Create a Custom jQuery Image Gallery with jCarousel

Written by Kevin Liew on 20 Apr 2010
167,455 Views • Tutorials

Introduction

Alright fellow web designers and developers. We are going to do something a little bit more hardcore this time. There are heaps of jQuery plugins out there, but it's hard to find something that suit us. So, this tutorial will teach you how to be creative and create a customize plugin.

If you have read this post - Single Page Websites With Creative Javascript Effects. You will able to see that, it's quite a popular trend that most of the designers showcase theirs work by using a vertical/horizontal carousel. So, in this tutorial, we will learn how to build an unique jQuery script by modifying other plugin - create a Image gallery with jCarousel. A picture tells thousand words, we are going to transform jCarousel to this:

jCarousel Mod

1. jCarousel - the jQuery carousel plugin

First of all, let me introduce this robust plugin we are about to integrate into this image gallery. jCarousel plugin is fully configurable, and most importantly, I have tested it on different browsers IE6, IE7, IE8, Safari, Chrome and firefox, it's proven works perfectly. With the following configuration, we will get a vertical carousel:

//jCarousel Plugin
$('#carousel').jcarousel({
	vertical: true, //orientation of the carousel, in this case we use vertical
	scroll: 1, //the number of items to scroll by
	auto: 2, //the interval of scrolling
	wrap: 'last', //wrap at last item and jump back to the start
	initCallback: mycarousel_initCallback	//we will use this to further enhance the behavior of this carousel
});

Also, you will have to modify the CSS file for jCarousel as well. I can't go into this details, because the CSS file is quite straight forward. So, in the end, this would be the result from the configuration above and also the customized css files. Please note, the following layout on the left hand side is the default jCarousel layout.

jCarousel Layout

For more configuration, please refer to Sorgalla's jCarousel Documentation

2. HTML

Don't freak out by the length of the HTML, it's basically two UL lists.

  • #slideshow-main: This UL list has a little bit of styling. It has a caption area above a faded background
  • #slidehow-carousel: This is where the jCarousel is located. Just a simple UL list with each link have a REL that will point to the #slideshow-main item.
<div id="welcomeHero">
			
	<div id="slideshow-main">
		<ul>
			<li class="p1 active">
				<a href="#">
					<img data-src="images/1_big.gif" width="430" height="290" alt=""/>
					<span class="opacity"></span>
					<span class="content"><h1>Title 1</h1><p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.</p></span>
				</a>
			</li>
			<li class="p2">
				<a href="#">
					<img data-src="images/2_big.gif" width="430" height="290" alt=""/>
					<span class="opacity"></span>
					<span class="content"><h1>Title 2</h1><p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.</p></span>
				</a>
			</li>
			<li class="p3">
				<a href="#">
					<img data-src="images/3_big.gif" width="430" height="290" alt=""/>
					<span class="opacity"></span>
					<span class="content"><h1>Title 3</h1><p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.</p></span>
				</a>
			</li>
		
			......

		</ul>										
	</div>
				
	<div id="slideshow-carousel">				
		  <ul id="carousel" class="jcarousel jcarousel-skin-tango">
			<li><a href="#" rel="p1"><img data-src="images/1.gif" width="206" height="95" alt="#"/></a></li>
			<li><a href="#" rel="p2"><img data-src="images/2.gif" width="206" height="95" alt="#"/></a></li>
			<li><a href="#" rel="p3"><img data-src="images/3.gif" width="206" height="95" alt="#"/></a></li>
			......
		  </ul>
	</div>
		
	<div class="clear"></div>
		
</div>

3. CSS

CSS is a little bit more complicated in this tutorial so I have included a brief layout to show the IDs and Classes.

However, you will have to make some changes to the jCarousel css jquery.jcarousel.css and skin.css. Note: if you grab a fresh copy from jCarousel website, it will have more complicated skin files and folder layout, the one I have included in the download is a simplified version.

Main layout
body {
	font-family:arial;	
}

img {
	border:0;
}

/* Styling up the image gallery */

#slideshow-main {
	width:429px; 
	float:left; 
	margin-right:3px;
}

#slideshow-main ul {
	margin:0; 
	padding:0; 
	width:429px;
}

#slideshow-main li {
	width:429px; 
	height:290px; 
	display:none;
	position:relative;
}

#slideshow-main li.active {
	display:block !important;
}

#slideshow-main li span.opacity {
	position:absolute;
	bottom:0; left:0;
	display:block; 
	width:100%;
	height:60px;
	background:#000;
	filter:alpha(opacity=50); 
	-moz-opacity:0.5; 
	-khtml-opacity: 0.5; 
	opacity: 0.5;
	z-index:500;
}

#slideshow-main li span.content {
	position:absolute;
	bottom:0; left:0;
	display:block; 
	width:100%;
	height:60px;
	z-index:1000;
}

#slideshow-main li span.content h1 {
	font-size:14px;
	margin:5px 0;
	padding:0 10px;;
	color:#42e2e8;
}

#slideshow-main li span.content p {
	font-size:11px;
	margin:5px 0;
	padding:0 10px;;
	color:#42e2e8;
}



/* Styling up the carousel */

#slideshow-carousel {
	float:left; 
	width:206px;
	position:relative
}

#slideshow-carousel ul {
	margin:0; 
	padding:0;
	list-style:none;
}

#slideshow-carousel li {
	background:#fff; 
	height:97px; 
	position:relative
}

#slideshow-carousel li .arrow {
	left:3px; 
	top:28px; 
	position:absolute; 
	width:20px; 
	height:40px; 
	background:url(images/arrow_white.png) no-repeat 0 0; 
	display:block;
}

#slideshow-carousel li a {
	background:#000; 
	display:block; 
	width:206px; 
	height:95px;
}


#slideshow-carousel .active {
	filter:alpha(opacity=100); 
	-moz-opacity:1.0; 
	-khtml-opacity: 1.0; 
	opacity: 1.0;
}

#slideshow-carousel .faded {
	filter:alpha(opacity=50); 
	-moz-opacity:0.5; 
	-khtml-opacity: 0.5; 
	opacity: 0.5;
}

4. Javascript

We don't have to worry about the carousel, because it's quite stable. What we need to do with the jCarousel is to adjust the setting such as the speed, layout and behavior. For more setting, you can refer to jCarousel official documentation.

Other than that, most of them are basic jQuery script with hover and click events. I have added inline comments and I believe that will help.

$(document).ready(function () {
		
	//jCarousel Plugin
	$('#carousel').jcarousel({
		vertical: true,	//display vertical carousel
		scroll: 1,	//auto scroll
		auto: 2,	//the speed of scrolling
		wrap: 'last',	//go back to top when reach last item
		initCallback: mycarousel_initCallback	//extra called back function
	});

	//Front page Carousel - Initial Setup
	//set all the item to full opacity
   	$('div#slideshow-carousel a img').css({'opacity': '0.5'});
   	
   	//readjust the first item to 50% opacity
   	$('div#slideshow-carousel a img:first').css({'opacity': '1.0'});
   	
   	//append the arrow to the first item
   	$('div#slideshow-carousel li a:first').append('')

 
  	//Add hover and click event to each of the item in the carousel
    $('div#slideshow-carousel li a').hover(
       	function () {
        	
        	//check to make sure the item is not selected
       		if (!$(this).has('span').length) {
       			//reset all the item's opacity to 50%
        		$('div#slideshow-carousel li a img').stop(true, true).css({'opacity': '0.5'});
        		
        		//adust the current selected item to full opacity
   	    		$(this).stop(true, true).children('img').css({'opacity': '1.0'});
       		}		
       	},
       	function () {
        		
        	//on mouse out, reset all the item back to 50% opacity
       		$('div#slideshow-carousel li a img').stop(true, true).css({'opacity': '0.5'});
       		
       		//reactivate the selected item by loop through them and look for the one
       		//that has the span arrow
       		$('div#slideshow-carousel li a').each(function () {
				//found the span and reset the opacity back to full opacity
       			if ($(this).has('span').length) $(this).children('img').css({'opacity': '1.0'});

       		});
        		
       	}
	).click(function () {

		//remove the span.arrow
	    $('span.arrow').remove();
	    
	    //append it to the current item        
		$(this).append('');
		
		//remove the active class from the slideshow main
		$('div#slideshow-main li').removeClass('active');
		
		//display the main image by appending active class to it.        
       	$('div#slideshow-main li.' + $(this).attr('rel')).addClass('active');	
        	
       	return false;
	});


});


//Carousel Tweaking
function mycarousel_initCallback(carousel) {
	
	// Pause autoscrolling if the user moves with the cursor over the clip.
	// resume otherwise
	carousel.clip.hover(function() {
		carousel.stopAuto();
	}, function() {
		carousel.startAuto();
	});
}
	

Conclusion

This is a fairly complicated tutorial I have ever made, if you have any question at all, please drop me a comment, I will give you a hand and try my best to help you. I applied this script to a commercial website and it's well tested accross different browser such as IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and even iPhone Safari. They all behave the same and look identical.

I hope you will get something out of this tutorial, grab a plugin, customize it and build a unique jQuery script that everyone would envious about it. :)

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145 comments
acs cebu 11 years ago
very nice ill use these in my sites
Reply
Steven Dana 11 years ago
I'm having a lot of trouble getting this to center properly. I'm very inexperienced and was wondering if you could take a look at my code or tell me how to fix this. I've tried changing the main float to center but this sends the carousel to the next line! =[
Reply
Loai 11 years ago
Took me half day to get it run, however its full of glitches and issues, like the bottom arrow does not get disabled once the carousel reach the last item, on the other hand, if number of items is less than what the container can accommodate the arrows still showing. it was really a waste of time :(((((
Reply
mark 10 years ago
hmm took me 5 minutes to get it to run. not a waste of time at all, I thank the author very much for spending his time sharing this tutorial. Could it be improved? sure, the arrows you mention should be controlled, but that is up to us :) he has just given us a great starting point! But you need to be at least a little willing to learn something new along the way.
Reply
Nguyen 11 years ago
I like your gallery style. thanks you very much
Reply
rezvan 11 years ago
Hi,thanks for great post,I have a question.I want to use this post for video gallery instead image galley.is it possible?
Reply
James 11 years ago
Is it possible to make the image the whole size of the block and then have the navigation on top, but faded and then light up on hover, a bit like the image gallery at chelsea fc ?

Thanks
Reply
moa 11 years ago
very good tutorial .. was a great help, thanks ...
Reply
Va Infotech 11 years ago
very usefull for me

I am Website Designer in india
Reply
volkan 11 years ago
very good jquery tuts thanks
Reply
Website Design India 11 years ago
Good Information
Thanks
Reply
Ashok 11 years ago
Hey man,
I need ur help,
i just try this jquery but i need the thumbnail to be auto selected when scrolldown and main image also change respectively.

Wat to do...
Reply
piyashrija 10 years ago
thanks dude u save my day
Reply
Rob 10 years ago
I took your tutorial (many thanks for for it) and modified it so that the item you hover over changes the image in slideshow-main.

However one thing I would like to to be able to do is to have the top visible item in the slideshow-carousel automatically become highlighted (white) and then show the matching/corresponding image in the slideshow-main.
Reply
Mark W. Jarrell 10 years ago
Ditto! What Rob said. It needs to automatically transition to the next image and cycle through them automatically in the carousel.
Reply