The term multimedia is composed of two separate words, multi meaning many, and media through which information can be transmitted. Therefore, multimedia can be described as the integration of multiple media elements to influence the given information so that it can be presented in an interesting and interactive manner. Simply put, multimedia means being able to communicate in multiple ways. Traditionally, information is presented in only one medium, be it newspaper or radio or television. Representing data has taken on a whole new meaning with the development of computers. Multimedia is a computerized method of presenting information by combining audio, video, graphics, text and animation elements. For example, a multimedia database of musical instruments allows a user to not only search and retrieve text about a particular instrument but also view its image and play a piece of music. The advent of high-resolution screens and sound and video playback facilities for computers has increased the use of multimedia applications.
A typical multimedia application is characterized by certain characteristics which are as follows:
· Use of digital technology
· Demands interaction from the user
· Combines words, images, text and data into seamless applications.
As we know, multimedia basically relates to the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still or moving images (video), animation and audio where every type of information can be presented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally. The various elements that together constitute multimedia are as follows:
On-screen display of words, i.e. text, is the basis of most applications. Mankind developed texts and symbols so that they could communicate. Writing has helped people remember things for much longer than what is possible with memory (the brain). Words and symbols are the most common means of communication, whether spoken or written. Nowadays not only text is capable of displaying information, but it has also achieved interactivity; An electronic annotation, which helps to navigate through all the information presented on the web through hypertext. A hypertext can be defined as an object of text that allows the user to jump from one web page to another with a click of the mouse button. It works like an electronic footnote and helps to navigate through all the information. Files can contain raw text or formatted text. For example, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a program language source (C, Pascal) or Rich Text Format (RTF) – a file format for text files that includes formatting such as different font styles and typefaces. The basic storage of text is 1 byte per character (text or format character). For other types of data, such as spreadsheet files, some may use the format as text (with formatting), while others may use binary encoding. Text can be written using various text editing and processing tools such as word processing software such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect where text files can be developed and then imported into multimedia authoring tools for integration with other media elements.
It is a general term used to describe a graphical representation of data. When one talks about graphics, we are usually referring to pictorial representations that are created by primitive objects such as lines, polygons, circles, curves, and arcs. For example, a picture of a cube can be drawn using lines, and a pie chart can be drawn using lines and arcs. Images are still images that are represented as a bitmap (a grid of pixels), but graphics are usually editable or modifiable (unlike images). Typically, graphic input devices include a keyboard, mouse, trackball, or light pen. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so adding a graphic element to a text-based document can change the user’s perception of the document. The integration of graphics elements in the application makes it more elegant and understandable. Increasingly technology has created a lot of graphics and visual images for a multimedia project. For developing multimedia projects, images are captured from various sources such as scanners, digital cameras, and the Internet. Once the images are converted into digitized form, they can be edited and modified using image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw and Freehand.
It means the sensation resulting from the stimulation of the hearing process by air waves or vibrations. It is the vibration of air molecules in the atmosphere that can be sensed by the ear. It involves the transmission of mechanical vibrations through an elastic medium that can be detected by the human ear. Computers and digital technology have changed the face of the music industry. Today, digital music is used to create special effects in television, movies, recording studios, and games. Music and sound effects not only add interactivity to the user but also play with the user’s perception and emotions. Audio can also be used to provide a sense of place or mood to the game to perfection. Music is perhaps the most obvious form of sound. It can be used to set a mood, express an idea and even tell a story. Speech is also a perfect way for speech learning software to teach users the pronunciation of words. Non-speech sound effects can be used in user interfaces to notify users of background events. For example, the progress sound of a file download might be signaled by the sound of water pouring into a glass that is slowly filling up. Such background noise shall be non-intrusive. Furthermore, words can be embedded in a web page and played.
It refers to moving pictures with sound like movies on television. It is a medium that is as direct and more attention-grabbing as print. It adds richness to content and enhances user experience. It adds drama and impact to multimedia applications. Integrating video elements into a multimedia application provides a lot of information in a short amount of time. When used in a planned and well-executed manner, it can make a dramatic difference in a multimedia presentation. Digital video is useful in multimedia applications for showing real-life objects, such as people talking or real-life images of concepts. Video places high performance demands on bandwidth when placed in computer memory and over the Internet. In terms of computers and the Internet, the main problems with most videos are that their production quality is too low and their file sizes too large. To make videos usable, video files need to be compressed into different file formats.
It is the process of sequencing still images in rapid succession to give the effect of live motion. The sequence of images is shown one after the other very quickly so that the human eye and brain blend the images to create the effect of motion. It is a powerful tool capable of communicating complex ideas. It is often much easier to show someone to try to explain how things work. Animation is effective because of a natural phenomenon known as persistence of vision. An object seen by the human eye is mapped onto the retina for a short period of time after viewing. This makes possible a series of images that change very slightly and very quickly, one after the other, seemingly merging into a visual illusion of movement. In other words, if one slightly changes the position or shape of an object fast enough, the eye will perceive the changes as motion. An animated sequence has to show a certain number of frames per second. For professional animation, one should have at least 30 frames per second.
In today’s challenging world, presentations fail if presentation ideas are not conveyed effectively. One way to express imaginative ideas is by using graphics. Graphics can be presented in different modes which are described below:
· Background: It sets the tone and theme of the presentation. It should be based on the type of information to be communicated. For example, if the information is more text oriented, simple background images should be used. If the information is to be conveyed to young children, the background should be more animated and colorful.
· Two-Dimensional (2D) Graphics: Usually, when someone looks at a computer screen, he is looking at a two-dimensional image. The image spans left to right and top to bottom but usually neither inside nor outside the computer screen. A 2D image definition only contains information about how a scene appears from a specific point.
· Three-dimensional (3D) graphics: A 3D image contains information about the scene in three dimensions (x, y, and z coordinates). However, this 3D data cannot be viewed directly. To visualize it, the 3D data must first be converted into a 2D image by a computer using a process known as rendering. The rendering process takes as input the 3D scene and a camera’s position and properties, and produces as output the 2D image that the camera sees from that particular point in space. The process is done by mathematically projecting a 3D scene onto a 2D surface. In photography, this is done by the camera lens, but in computer graphics, it is done by solving mathematical equations. In both cases, the result is a 2D image created from a 3D scene.
· Charts and Graphs: In business and training-related multimedia projects, charts and graphs are the most appropriate form of graphics used to present data and statistical information.
· Flowchart: The use of flowcharts reveals the systematic sequence of events. They are primarily designed to break down complex problem-solving steps into smaller, less complex steps to simplify developing logic. They are also used to represent 2D graphics.