to create multiple instances of the effect for different videos on a page. We can also respect user preferences by detecting reduced motion settings and disabling or minimizing the effect accordingly.Overall, by understanding the HTML element, requestAnimationFrame function, and implementing the necessary code, we can recreate YouTube’s Ambient Mode effect and make our videos more immersive. Feel free to experiment with the code and share your results!