Queness Web Design and Development Blog

Create an Attractive Before and After Photo Effect with jQuery

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  • 24 Jan 2011
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13 Jan 2011, Australia suffered a catastrophic flood disaster, almost 75% of Queensland was affected. Inland Tsunami in Toowoomba, evacuation of Brisbane city, it was a total chaos in the entire state. Sudden flood which lead to torrential and ferocious flood destroyed homes and killed many. It will take 2 years to recover. If you wish to donate, please visit Queensland Government State Website.

The reason I bought it up because I got this inspiration from this website - Queensland Floods - Before After.

Well, it is saddening to see all the damages the flood did. In the other hand, I also notice the way it presents the before and after photos. It's just so intuitive and simple. So, I have decided to build something similar but with a few of enhancements. I'm going to show you how to build it and how to convert it to plugins. Tested on IE6, 7, 8, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. 

You may want to check out the demo now:

Demo 1 Demo 2 - Plugin Download


I keep the HTML really simple, just a div with 2 images in it. Things you need to know:

  • value in ALT attribute will be used as caption
  • width and height of the first image will be used for calculation, therefore, it's mandatory to have it defined

This is what you need to use it:

<img src="/img/spacer.gif">

However, the content in the div will be totally revamped once it's processed by javascript. This is the real structure:

	<img src="/img/spacer.gif"> 


CSS isn't that complicated as well. I have illustrated how this script going to work which will make it easy to understand

#container {width:500px; margin:0 auto;}
/* width and height for the block */
.beforeafter {width:500px; height:280px;}		
/* The following is the mandatory styling for the plugins */
.ba-mask {	/* first image */	
	border-right:4px solid #000; 
	box-shadow: 3px 5px 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);
	box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6); 
	-webkit-box-shadow: 5px 5px 7px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);  
	-moz-box-shadow: 5px 0 7px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);

.ba-bg {	/* second image */

.ba-caption {	/* caption	*/
	/* mandatory */
	/* customizable styling */
	filter:alpha(opacity=80);-moz-opacity:0.8;-khtml-opacity: 0.8;opacity: 0.8; 
	-webkit-border-radius:5px; -moz-border-radius:5px; border-radius:5px; 			


Alright, some intensive stuff going on over here. The length of the script is pretty long, it's because I'm trying to make this script as flexible as possible and also make the HTML and CSS as simple as possible. You see, once we have the flexibility and simplicity lead to lengthly and complicated code.

I have written a comment to walk you through the whole javascript.

$(document).ready(function() {
	// Some options for customization
	var leftgap = 10;		/* gap on the left */
	var rightgap = 10;		/* gap on the right */
	var defaultgap = 50;	/* the intro gap */
	var caption = true;		/* toggle caption */
	var reveal = 0.5;		/* define 0 - 1 far does it goes to reveal the second caption */
	// find each of the .beforeafter
	$('.beforeafter').each(function () {
		// set current selected item to variable
		var i = $(this);			
		// get the source of the first image and second image using eq(index)
		var img_mask = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('src');
		var img_bg = i.children('img:eq(1)').attr('src');
		// get the caption for the first image as default caption
		var img_cap_one = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('alt');
		// get the dimension of the first image, assuming second image has the same dimension
		var width = i.children('img:eq(0)').width();
		var height = i.children('img:eq(0)').height();
		// hide the images, not removing it because we will need it later
		// set some css attribute to current item for graceful degradation if javascript support is off
		i.css({'overflow': 'hidden', 'position': 'relative'});
		// append additional html element
'); i.append('
'); i.append('
' + img_cap_one + '
'); // set the dimension of appended html element i.children('.ba-mask, .ba-bg').width(width); i.children('.ba-mask, .ba-bg').height(height); // set the images as background for ba-mask and ba-bg i.children('.ba-mask').css('backgroundImage','url(' + img_mask + ')'); i.children('.ba-bg').css('backgroundImage','url(' + img_bg + ')'); // animate to reveal the background image i.children('.ba-mask').animate({'width':width - defaultgap}, 1000); // if caption is true, then display it, otherwise, hide it if (caption) i.children('.caption').show(); else i.children('.ba-caption').hide(); }).mousemove(function (e) { // set current selected item to variable var i = $(this); // get the position of the image pos_img = i.offset()['left']; // get the position of the mouse pointer pos_mouse = e.pageX; // calculate the difference between the image and cursor // the difference will the width of the mask image new_width = pos_mouse - pos_img; img_width = i.width(); // get the captions for first and second images img_cap_one = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('alt'); img_cap_two = i.children('img:eq(1)').attr('alt'); /* // for debugging purposes $('#debug').html("X Axis : " + e.pageX + " | Y Axis " + e.pageY); $('#debug2').html(i.position()['left']); $('#debug3').html(new_width); */ // make sure it reveal the image and left some gaps on left and right // it depends on the value of leftgap and rightgap if (new_width > leftgap && new_width < (img_width - rightgap)) { i.children('.ba-mask').width(new_width); } // toggle between captions. // it uses the reveal variable to calculate // eg, display caption two once the image is 50% (0.5) revealed. if (new_width < (img_width * reveal)) { i.children('.ba-caption').html(img_cap_two); } else { i.children('.ba-caption').html(img_cap_one); } }); });

Convert to Plugin

First of all, what we need to know is the structure of a plugin. I shared about this long time ago, so if you want to know more about it, visit this post - A Really Simple jQuery Plugin Tutorial. Over here I will just paste the structure we going to use in this tutorial:

//You need an anonymous function to wrap around your function to avoid conflict
    //Attach this new method to jQuery
        //This is where you write your plugin's name
        pluginname: function() {
            //Iterate over the current set of matched elements
            return this.each(function() {
                //code to be inserted here
//pass jQuery to the function,
//So that we will able to use any valid Javascript variable name
//to replace "$" SIGN. But, we'll stick to $ (I like dollar sign :) )      

Alright, the next thing we need to do, mix the plugin stucture with the before after script, and this is the final result:

		//plugin name - qbeforeafter
		qbeforeafter: function(options) {
			var defaults = {
				defaultgap: 50,            
				leftgap: 10,
				rightgap: 10,
				caption: false,
				reveal: 0.5
			var options = $.extend(defaults, options);
			return this.each(function() {

            var o = options;
            var i = $(this);
			var img_mask = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('src');
			var img_bg = i.children('img:eq(1)').attr('src');
			var img_cap_one = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('alt');
			var width = i.children('img:eq(0)').width();
			var height = i.children('img:eq(0)').height();
			i.css({'overflow': 'hidden', 'position': 'relative'});
'); i.append('
'); i.append('
' + img_cap_one + '
'); i.children('.ba-mask, .ba-bg').width(width); i.children('.ba-mask, .ba-bg').height(height); i.children('.ba-mask').animate({'width':width - o.defaultgap}, 1000); i.children('.ba-mask').css('backgroundImage','url(' + img_mask + ')'); i.children('.ba-bg').css('backgroundImage','url(' + img_bg + ')'); if (o.caption) i.children('.ba-caption').show(); }).mousemove(function (e) { var o = options; var i = $(this); pos_img = i.offset()['left']; pos_mouse = e.pageX; new_width = pos_mouse - pos_img; img_width = i.width(); img_cap_one = i.children('img:eq(0)').attr('alt'); img_cap_two = i.children('img:eq(1)').attr('alt'); if (new_width > o.leftgap && new_width < (img_width - o.rightgap)) { i.children('.ba-mask').width(new_width); } if (new_width < (img_width * o.reveal)) { i.children('.ba-caption').html(img_cap_two); } else { i.children('.ba-caption').html(img_cap_one); } }); } }); })(jQuery);

If we compared it to the non-plugin script, the major difference is how we convert the customizable setting (defaultgap, leftgap, rightgap, caption and reveal) to plugins. That's it, pretty straight forward, just copy and paste and slight modification

How to use Queness' beforeafter plugin

The usage is really simple, this is how you call the plugin:

$(function () {
	$('.large').qbeforeafter({defaultgap:50, leftgap:0, rightgap:10, caption: true, reveal: 0.5});
	$('.small').qbeforeafter({defaultgap:20, leftgap:5, rightgap:10, caption: false});


That's it, a tutorial after a long time. I hope you guys will like it. If you have any questions, suggestion or comment, drop me a message below. Also, help me to spread this post :) Thanks.

About the Author

Kevin Liew is a web designer and developer and keen on contributing to the web development industry. He loves frontend development and absolutely amazed by jQuery. Feel free to say hi to me, or follow @quenesswebblog on twitter.

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serge Sun, 10th March 2013 Hi,

How do i install the plugin on my word-press ? when i install it it says :The package could not be installed. No valid plugins were found.

Plugin install failed.
cugreen Tue, 26th February 2013 Nice plugin. Thanks. I noticed I got image flickering if triggering mousemove before the initial animation finished.

I found putting a stop in fixed the issue. Like this.

Maged Wed, 19th December 2012 as mentioned in my previous post i usually use Flash, so i really miss the % size feature ..is there any chance that this script makes the photos dynamic i.e. set pictures size as a % of screen size width and height ?? as the constant Size interfere somewhat with a full dynamic sized website .
Kevin Liew Thu, 20th December 2012 I'm guessing you're talking about responsive. Unfortunately, it can't do it.
Flobs Thu, 20th September 2012 Hi, I love the nice effect of the before and after photo but I was wondering if it also works on blogger? I tried to use it but I failed all the time. I'm quite a novide in programming stuff. Thank you for the awesome tutorial and sharing your work!
Agrest123 Thu, 11th October 2012 Hi.
Awsome plugin. I do a page about a medieval town. I need implement this plugin in my homepage buid on a joomla 1.5. I read a tutorial and I don't know how could I this function on my page. Who wants explain me how can I do this? This plugin allows me show an old and present pictures on my page.
Sorry for my english. I'm from Poland
MarkL Thu, 28th June 2012 Hi there. Great plugin. One suggestion: make it "responsive". Right now removing width/height breaks the code. I'm trying to integrate it with my design based on Twitter bootstrap and resizing the window browser just messes things up before of the hardcoded width/height.

marti Sun, 13th May 2012 Hey! Is that plugin under any license?
Kevin Liew Wed, 13th June 2012 open source, you can use it and mod it.
Levi Tue, 10th April 2012 This is really awesome, good work. Is there any way I could have it in some sort of carousel? So I could click next and go to another before and after picture?

Kevin Liew Tue, 17th April 2012 hmm, tough request but you can try to put this script inside a carousel.... i doubt it will work though :p
June Fri, 30th March 2012 Hi
Is there an "easy" to change the code, that you don't have to drag from left to right, but from top to bottom?
Kevin Liew Tue, 17th April 2012 hmm, top to bottom will take some time to fiddling around.. I made a quick one, behave a lil different.


Mirco Brandes Thu, 29th March 2012 Hello Kevin,
i try to use your script, but i have a big problem.
If i load the site the first time, the effekt is not visible / does not work.
If i refresh / reload the site everything ist okay.

Do you have an idea, how i can solve this problem.

If you need a link or something else please send me a message.

Josh Fri, 20th April 2012 Mirco,

I'm having the same problem with the before/after only working on a second load of each page. Did you ever figure this out? Would love to know what's going on. Thanks.
Ina Mon, 20th February 2012 Exactly what I was looking for......great job!
Best regards,
Athens, Greece
dr amir Sat, 14th January 2012 first of all ..really great work ..the result is outstanding ..i've tried the catchmy script and although the bar is a bit fancier ..the scripting it self has nothing to compare to yours ..neat and effective .
i'm including it to a dental gallery , it will be awesome ..therefore and since i'm just a dentist with tiny skills in webdesign i would like to ask u just two tiny questions if i may:
1 is is possible to include a shadow or frame effect (pure css and html) on the pics without affecting the code .
2 is is possible to include the div in a webpage already build with another css ? or it would be easier to put the whole presentation in a popup if i can center the effet so it comes in the exact middle of the popup window ?
sorry for taking so long of your reading time ..it's just that i'm impressed :)

NB: u own me a free teeth cleaning if u even come to tunisia ;)
Kevin Liew Sun, 15th January 2012 Hi Dr Amir, thanks for your kind words :)
1. it's possible, for border or shadow, you need to do this to this css class:

.beforeafter {
border:5px solid #666;
box-shadow:0 0 5px rgba(0,0,0,0.8);

2. you can mix this script with other html elements, it shouldn't conflict with the layout. Not so sure about popup, you might get something like fancybox then display this before and after script in an br.
Esther Sun, 18th December 2011 This plugin is perfect for my client who wants to show "before" and "after" photos of his hair extensions models. However, I'm having trouble integrating this into a slideshow (like Cycle or Awkward), and was wondering if this is possible.
Kevin Liew Tue, 20th December 2011 Hi Esther, I haven't tried that before but it seems to be a pretty complicated solution you got there.
Mahendra Tue, 4th October 2011 Thanks Kevin. Gr8 plugin
Morten Thu, 15th September 2011 being a prototype.js user - I took your javascript and rewrote it to using protype - hope you don't mind. Still some work pending, but it works... it can be found at sickel.net/blogg/?p=1091
Kevin Liew Thu, 15th September 2011 Haha Morten, that's awesome! Prototype is the first javascript framework i learn! But I didn't dig deep enough. Good work.
Morten Mon, 12th September 2011 Great work! Just what I was looking for!
Jan Mon, 12th September 2011 Hello.

Thanks for that great tutorial!

But i see one requirement for that effect: That the two pictures are as equal as possible, same point of view, same picture angle.

How to do that the best way? Is there any software which can help, or do you have to accomplish that in the moment when you take the "after"-Picture?

Kevin Liew Mon, 12th September 2011 Hi Jan, that's the whole point of before and after effect isn't it? :) To see the changes of two photos from the same perspective. Well, it depends how you use it. You can use it to show the retouch effect of two photos. To achieve the best effect, yes you do need two pictures as equal as possible in the point of view and angle.
Tutorial Lounge Fri, 3rd June 2011 excellent writing..
BenStern Sun, 15th May 2011 Or you could just use the awesome before/after plugin at www.catchmyfame.com/2009/06/25/jquery-beforeafter-plugin/
William Sat, 7th January 2012 Yes you can use CatchMyFrame but be CAREFULL you dont use it for anything commercial orientated as the author will try and charge you $!! for it cause ONLY for that plugin of his other 5 is here a hidden commercial clause if you have not checked into the script. THe restrictive Creative Commons clause is use be advertised NO WHERE on the site.

And as a "PLUGIN" why would one want to check the code............just plug it in ;-)

BE WARNED! His site should be CAUGHT YOU IF I CAN lol
eika Fri, 29th April 2011 awesome !
sam Sun, 20th March 2011 Hi,
Thanks for the tuto,
Nevertheless, i would like to trigger the intro gap after something has been clicked or a div toggle.

Is that possible ? Can you please explain me how to do it.

I'm not literate with javascript and your help would be welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Best regards,

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