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MagicCanvas is a React component for pixel-streaming WebGL.

Apps that integrate MagicCanvas can swap between client-side WebGL rendering and server-side rendering at the click of a button. This allows applications to scale to more powerful cloud hardware when rendering complex scenes or loading large datasets.

To the end user, the transition between local and remote is barely perceptible. It’s magic.


React example

An application needs to do two things to use MagicCanvas:

  • Implement a renderer. This is a self-contained JavaScript bundle that exports a function matching a certain signature.
  • Create an instance of the <MagicCanvas /> component, and pass the renderer into it.

Here’s an example of how to use MagicCanvas in your codebase:

import React from 'react'
import { MagicCanvas } from 'react-magic-canvas'
import boxDemoUrl from './box.render'

export default function App() {
const lightPosition = { x: 500, y: 750 }
return (

Then, in box.render.js, we need to export a createRenderer function which takes a WebGLRenderingContext and returns a render function to be called on each frame. Notice that the render() function gets the value of the renderProps prop passed to it:

import * as THREE from 'three'

export default function createRenderer(context) {
const renderer = new THREE.WebGLRenderer({
canvas: context.canvas
renderer.setClearColor(0x000000 /* black */, 1)

const scene = new THREE.Scene()
const geometry = new THREE.BoxGeometry(2, 2, 2)
const material = new THREE.MeshPhongMaterial({ color: 0x00ff00 })
const cube = new THREE.Mesh(geometry, material)
const light = new THREE.PointLight(0xffffff, 1, 100)
const camera = new THREE.PerspectiveCamera(75, 1.0, 0.1, 1000)
camera.position.z = 5


return function render(lightPosition) {
light.position.x = lightPosition.x
light.position.y = lightPosition.y

cube.rotation.x += 0.01
cube.rotation.y += 0.01

renderer.render(scene, camera)

The above code will render the scene in a NodeJS backend and stream the result to the client, while streaming changes to the lightPosition state in the client back to the Renderer over WebSockets.

Future features

  • WebGPU support!
  • Support canvas resizing
  • Support compositing locally-rendered content with remotely-rendered content
  • Better shims for browser-dependent code
  • Broader support for JavaScript bundlers and build tools - not just Webpack and Webpack-compatible frameworks (like NextJS)
  • Better serialization format for renderProps values (other than JSON, which doesn't serialize/deserialize Dates or TypedArrays very well, e.g.)

Learn more