Responsive Image Gallery with Thumbnail Carousel

A tutorial on how to create a responsive image gallery with a thumbnail carousel using Elastislide. Inspired by Twitter's "user gallery" and upon a request to show an integration of Elastislide, we want to implement a responsive gallery that adapts to the view-port width. The gallery will have a view switch that allows to view it with the thumbnail carousel or without. We'll also add the possibility to navigate with the keyboard.


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Today we want to show you how to create a responsive image gallery with a thumbnail carousel using Elastislide. Inspired by Twitter’s “user gallery” and upon a request to show an integration of Elastislide, we want to implement a responsive gallery that adapts to the view-port width. The gallery will have a view switch that allows to view it with the thumbnail carousel or without. We’ll also add the possibility to navigate with the keyboard.

We’ll use the jQuery Touchwipe Plugin that will make it possible to navigate the images by “wiping” on the iPhone and iPad.

The images in the demo are by über-talented Sherman Geronimo-Tan and you can find his Flickr photostream here: Sherman Geronimo-Tan’s Flickr Photostream
The photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License.

So, let’s do it!

The Markup

For the HTML structure we’ll have a main wrapper with the class “rg-gallery”. We’ll also give it the same ID. In another div with the class “rg-thumbs” we’ll add the structure of the Elastislide carousel:

<div id="rg-gallery" class="rg-gallery">
	<div class="rg-thumbs">
		<!-- Elastislide Carousel Thumbnail Viewer -->
		<div class="es-carousel-wrapper">
			<div class="es-nav">
				<span class="es-nav-prev">Previous</span>
				<span class="es-nav-next">Next</span>
			</div>
			<div class="es-carousel">
				<ul>
					<li>
						<a href="#">
							<img src="images/thumbs/1.jpg" data-large="images/1.jpg" alt="image01" data-description="Some description" />
						</a>
					</li>
					<li>...</li>
				</ul>
			</div>
		</div>
		<!-- End Elastislide Carousel Thumbnail Viewer -->
	</div><!-- rg-thumbs -->
</div><!-- rg-gallery -->

The thumbnails will have two data attributes that we’ll use later in our JavaScript. The “data-large” attribute will have the path to the large image and the “data-description” attribute will contain the caption of the image that we will display under the current large image.

For the structure of the large preview area we will create a jQuery template that we’ll add to the head of our document:

<script id="img-wrapper-tmpl" type="text/x-jquery-tmpl">	
	<div class="rg-image-wrapper">
		{{if itemsCount > 1}}
			<div class="rg-image-nav">
				<a href="#" class="rg-image-nav-prev">Previous Image</a>
				<a href="#" class="rg-image-nav-next">Next Image</a>
			</div>
		{{/if}}
		<div class="rg-image"></div>
		<div class="rg-loading"></div>
		<div class="rg-caption-wrapper">
			<div class="rg-caption" style="display:none;">
				<p></p>
			</div>
		</div>
	</div>
</script>

We are adding a condition that will make sure that the navigation is only shown if there is more than one image. The “rg-image” container will be used to add the large image.

Let’s take a look at the style.

The CSS

Besides adjusting a few values like the padding and the margins of the Elastislide thumbnail carousel, we need to style the resting elements of the gallery.

The “rg-image-wrapper” that you saw in our jQuery template will be of relative position and we’ll add a repeated semi-transparent black background image. The borders will be rounded and we’ll give it a min-height of 20 pixels so that the loading element fits into the container initially when the first image get’s loaded:

.rg-image-wrapper{
	position:relative;
	padding:20px 30px;
	background:transparent url(../images/black.png) repeat top left;
	-moz-border-radius: 10px;
	-webkit-border-radius: 10px;
	border-radius: 10px;
	min-height:20px;
}

The container that we’ll use to add the big image will be relative and have a line-height of 0. By adding text-align “center” we make all inline elements align in the center. But since we’ll not set the image to “display:block”, we need to add a line-height of 0. This will make sure that there is no gap under the image which is an inline-element by default:

.rg-image{
	position:relative;
	text-align:center;
	line-height:0px;
}

By setting the max-width of our large image to 100%, we make sure that it will always stay in the surrounding fluid container. This is very nicely explained in Fluid Images by Ethan Marcotte on A List Apart.
Now, why setting the max-height to 100% as well? We actually don’t need this but if you would like to restrict the size of the preview area you could set a fixed height for the “rg-image” class and the image would fit in it while still resizing when the width of the view-port changes.

.rg-image img{
	max-height:100%;
	max-width:100%;
}

Let’s style the navigation elements. The style of the arrow anchors will be the following:

.rg-image-nav a{
	position:absolute;
	top:0px;
	left:0px;
	background:#000 url(../images/nav.png) no-repeat -20% 50%;
	width:28px;
	height:100%;
	text-indent:-9000px;
	cursor:pointer;
	opacity:0.3;
	outline:none;
	-moz-border-radius: 10px 0px 0px 10px;
	-webkit-border-radius: 10px 0px 0px 10px;
	border-radius: 10px 0px 0px 10px;
}

This is actually the style of the left arrow and now we’ll overwrite some properties for the right arrow:

.rg-image-nav a.rg-image-nav-next{
	right:0px;
	left:auto;
	background-position:115% 50%;
	-moz-border-radius: 0px 10px 10px 0px;
	-webkit-border-radius: 0px 10px 10px 0px;
	border-radius: 0px 10px 10px 0px;
}

Since we already defined the left value for the elements in general we need to set it to auto again if we want to use “right” instead.

On hover we want to make them more opaque:

.rg-image-nav a:hover{
	opacity:0.8;
}

The caption will have the following style:

.rg-caption {
	text-align:center;
	margin-top:15px;
	position:relative;
}
.rg-caption p{
	font-size:11px;
	letter-spacing:2px;
	font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', 'Myriad Pro', Arial, sans-serif;
	line-height:16px;
	padding:0 15px;
	text-transform:uppercase;
}

Now, let’s style the switch options:

.rg-view{
	height:30px;
}
.rg-view a{
	display:block;
	float:right;
	width:16px;
	height:16px;
	margin-right:3px;
	background:#464646 url(../images/views.png) no-repeat top left;
	border:3px solid #464646;
	opacity:0.8;
}
.rg-view a:hover{
	opacity:1.0;
}
.rg-view a.rg-view-full{
	background-position:0px 0px;
}
.rg-view a.rg-view-selected{
	background-color:#6f6f6f;
	border-color:#6f6f6f;
}
.rg-view a.rg-view-thumbs{
	background-position:0px -16px;
}

And finally, we’ll make the loading element appear in the center of the image preview:

.rg-loading{
	width:46px;
	height:46px;
	position:absolute;
	top:50%;
	left:50%;
	background:#000 url(../images/ajax-loader.gif) no-repeat center center;
	margin:-23px 0px 0px -23px;
	z-index:100;
	-moz-border-radius: 10px;
	-webkit-border-radius: 10px;
	border-radius: 10px;
	opacity:0.7;
}

And that’s all the style! Let’s take a look at the JavaScript.

The JavaScript

The main idea of the gallery is to make it flexible, so partly we have achieved that by our style: the large image will adjust to the container. For making the thumbnail carousel responsive, we’ll use Elastislide, our previous plugin.
First, lets define some variables:

	// gallery container
var $rgGallery			= $('#rg-gallery'),
	// carousel container
	$esCarousel			= $rgGallery.find('div.es-carousel-wrapper'),
	// the carousel items
	$items				= $esCarousel.find('ul > li'),
	// total number of items
	itemsCount			= $items.length;

Then we’ll define our gallery function:

	Gallery				= (function() {
		//gallery function
	})();

Gallery.init();

Here we’ll define some variables for the current image, the mode and a variable for controlling if an image is being loaded. Then we’ll call some of our functions that are following below:

var current			= 0, 
	// mode : carousel || fullview
	mode 			= 'carousel',
	// control if one image is being loaded
	anim			= false,
	init			= function() {
		
		// (not necessary) preloading the images here...
		$items.add('<img src="images/ajax-loader.gif"/><img src="images/black.png"/>').imagesLoaded( function() {
			// add options
			_addViewModes();
			
			// add large image wrapper
			_addImageWrapper();
			
			// show first image
			_showImage( $items.eq( current ) );
		});
		
		// initialize the carousel
		_initCarousel();
		
	},

We need to call the Elastislide plugin:

_initCarousel	= function() {
	$esCarousel.show().elastislide({
		imageW 	: 65,
		onClick	: function( $item ) {
			if( anim ) return false;
			anim	= true;
			// on click show image
			_showImage($item);
			// change current
			current	= $item.index();
		}
	});
	
	// set elastislide's current to current
	$esCarousel.elastislide( 'setCurrent', current );
	
},

Read more about Elastislide’s options here: Elastislide – A Responsive jQuery Carousel Plugin.

Our next function will take care of the viewing modes and what happens when we switch the views:

_addViewModes	= function() {
	
	// top right buttons: hide / show carousel
	
	var $viewfull	= $('<a href="#" class="rg-view-full"></a>'),
		$viewthumbs	= $('<a href="#" class="rg-view-thumbs rg-view-selected"></a>');
	
	$rgGallery.prepend( $('<div class="rg-view"/>').append( $viewfull ).append( $viewthumbs ) );
	
	$viewfull.bind('click.rgGallery', function( event ) {
		$esCarousel.elastislide( 'destroy' ).hide();
		$viewfull.addClass('rg-view-selected');
		$viewthumbs.removeClass('rg-view-selected');
		mode	= 'fullview';
		return false;
	});
	
	$viewthumbs.bind('click.rgGallery', function( event ) {
		_initCarousel();
		$viewthumbs.addClass('rg-view-selected');
		$viewfull.removeClass('rg-view-selected');
		mode	= 'carousel';
		return false;
	});
	
},

The _addImageWrapper function adds the structure for the large image and the navigation buttons if the number of total items is greater than one.
It also initializes the navigation events. Using the jQuery Touchwipe Plugin, we’ll add support for the wipe gesture and also for keyboard navigation:

_addImageWrapper= function() {
	
	$('#img-wrapper-tmpl').tmpl( {itemsCount : itemsCount} ).appendTo( $rgGallery );
	
	if( itemsCount > 1 ) {
		// addNavigation
		var $navPrev		= $rgGallery.find('a.rg-image-nav-prev'),
			$navNext		= $rgGallery.find('a.rg-image-nav-next'),
			$imgWrapper		= $rgGallery.find('div.rg-image');
			
		$navPrev.bind('click.rgGallery', function( event ) {
			_navigate( 'left' );
			return false;
		});	
		
		$navNext.bind('click.rgGallery', function( event ) {
			_navigate( 'right' );
			return false;
		});
	
		// add touchwipe events on the large image wrapper
		$imgWrapper.touchwipe({
			wipeLeft			: function() {
				_navigate( 'right' );
			},
			wipeRight			: function() {
				_navigate( 'left' );
			},
			preventDefaultEvents: false
		});
	
		$(document).bind('keyup.rgGallery', function( event ) {
			if (event.keyCode == 39)
				_navigate( 'right' );
			else if (event.keyCode == 37)
				_navigate( 'left' );	
		});
		
	}
	
},

The navigation through the large images is controlled by the following function:

_navigate		= function( dir ) {
		
	if( anim ) return false;
	anim	= true;
	
	if( dir === 'right' ) {
		if( current + 1 >= itemsCount )
			current = 0;
		else
			++current;
	}
	else if( dir === 'left' ) {
		if( current - 1 < 0 )
			current = itemsCount - 1;
		else
			--current;
	}
	
	_showImage( $items.eq( current ) );
	
},

Depening in which direction we are moving, we are setting the current element to one less or one more.

And finally we’ll define the _showImage function that will add the large image and its caption:

_showImage		= function( $item ) {
	
	// shows the large image that is associated to the $item
	
	var $loader	= $rgGallery.find('div.rg-loading').show();
	
	$items.removeClass('selected');
	$item.addClass('selected');
		 
	var $thumb		= $item.find('img'),
		largesrc	= $thumb.data('large'),
		title		= $thumb.data('description');
	
	$('<img/>').load( function() {
		
		$rgGallery.find('div.rg-image').empty().append('<img src="' + largesrc + '"/>');
		
		if( title )
			$rgGallery.find('div.rg-caption').show().children('p').empty().text( title );
		
		$loader.hide();
		
		if( mode === 'carousel' ) {
			$esCarousel.elastislide( 'reload' );
			$esCarousel.elastislide( 'setCurrent', current );
		}
		
		anim	= false;
		
	}).attr( 'src', largesrc );
	
};

return { init : init };

And that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed this gallery tutorial and find it useful!

View demo Download source

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ML is a freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. She studied Cognitive Science and Computational Logic and has a weakness for the smell of freshly ground peppercorns.

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Website: http://www.codrops.com

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Feedback 163

Comments are closed.
  1. 1

    Again, any tips on moving the thumbnails below the main image please?
    Nash’s post is missing something I think.

    Thank you.

    • 2

      change this line
      $('#img-wrapper-tmpl').tmpl( {itemsCount : itemsCount} ).appendTo( $rgGallery );

      to

      $('#img-wrapper-tmpl').tmpl( {itemsCount : itemsCount} ).prependTo( $rgGallery );

  2. 3

    Great Carousel!

    A question: How do I fade the large images? Now it is a little bit rough when changing.

    Thanks

  3. 4

    Hi

    Great plugin. Need to get thumbs below large image, also struggling with instructions already posted, any more help here would be much appreciated.

    James

  4. 6

    BUMP

    “If you want to place the thumbnail carousel below the big images: On line 142 of gallery.js Change “appendTo” to “prependTo”.”

    to get thumbs below large image – that was easy!

  5. 8

    Awesome work, really a great gallery solution.

    Is there a way for the gallery to display images prior to waiting for the entire group of images to load? Basically skipping the pause occurring while waiting for preloading the images. I have several large images that I want to display and it takes a few seconds for them all to load, hence the pause in showing the first image of the slideshow.

    Thanks for your time!

  6. 9

    Hi Mary Lou

    This really is great – an excellent addition to any responsive website. Is it possible to add a class to the prev / next icons so they can be a faded out version of the graphics if there is nothing to scroll to view?

    James

  7. 10

    Great job with this!! I’m going to use the thumbnail part only. I’m trying to put different sized images and can’t get them align vertically. Any tips? The relative positions and margins are driving me crazy. Thanks in advanced!!

  8. 11

    I am searching for a way to get an effect as with http://coffeescripter.com/code/ad-gallery/ : when using the mouseover on next or prev to get a scrolling until the strip finishs. I tried to discover how I could integrate that function but my knowledge on jquery is limited…

    Is this an interesting enhancement?

  9. 12

    One thing I don’t get is when you included the img in the jquery template. I get you want to use the template to see if you need to display the navigation, but you only need to do this once?

    If the actual img was not included in the template you wouldn’t have to keep removing it re-appending every time a new image is displayed. It seems all you actually need to do is change the image source once the image is loaded?

    BTW. great example despite my criticism!

  10. 14

    Hi all!

    Love this plugin. Question: Let’s say I only have 5 thumbnails, how do I get them centered on the page?

  11. 19

    Any tips on how to make the thumbnails bigger…. I can make them wider (imageW) but that doesn’t seem to make the whole thumb proportinally bigger? It can be done when using elastislide on it’s own but I can’t make it work in this context.

    • 20

      Just try adding it to the img css style. Works for me!
      p.s. You also need to change the imageW value.

  12. 21

    Love the tutorial, many thanks for your hard work. I have a question/issue: I added this to my custom WordPress theme and it seems to be working except it is not loading the first image on page load. When you click on the first image thumbnail, it then loads. Initially it just shows the loading GIF and never replaces it with the large image. BTW, I’m creating the list of image thumbs and links dynamically using PHP and SSP Director.
    I’m a novice at javascript so I’m not sure what might be going on. What might I do to troubleshoot this?

    • 22

      Answered my own question… Because I’m in WordPress, I had to change the jQuery to no-conflict mode (changing the “$” to “jQuery”). I had missed a couple of instances of the dollar sign.
      But I am wondering what a few other people are asking: is there a way to do an autoplay slideshow? Also, how about transition effects like fade or slide?
      Again, great work! Thanks!

  13. 24

    I would love to use this for a WordPress theme I am developing but I need to show videos. Anyone get videos working with this?

  14. 25

    Can someone help me here? I want to add pause play functionality to that and I dont know how.

  15. 27

    i’ve added your gallery to my webpage and something i think in my style sheet is forcing the gallery to show the large thumb stacked twice on top of itself. Has anyone else experienced this before?

  16. 28

    oh yeah, and actually it only does this in IE7 and IE8. Looks great in everything else.

  17. 29

    Good job; works great. One small suggestion:
    Instead of of adding a data-larger attribute on the thumb, it would be better to use the href of the anchor tag. In that way all content is accessible without javascript.

Comments are closed.