Creative Multimedia

Chapter 1: Multimedia Basic Concepts

What is Multimedia?

The word multimedia refers to the integration of multiple media- such as visual imagery, text, video, sound and animation- which together can multiply the impact of our message. On another level, interactive multimedia refers to the ability of the user to control these components and interact with then as needed.

The integration of multimedia technology into the communication environment has the potential to transform an audience from passive recipients of information to active participants in a media rich learning process.

Communication using multimedia

Communication is the exchange of ideas, messages or information. By definition, communication needs to be at least a two-way process. With interactive multimedia technology, we can communicate with our audience by means of a presentation that becomes more than a message-it becomes an active, exciting experience in a multisensory environment. Multimedia authoring software provides the communicator design capability to allow the user(s) or audience to interact with the presenter or with the computer program itself. Moreover, it allows the user to interact with other software or communication technologies, such as the Internet, to gather or process information.

From application planning to application delivery

Consider the following scenario. You (or on of your clients) have an idea for a multimedia application that needs to be developed. the question now is: what do you do next? You or your development team will need to go through a number of steps in order accomplish the delivery of the proposed multimedia applications. these steps are summarized in Figure1.1 Multimedia Development Process Flow Chart

Figure1.1 Multimedia Development Process Flow Chart shows a summarized development process flow chart. This process is more complex than presented; usually it involves a considerable number of additional steps; Figure 1.2 Sample of a Production Flow Chart for an Instructional Multimedia Presentation presents the development flow chart for a multimedia instructional application in the area of the humanities. This particular instructional module includes the production of a laser disc.

This chapter presents the basic steps for planning and implementing major phases of the production process of a multimedia application.

Multimedia application design considerations

Present and future technology will provide an almost limitless number of resources and techniques that can be incorporated into a multimedia application. regardless of all the technical tricks and gimmicks available , however, when developing and designing a multimedia application , you must consider certain essential elements or design criteria in order to develop a successful multimedia application. these elements are critical parameters for planning the production of an interactive application. this section explores:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the program objective(s)?
  • What is the structure of the application (program content?)
  • What multimedia building blocks will be used to present the proposed content ?
  • What is the desired degree of interactivity between the user and the computer?
  • What is the expected level of user response?
  • What will be needed to play back the proposal program?

Defining the target audience

The definition of the program is one of the most important design parameters for your program. For purposes of this course, the audience is defined as the application users and or the information recipients. an educational program, a marketing program, a corporate presentation, and an information kiosk application all have significant differences. before initiating the actual program design, you should do some research about the target audience. the information that will help to define the program includes:

  • Age and educational level
  • Learning styles
  • Corporate institutional culture
  • Audience needs and expectations
  • Use level of expertise, both subject matter and computer literacy level
  • Logos and preferred colors
  • Ethnic, gender and cultural composition
  • Psychological profile

This list can be simply summarized as


The success of the program or presentation will be greatly influenced by an audience background research (characterization and definition of your audience) as well as the careful planning of your program .

Characterization of the program is very important , but you will also need to consider:

  • Program objective(s)
  • Mode of delivery

1. Presentation

2. Tutorial , kiosk

3. Or internet interactive page

  • Program interaction level(program complexity)
  • Need for program documentation, technical manual, read-me-file or workbook

Awareness of these factors will help you define specific design considerations of the proposed application.

Multimedia application goals and objectives

During the initial planning stages of multimedia application development, you must ask yourself or your client these critical questions:

  • What is the purpose of the application?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What is the expected result?

The answer to these questions must be clear and considered throughout the planning and development phases of the program.

Application intended use

From the early stages of planning your presentation or multimedia application, you must have clear understanding of how this application will be used. Is the intended use of this presentation to a group ? who are the members of the group(i.e. students, clients, a board of directors, etc?) or will the proposed multimedia application be used by a single user in an instructional setting-a kiosk, a TV, or a desktop computer in an office? all these elements have implications for the planning and design of your application. now explore the differences and implications of each intended use.

Program content

program content can be defined as the specific message, data, or information presented through the multimedia application. The program content is provided to the multimedia architect by the content specialist. as the mentioned, a high - quality multimedia application is the product of concerned efforts by a production team; this member is responsible for performing all research needed for the content of the application .

The content specialist provides the multimedia architect with accurate facts, figures, charts, graphics, and videos. He or she should prepare the narration , text, bullets, charts, and tables that will be presented in the program.

The final form in which the information will be introduced and displayed is the responsibility of the multimedia architect. Once the content is delivered to the multimedia architect , the key question is "how can this information be presented by using the capabilities of multimedia technology?"

In designing the delivery of the presentation content, keep in mind that your audience has different learning styles . use a variety of media to present a concept, such as narration , a related background pictures, animation, digitized video, text bullets, and so on. the integration of a variety of multimedia elements will help your audience comprehend and retain the information .

Multimedia building blocks

As mentioned above, a multimedia presentation is composed of a number of elements (building blocks) such as text, graphics, digitized video, video played in a video window, sound , computer animation and others that are coordinated by the authoring program. authoring program such as macromedia director, authorware, astound, and asymmetrix toolbox are used to assemble the multimedia application.

These multimedia building blocks are usually produced using a variety of software applications and imported into the multimedia authoring application. they are used as external resources, retrieved by the authoring application and played when necessary. the production of these elements will be discussed later.

In reference to the planning process of the multimedia presentation, particularly to the use and integration of the multimedia building blocks, you must consider:

  • Which elements should you use to illustrate or present the proposed information?
  • What was provided to you by the content specialist?
  • What are the expectations of your clients?
  • How should these elements be used and integrated in such way that the presentation appeals to member of the audience with different leering styles?
  • How much time do you have to develop and deliver the presentation?
  • What is the budget (financial resources) assigned to the program (project)?
  • Do you have the expertise and the resources to effectively develop these element?
  • How will the proposed presentation be distributed?
  • How much storage space(ROM) will be available in the distribution media (a floppy, a CD-ROM, on-line, an optical drive) and how does this affect the selection of the multimedia building blocks?

The answer to the above questions will provide additional guidance to the planning and production of your presentation. even with the answer to these questions, there are other aspects that should be taken into consideration.

  • What are the application goals and objectives?
  • How much information layers or screen associated with the active screen will be available?
  • How much interaction between user and a machine is necessary?
  • Do you need to provide the user with feed back?

This will be discussed in the following section.

Individual use

The planning of a multimedia application to be used on a one-to-one (user -to -computer) should be allow for the incorporation of the following elements:

  • Extended text. Because the application will be used by one or two users on a single machine, the size of the fonts and the amount of text are not affected by the distance from the machine.
  • Scrolling text fields(discussed in chapter 4)

  • Audio. The quantity and length of narration, music, and sound effects can be considerably greater than in a large-group presentation. One suggestion is to plan the use of low sound level (volume) or the selection of playback hardware with headphone-connection capabilities(mini connector)

  • Interactivity. In interactive applications, the user can interact with the machine by means of several devices, such as keyboard, numeric key pad, mouse, tracking ball, touch screen, pen based mouse, and infrared pointer.

Group presentation

When planning a multimedia presentation for a large group, you must consider

  • Text. Use bullets and short paragraphs. The size of the fonts should be no smaller than 20 points so that text will be readable from a distance . Do not use text scrolling fields.
  • Audio. Do not use narration testimonials necessary for the accomplishment of the application's goals. Music and sound effects are strongly recommended. Keep in mind that the better the quality of the sound the larger the file memory requirements.
  • Interactivity. In interactive applications, the presenter will be the only one interacting with the machine. The presenter will use several devices, such as keyboard, numeric key pad, mouse, tracking ball, touch screen, penbased mouse, infrared pointer and other .the audience can interact through the use of keypads in response to question or giving numeric inputs. Usually audience input consists of opinions or reactions to what is presented on the screen.
  • Colors. When you are presenting to a large group, you will need a projection or playback device. The device may be an LCD panel with a high-intensity overhead projector , a three -beam gun projector, a one-gun LCD projector, a large -screen TV, or some other device. It is important to know how many colors the device can display. For example, if your presentation was developed using millions of colors(24bits) but the projectors is capable of displaying only 16 bit colors, the presentation will look terrible.

Degree of interactivity

In the process of planning your multimedia application, a critical determination is the level of interactivity (user -machine) needed to accomplish the program goals. This determination is particularly important in training, educational, and direct-sales applications. You must determine whether you need the user to respond to questions presented by the computer and whether feedback from the program based on user response is necessary. For example, in an educational application, you can use multiple-choice questions. The user can select an alternative and the machine can provide feed back to the user, such as

Congratulations! That is the correct answer.

Sorry, that was not the correct answer; please try again.

When you request a response from the user(s) by means of keypads, keyboard, a touch sensitive device or pushing button(s) be ready to provide some kind of feedback. In the above example, once the audience provided a response, you should provide them with the results of the survey. To accomplish this, you need to include statistical analysis capability and the capability of producing and displaying charts with the survey results in the design of the applications. Your application must have this capability built in or have the capacity to call another computer application capable or performing this function. This information is important to know when choosing the correct authoring software.

Internet applications

For those of us who have been developing and delivering multimedia applications with a large amount of playback equipment, the advent of the delivery of interactive multimedia applications via the Internet is a blessing. Imagine going anywhere in the world with a laptop computer, plug it into a telephone line anywhere in the world and retrieve your multimedia application. Using the same technology, millions of people can watch your applications in different times. This opens new possibilities for communicating using this technology.

To master this technology, the first step is understanding the process of multimedia authoring. The second step is to learn animations with the required compression and browser playback tools. One example is the use of Macromedia Director as an authoring program as well as the use of Shockwave as a Director playback engine plugged into a web browser application, such as Netscape.

Avoiding Problems

Based on our multimedia development experience, these are some basic aspects to keep in mind in order to avoid some common problems when developing a multimedia application.

In designing the delivery of the presentation content, keep in mind that your audience members have different learning styles. Use a variety of media to present a concept, such as narration, a related background picture, animation, digitized video, text bullets and so on. The integration of a variety of multimedia elements will appeal to different learning styles. This is expected to help you audience comprehend and retain the information.

Stick to the purpose of the program. Use multimedia building blocks that will help convey the intended message or information.

Sometimes multimedia producers and programmers include animation that does not promote the program objective and can detract from the focus of the presentation. These additions to the program (other than serving the ego of the developer) increase cost, add to the development time of the application as well as storage space. Playback of the application can also be affected.

Remember: the success of your multimedia application will greatly depend on your knowledge of your audience’s needs and expectations. Plan to fulfill the expectations of your audience.

Stop guessing who your audience is and what the goals of your multimedia applications are. Define the characteristics and expectations of proposed application audience.

Remember: Always make feedback to the user positive and encouraging; never use negative or derogatory feedback.

In summary: Plan Ahead!

Chapter 2: Opportunities in Multimedia Production

You as the Desktop Multimedia Communicator

When using a computer-assisted presentation program, we must be able to differentiate among the four levels of presentations: slide presentations, multimedia presentations, interactive multimedia presentations and multimedia Internet web sites.

  • Slide presentations

These linear presentations (one slide after another) developed using primarily text, graphics (clip art) and/or pictures. No interaction or branching (connections or linkages between different parts or sections of the presentation) is possible in this type of program.

  • Multimedia presentations

These presentations can be developed using text, graphics (clip art), charts, sounds, digitized video, computer animations and/or pictures in which no interaction has been incorporated. The interaction, (exchange of ideas or messages) can take place between the presenter (communicator) and the audience.

  • Interactive multimedia presentations

These presentations are developed with the same elements as those in the preceding category but incorporate built-in interaction between user and computer. This interaction can be in the form of data entry (entering alphanumeric answers), selection of possible answers or alternatives (multiple-choice or true/false questions), interaction with screen objects, requests and receipts of printouts and other possibilities. This type of program format is appropriate for information kiosks, personnel training programs, and computer-assisted education programs.

  • Multimedia internet web sites.

As mentioned above, this kind of presentation or application is initially developed using the above mentioned tools, but it needs to be compressed using specialized tools. These tools allow the application (developed using a multimedia development authoring software) to be playback through a Web Browser. These applications have the potential to become interactive by taking advantage of Web site hypertexting capabilities or by accessing databases external to the web site.

Where Jobs are in the Multimedia Development Industry

As an individual interested in multimedia, you have probably asked yourself,” What are the job opportunities in fields related to this technology?” The answer is simple; the opportunities are many and varied! More and more people with multimedia development skills will be necessary for the creation and maintenance of applications like web pages in the Internet.

Macromedia’s Shockwave technology allows integration of Macromedia Director and Authorware animations into a web page. This technology helps to compress and playback these files. We sill present the major features of Shockwave technology in Chapter 10.

The following is a partial list of job opportunities and possibilities:

Products marketing and promotion

TV commercials

Multimedia advertising (internet)

Video-based marketing and promotion

Multimedia storyboarding

Multimedia resumes

Marketing web page development


Film special effects

Video animations and special effects


Multimedia (interface design, content generation and special effects)

Interactive TV (interface design, content generation and special effects)

Virtual reality simulation and arcade style virtual games

Scene pre-visualization

Internet games development

Scientific Research

Medical and dental research

Physics simulation

Chemical modeling

Astronomical research

Genetics research

Mathematical research

Medical and Research Centers web page development

Multimedia and Interactive Publishing

Multimedia content design

User-interface design

Internet page design

Multimedia consulting

Multimedia advertising

Kiosk design and implementation

Multimedia books

Multimedia (CD-ROM) maggazines and periodicals

Magazines web pages

Real Estate Development

Site-use determination studies

Architectural Design

Structural engineering

Construction planning

Utility design and engineering

Information-systems wiring

Interior design

Landscape design

Property sales and marketing

Internet property sales and marketing

Law Enforcement and Government Services

Trial reenactment

Image composting of suspects

On-line government services


Statistical modeling

Market simulations

Investment analysis

Investment forms web page development


Edutainment software

Educational software

Multimedia textbooks

Classroom instructional materials development

Multimedia yearbook design and development

Educational research

University and college promotional media

Internet distance leraning web pages

Internet university and college promotional web pages.

Application Design and Production: The multimedia Development Team

High-quality interactive multimedia applications are the products of efforts of a production team. Some people might argue that anybody can do a multimedia presentation. That statement is partially true. In the preproduction phase (development) stages, there are several software applications that enable the average computer user to develop simple and effective presentations. But the production of fine-quality high-end applications- such as games, interactive information kiosks, commercial-quality training and educational applications – is usually the work of a specialized team. Typically this team consists of the following members:

  • Producer
  • Content specialist
  • Multimedia architect
  • Instructional Designer
  • Script Writer
  • Computer Graphics Artist
  • Audio and Video Specialist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Webmaster

For top-quality multimedia development, it is important to remember

Multimedia = Team Work


As in video productions, the role of the producer in a multimedia production is to define. Coordinate and facilitate the “production” of the project. Some of the tasks performed by the producer are :

  • Defining the scope of the project
  • Negotiating with the client
  • Securing financial resources, equipment and facilities
  • Coordinating the development team

A producer need not be an expert in the authoring process but he/she must need to have an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the technology. This knowledge will help the producer in the discussion with the client, defining what is feasible and what is not.

The producer is the overall coordinator and facilitator of the multimedia project. They are also responsible for the quality and timely production of the application.

Content Specialist(s)

The content specialist is the member of team responsible for performing all necessary research concerning content of the proposed application. Program content can defined be as the specific information, data, graphics or facts presented through the multimedia application. The content specialist provides program content for the multimedia architect.

Multimedia Architect (Program Authoring Specialists)

The multimedia architect is the team member responsible for integrating all the multimedia building blocks (graphics, text, audio, music, video, photos and animations) by using an authoring language. An authoring language is a software that allows us to integrate all the multimedia elements into a comprehensive presentation. The multimedia architect overseas the work of other team members such as the graphics artist, audio specialist, musicians, video specialist and computer programmers.

The multimedia architect doesn’t need to be an expert in the crafts of the other team members, but he or she must have a basic understanding of the capabilities of the software the team members use. The multimedia architect also advises team members about the file format needed and the resolution of files.

Instructional Designer

In educational or corporate training applications, the team must include a specialist who can take the information provided by the content specialists and decide how to present it using the best educational strategies and practises. The instructional designer is also responsible for determining how the information is presented to a variety of learning styles. Depending on the instructional level and age of the target audience, the instructional designer must also adjust the information to be delivered to the audience according to profile and needs. Another responsibility is the development of strategies to assess the learning of the users.

Script Writer

A multimedia production is very much like a movies, a commercial or a documentary video in that a script is needed to present the topic of the production sequentially. But in the script development, there is a significant difference between the production of a video or film production and the production of an interactive multimedia presentation. Videos and film scripts present a linear sequence of events. In multimedia production, the medium has the capability of presenting events in a nonlinear fashion by branching in different directions and establishing linkages between different sections or components of the program.

The script writer needs to be able to visualise this three-dimensional environment and on occasion, visualize the use and integration of virtual reality into the program.

Computer Graphic Artist

The audio and video specialists are responsible for the graphic elements of the program- such as backgrounds, buttons, photo collages- and the manipulation and editing of pictures, 3D objects, logos, animation, renderings etc. This team member works very closely with the multimedia architect in the composition of screens, making sure that colors are in harmony and that screens are not crowded.

When developing an interactive application where graphic elements when selected and clicked, link with other screens or objects, the computer graphic artist needs to develop the object separately from the background but in harmony and in balance with the rest of the screen components.

Audio and Video Specialist

The audio and video specialists are needed when intensive use of narration and digitized video are integrated into a multimedia presentation. The audio specialist is responsible for recording and editing narration; selecting, recording or editing sound effects, recording and editing music.

The video specialist is responsible for video capturing, editing and digitizing. The individual is responsible for taking pictures, scanning pictures or slides and editing.

Computer Programmer

The task of the computer programmer in a multimedia development team is the programming of code lines or “scripts” in the authoring language. These scripts are used to code and develop special functions or capabilities of the authoring program. Some of these additional capabilities might be generating random numbers, determining size and shape of video windows, controlling peripherals, calling other software by the multimedia authoring program to execute a specific function and displaying a result, and others.


This is a brand new role. This person has the responsibility of creating and maintaining an Internet web page. He or she must be capable of converting multimedia application into a web page or create a web page with multimedia elements. Due to the increasing accessibility to the web and new technological development, it is needless to say that these individuals are in high demand in the job market.

Chapter 3: Multimedia Application, Structure and Organization

Why is Creative Concept Development Important in Multimedia Development?

You may have used multimedia applications that are less than adequately designed: their messages or intentions are unclear, navigating the text is difficult, online help is not available or documentation is poor, and coordination among audio and video is practically nonexistent. In a poorly designed application, you may even be bombarded by unrelated media elements. To ensure that you avoid these flaws in your multimedia applications, you will want to know how principles of learning relate to the development of multimedia. You will also want to know how to organize the sequence of the application meaningfully. This chapter contains helpful guidelines for developing the creative concept for your multimedia application.

Strategies for Creative Concept development:

  • Ÿ Applying the psychology of learning to interface design
  • Ÿ Planning the content and production of your program
  • Ÿ Creating the multimedia building blocks
  • Ÿ Managing copyrights

Applying the Psychology of Learning to Interface Design

What is multimedia application interface? In simple terms, the interface is how the user interacts with the application content or information. Through the interface you may provide navigational buttons, text fields, instruction, graphics, animations, audio resources and other means of support to help users achieve the goals of the application.

Understanding basic concepts about how learning occurs is helpful and even necessary in designing a meaningful and useful multimedia application interface. In the following sections we will explore some basic principles of the psychology of learning and its application to interface design.

Interface Design and the Psychology of Learning

Multimedia refers to the use of a variety of media to communicate messages, ideas and content, thus appealing to more than one sense to create a multisensory experience. Multimedia reach users in many different ways, enabling them to retain more knowledge and increase their understanding.

To understand the function of multimedia better, consider how your brain works in relation to learning. Information enters the brain through your senses, basically through your eyes and ears. When your attention is focused, you hear with your ears or see with your eyes to take in information, which is then transferred to the working area of your brain. While information is in the working memory, it must be used or practised in some way to be learned, or it will be lost. This process is called rehearsal. Before learning actually occurs, though, the information to be retained must be transferred from the working area and stored in the long-term memory through a process known as encoding. Before the encoded information can be used, it must be retrieved from long-term memory and delivered to the working area for processing. The four steps in learning, then, are attention, rehearsal, encoding and retrieval.

A well-designed multimedia application demands the simultaneous attention of several senses (at least) through dual encoding or the process of appealing to more than one sense simultaneously. Dual encoding facilitates and enhances the rehearsal process. Multimedia help retrieval by associating sound, text, and images with the concept being presented.

The sum of these qualities enhances the retention of knowledge. For example, if your monitor shows a photograph of an eagle flying and you see the word eagle simultaneously while hearing the sound of wind, you easily retain the concept of the word eagle.

When you design multimedia applications, you should consider cognitive load or the amount of information that can be assimilated in a given time. Managing cognitive load is critical in designing effective multimedia applications. If you bombard your audience with too much information at once, you overload users’ cognitive abilities, and learning occurs less effectively. And of course, your application will not meet its goals.

Working with Learning Styles

Psychologists and educators tell us that there are different ways or styles of learning

  • Graphic learners who learn primarily by reading, seeing or visualizing.
  • Ÿ Auditory learners who learn best by listening and making auditory associations.
  • Ÿ Kinesthetic learners who learn most effectively through physical movement or through touching.

Ask yourself, How do I learn? What kind of books do I prefer? Books with text only? Books with lots of pictures and diagrams? Do I learn better by watching videos?”. Ask your classmates the same questions. What are the results of your findings? Now do a little research.

Ask your classmates:” How do you learn- by listening, by looking at graphics or by touching?” Record your survey results by completing the following table.

Learning Style

Number of Students





As you complete this survey, you will probably discover that your colleagues have a variety of learning styles- that they learn and prefer to learn in different ways. Now consider that your class is a small sample of the overall population and that indeed there are large segments of the population with each learning style. To communicate effectively with a large audience, you must develop applications that appeal to a combination of learning styles.

The design of your application must incorporate different multimedia building blocks that in turn appeal to different learning styles. You must effectively use text, audio, graphics, animation and digitized voices to make your message meaningful to people with widely different learning styles.

Considering Interface Desig

8 Fundamentals rules for designing computer-based instruction:

·Keep cognitive load low with simple consistent screen design and conservative use of text, sound, motion and color

·Avoid dividing the learner’s attention: Use various media elements such as text, graphics and sound to reinforce a single message rather than introducing disparate messages.

·Use color, arrows, shading and sound sparingly to direct the learner’s attention to important parts of the message.

·Keep visible on-screen the information learners need to refer to during instruction, especially if learners must respond to question.

·Clear learners’ working memories by encouraging frequent rehearsal, a process that moves information into long-term memory.

·Encourage dual encoding by using concrete words and different media (for example, text, graphics and sound) to reinforce a message

·Avoid repetition in interactions. Instead use design interactions that match job activities and skills.

·For procedural skills, encourage encoding specifically through high-fidelity simulation practise. Simulations should be as close as possible to circumstances learners encounter in the actual job environment.

Planning the Production of your Application

At this point, you should have a good idea of the meaning of multimedia, applications, the composition of the development team and multimedia building blocks. Now consider how to plan the production of an application.

To start the authoring process without planning all components of the project is a major mistake. If you defined the purpose of the proposed application (as you read in Chapter 1), follow these steps to begin developing your project:

·Develop the program script or concept

·Outline your program

·Develop a flow chart

·Develop the program storyboard

·Plan the user interface

·Prepare scripts for narrations, text, and video

·Consider copyrights

·Plan the production of music, audio and video

·Prepare the project time lines and budget.



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