The web is full of attractive web sites which feature photo galleries and video galleries. One of the more popular tools to display both photos and videos is called Lightbox.
The Lightbox Pop Up Effects
There are many reasons for such pop up window effects on web sites. One reason is that not all browsers display photos and videos they same way.
Enter the life of a true blue Mac user. Point and click rules. Two Mac tools make it easy to create galleries of photos and videos with drag and drop, point and click simplicity.
The Visual Lightbox For Photos
There are so many free tools available to web site owners which make it easy to create simple, attractive, even professional visual effects. One of my favorites is VisualLightbox and it’s drop dead simple to use. First, drag and drop a folder of photos onto VisualLightbox.
Your photos show up in a gallery. Click on each one to add a description or title. Then, click on the Thumbnails tab to preview and select templates and change the thumbnail photo size. VisualLightbox does the work to create the pop up effects, the navigation tools, the images and the thumbnails.
Once you’ve dropped in all your photos, selected a template, set up the thumbnails, you’re ready to publish. Click the publish tab and you get a folder with your photos, and the web page code for your photo gallery.
The end result is an attractive, XHTML and CSS standards compliant web page of your photos. Click on an image and the gallery begins with a pop up and complete forward and backward navigation buttons.
VisualLightbox also features FTP support so you can upload your gallery folders to your web site.
You can also choose different effects and shadows, different corners for each photo—all from the free gallery themes that are included. VisualLightbox builds the code, the effects, even the thumbnails. You just add a caption and title.
Even better, there’s a Mac and a Windows PC version, as well as Flickr support. Check out VisualLightbox for a number of gallery examples. It’s hard to beat free.
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VideoLightBox works much the same way as VisualLightbox, but for video clips—whether they’re you videos, YouTube or other popular online video service.
Point & Click, Copy & Paste
VideoLightBox is a handy tool that works on both Mac and Windows PC to create elegant, professional, attractive video clip galleries using the same process as Lightbox.
The whole process is simple. Fire up VideoLightBox, add videos from a URL, or a folder, or one at a time.
You’re creating a single pop up video effect, or a whole gallery of videos. VideoLightBox handles the details. Start with the Ad Video tab. Enter a URL and click Add Video.
Or, you can use the menu selection to add a video. Add as many videos as you want for the gallery page (don’t get too carried away).
Once you’ve added your video clips or URLs to VideoLightBox, click on the second tab, Customize Thumbnails. This gives you an opportunity to adjust the thumbnail quality, add a Play button to match your web page decor, and select a template.
VideoLightBox has a preview of the included templates. There’s also an option to add thumbnail titles, and change the thumbnail resolution. Oh, what kinds of videos? Flash videos, MP3 videos, even YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace, and others.
Now you’re ready to customize the pop up window which contains the video clip. The pop up window automatically adjusts dimensions to match the video clip size.
All that’s left to do at this point is click Publish and decide where to put the video gallery web page. You can publish via FTP to your web site, or, if you want to make sure everything works, Publish the gallery to a folder on your Mac.
It’s a four step process that works similarly to VisualLightbox, but is made specifically for video clips—either URLs of videos from YouTube or other sites, or your own personal videos which you want to be placed on your own web site.
But you’re not limited to using VideoLightBox for web pages.
Publishing the video gallery to a folder also means you can share the videos via CD or DVD.
The VideoLightBox web site is loaded with examples and a video walk through of the step-by-step process. Again, it’s Mac or Windows PC. And it’s free (there is a modest price tag for commercial use).
The Mac360 staff is working on a re-design to the site, and we plan to incorporate pop up images and video clips to the new design.