The word multimedia is made up of two separate words, multi meaning many, and media meaning ways through which information may be transmitted. Therefore, multimedia can be described as an integration of multiple media elements together to influence the given information so that it can be presented in an attractive and interactive manner. In simple words, multimedia means being able to communicate in more than one way. Traditionally, information was presented in a single medium only, be it newspaper or radio or television. With the development of computers, presenting data has taken an entirely new meaning. Multimedia is a computerized method of presenting information by combining audio, video, graphics, texts, and or animation components. For example, a multimedia database of musical instruments may allow a user not only to search and retrieve text about a particular instrument but also to see its pictures and play a piece of music. The advent of high-resolution screens and sound and video playback facilities for computers has resulted in the increased use of multimedia applications.
A typical multimedia application is characterized by some features which are as follows:
· Uses of digital technology
· Demands interaction from the user
· Integrates sound, images, text, and data into seamless applications.
As we know, multimedia is mainly concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still or moving images (video), animation and audio where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted, and processed digitally. The various elements that together constitute multimedia are as follows:
The on-screen display of words, that is, text, is the base of most applications. Humankind developed text and symbols so that they could communicate. Writing helped human to remember things for a much longer period than what is possible with the help of memory (brain). Words and symbols in any form, spoken or written, are the most common means of communication. These days not only is the text capable of displaying information, but it has also gained interactivity; things like an electronic annotation, which assist in navigating through all the information presented on the Web by means of hypertext. A hypertext can be defined as an object in the text that allows the user to jump from one web page to another at a click of the mouse button. It acts like electronic footnotes and assists in navigating through all the information. Files may 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 like different font styles and typefaces and so on. The basic storage of text is 1 byte per character (text or format character). For other forms of data such as spreadsheet files, some may store format as text (with formatting), 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 file can be developed and later imported into the multimedia authoring tools to integrate with other media elements.
It is a generic term used to describe the pictorial representation of data. When one talks about graphics, we generally tend to refer those pictorial representations that are created by the 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 pictures that are represented as a bitmap (a grid of pixels) but, graphics are usually editable or revisable (unlike images). Generally, graphic input devices include keyboard, mouse, trackball or light pens.It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so by adding a graphic element into a text-based document can change the user’s perception towards the document. Integration of the graphics element into the application makes it more elegant and understandable. Growing technology has produced a wealth of graphics and visual imagery for a multimedia project. For the development of multimedia project, various images are captured from different sources like scanners, digital cameras, and through the Internet. Once the images are transformed into digitised form, they can be edited and modified using image editing software, namely, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and Freehand.
It means the sensation resulting from stimulation of the auditory mechanism by airwaves or vibrations. It is the vibration of air molecules in the atmosphere that can be sensed by the ear. It involves transmission of mechanical vibration by an elastic medium that is capable of being detected by the human ear. Computers and digital technology have changed the face of music industry. Today, digital music is used to produce special effects in televisions, films, in recording studios, and in games. Music and sound effects not only add interactivity with 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 as done to perfection in the game. Music is probably the most obvious form of sound. It can be used to set a mood, convey an idea, and even tell a story. Speech is also a perfect way for teaching users the pronunciation of words as done by the speech learning software. Non-speech sound effects can be used in the user interface to inform users about background events. For example, sound of the progress of a file download could be signalled by the sound of water pouring into a glass that gradually fills up. These kinds of background sounds have to be non-intrusive. Moreover, Sounds can be embedded into a web page and can be played.
It refers to the moving picture accompanied by sound such as a movie on television. It is a medium that is as direct as print and catches more attention. It adds richness to content and enhances the user’s experience. It dramatises and gives impact to the multimedia application. Integrating video element in a multimedia application provides a great deal of information in a short time. If used in a planned and well-executed manner, it can make dramatic differences in the multimedia presentation. Digital video is useful in multimedia applications for showing real life objects, such as people talking or real life illustrations of concepts. Video places the highest performance demand on the computer memory and on the bandwidth if placed on the Internet. In terms of computers and Internet, the major problems with most videos are that their production quality is too low and they have a very large file size. To make video usable, video files need to be compressed in different file formats.