How do I apply a perspective transform to a UIView?

I'm looking to perform a perspective transform on a UIView (such as seen in coverflow)

Does anyonew know if this is possible?

I've investigated using CALayer and have run through all the pragmatic programmer Core Animation podcasts, but I'm still no clearer on how to create this kind of transform on an iPhone.

Any help, pointers or example code snippets would be really appreciated!


As Ben said, you'll need to work with the UIView's layer, using a CATransform3D to perform the layer's rotation. The trick to get perspective working, as described here, is to directly access one of the matrix cells of the CATransform3D (m34). Matrix math has never been my thing, so I can't explain exactly why this works, but it does. You'll need to set this value to a negative fraction for your initial transform, then apply your layer rotation transforms to that. You should also be able to do the following:

UIView *myView = [[self subviews] objectAtIndex:0];
CALayer *layer = myView.layer;
CATransform3D rotationAndPerspectiveTransform = CATransform3DIdentity;
rotationAndPerspectiveTransform.m34 = 1.0 / -500;
rotationAndPerspectiveTransform = CATransform3DRotate(rotationAndPerspectiveTransform, 45.0f * M_PI / 180.0f, 0.0f, 1.0f, 0.0f);
layer.transform = rotationAndPerspectiveTransform;

which rebuilds the layer transform from scratch for each rotation.

A full example of this (with code) can be found here, where I've implemented touch-based rotation and scaling on a couple of CALayers, based on an example by Bill Dudney. The newest version of the program, at the very bottom of the page, implements this kind of perspective operation. The code should be reasonably simple to read.

The sublayerTransform you refer to in your response is a transform that is applied to the sublayers of your UIView's CALayer. If you don't have any sublayers, don't worry about it. I use the sublayerTransform in my example simply because there are two CALayers contained within the one layer that I'm rotating.

You can only use Core Graphics (Quartz, 2D only) transforms directly applied to a UIView's transform property. To get the effects in coverflow, you'll have to use CATransform3D, which are applied in 3-D space, and so can give you the perspective view you want. You can only apply CATransform3Ds to layers, not views, so you're going to have to switch to layers for this.

Check out the "CovertFlow" sample that comes with Xcode. It's mac-only (ie not for iPhone), but a lot of the concepts transfer well.

To add to Brad's answer and to provide a concrete example, I borrow from my own answer in another post on a similar topic. In my answer, I created a simple Swift playground that you can download and play with, where I demonstrate how to create perspective effects of a UIView with a simple hierarchy of layers, and I show different results between using transform and sublayerTransform. Check it out.

Here are some of the images from the post:

You can get accurate Carousel effect using iCarousel SDK.

You can get an instant Cover Flow effect on iOS by using the marvelous and free iCarousel library. You can download it from and drop it into your Xcode project fairly easily by adding a bridging header (it's written in Objective-C).

If you haven't added Objective-C code to a Swift project before, follow these steps:

  • Download iCarousel and unzip it
  • Go into the folder you unzipped, open its iCarousel subfolder, then select iCarousel.h and iCarousel.m and drag them into your project navigation – that's the left pane in Xcode. Just below Info.plist is fine.
  • Check "Copy items if needed" then click Finish.
  • Xcode will prompt you with the message "Would you like to configure an Objective-C bridging header?" Click "Create Bridging Header" You should see a new file in your project, named YourProjectName-Bridging-Header.h.
  • Add this line to the file: #import "iCarousel.h"
  • Once you've added iCarousel to your project you can start using it.
  • Make sure you conform to both the iCarouselDelegate and iCarouselDataSource protocols.

Swift 3 Sample Code:

    override func viewDidLoad() {
      let carousel = iCarousel(frame: CGRect(x: 0, y: 0, width: 300, height: 200))
      carousel.dataSource = self
      carousel.type = .coverFlow

   func numberOfItems(in carousel: iCarousel) -> Int {
        return 10

    func carousel(_ carousel: iCarousel, viewForItemAt index: Int, reusing view: UIView?) -> UIView {
        let imageView: UIImageView

        if view != nil {
            imageView = view as! UIImageView
        } else {
            imageView = UIImageView(frame: CGRect(x: 0, y: 0, width: 128, height: 128))

        imageView.image = UIImage(named: "example")

        return imageView

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