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Making images look flash – some image gallery solutions I love

September 6, 2009

A quick post on a couple of great image viewing utilities currently in use on my websites…

Tiltviewer

Brought to you by Airtight Interactive, Tiltviewer is a beautiful image gallery viewer built using Flash technology. It gives a fabulous 3D effect and lots of customisable options. It looks uber sleek and professional but takes very little technical ability to implement. You can use an XML file to define your images, or load images automatically from Flickr or Picasa. The gallery is interactive, with users being able to click to zoom in and out, and flip photos over to view image descriptions or other details. The installation and configuration instructions, as well as the FAQs and online forums make this product highly supported and therefore a breeze to implement and customise. To see how I have implemented it, visit the Adagio Wanganui image gallery. I’ve used an XML file to define the images and haven’t customised it too much because it is wonderfully functional out of the box. You’ll also find Simpleviewer, Autoviewer and Postcardviewer from Airtight, which are all very elegant gallery solutions as well. I’ve implemented Simpleviewer for some image galleries on Perfect Venue and really like it.

Smoothgallery

Smoothgallery, from Jondesign (Jonathan Schemoul) is a javascript image gallery or featured content slideshow (or whatever else you decide to implement it as), available as a free download and is also used as the basis for a WordPress plugin. I found this one a little harder to work with than the above Tiltviewer, but that is possibly because I was needing to customise it a bit more. It offers another very elegant solution, and is great for a featured content gallery as part of a home page. There are a few options you can feed it when initialising the gallery, and of course you can edit the heck out of the CSS, however I didn’t find it that intuitive to customise and resorted to the forums quite a bit. The biggest problem I had was getting it to start on a random image. After a lot of digging I found this post with the answer. Nonetheless, it is a great solution and I’m currently implementing it for a “featured venue” slideshow that will persist across a few pages on Perfect Venue.

Slimbox (2)

It seems that everyone is using lightbox on all sorts of websites these days and why not? It is a simple and lightweight viewer that almost anyone can install and use within minutes. For enlarging images on Perfect Venue I’ve used Slimbox 2, which is an even more lightweight version of Lightbox that uses the jQuery javascript library. I haven’t spent time customising this at all because it provided exactly what I needed straight out of the box.

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