CSS Transformer Translate to the center of the window


I have a list of elements and upon a specific action, i'd like to apply the css-transform translate to move it into the center of the window. I know css-transform is used to relatively move an element, but I was wondering whether it is possible to anchor it absolutely somewhere, i.e. in the middle of the window (lightbox-style). I'm looking at an animation similar to the iPad Music app, where the album cover flips and centers.

Note: I want to use css-transforms because it avoids reflow of surrounding elements.


Edit: I have created a JSfiddle for better illustration: http://jsfiddle.net/bdtZc/, relevant line:

.card:focus {
   -webkit-transform: rotateY(180deg);

Update 2017

Since I just received another upvote for this answer I thought I'd revisit it.

With current browsers you should have good luck with the transform(-50%, -50%) technique from other answers but depending on how your content containers are set up that may not result in the center of the window; it may be the center of your container which could be smaller or larger than the window.

The latest browsers support viewport units (vh, vw) which would give you exactly what you're looking for as far as viewport centering. Animation from current location to viewport center would be a different issue due to scrolling.

http://caniuse.com/#feat=viewport-units https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/length (see vh, vw)

Without CSS Transform

You can accomplish this without using css-transform by using absolute positioning:

(full code here : http://jsfiddle.net/wkgWg/ )

    border:1px solid red;

    -moz-transition:all 2s;
    -webkit-transition:all 2s;
    -o-transition:all 2s;
    transition:all 2s;

.triggerElement:hover .posDiv

    -moz-transition:all 2s;
    -webkit-transition:all 2s;
    -o-transition:all 2s;
    transition:all 2s;

With CSS Transform

If you'd like to continue working with CSS-Transform, you'll need to calculate the "center" or the end location of your transform using JavaScript and then generate and attach a transform statement at runtime. Your origin transform vector would need to be subtracted from the "center to screen" vector.

Here's a javascript version using css-transform (where supported) via the jQuery.transit plugin by Rico Sta. Cruz.

(Full fiddle here: http://jsfiddle.net/ZqpGL/1/ )

    var $cards = $('.card');
    var cardInFocus = null;

    $cards.each(function(index, elem){
        var $elem = $(elem);
        var pos = $elem.position();
        $(elem).data('orig-x', pos.left);
        $(elem).data('orig-y', pos.top);

    var reset = function(){

        cardInFocus = this;
        var $doc = $(document);
        var centerX = $doc.width() / 2;
        var centerY = $doc.height() / 2;
        var $card = $(this);
        var origX = $card.data('orig-x');
        var origY = $card.data('orig-y');
        $(this).transition({x:centerX - origX,y:centerY-origY});