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More advanced portfolio(lightbox) popups

Hi im working on a portfolio for a company, and we are trying to get a gallery popup that allows to show a picture of the project, aswell as two alternate views of the project, (ideally clicking the thumbnails would replace the big image by the thumbnail) and some text describing the project.

We looked into this tutorial. While we can create it with this modal popup. It means that all images will be loaded upon visiting the website. Lets say have this for 20 images portfolio projects x3 images. Making it a very long wait presumably and not to mention the unneccessary bandwidth.

Does anyone have tips to do this in another way? I thought about using tabs instead. however im pretty sure they also load upon visiting the website.

Any help/ideas would be appreciated.