Multimedia Hardware and Applications

denz By denz, 31st Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Technology

The standard definition of multimedia is any presentation that involves by two or more media, such as texts, graphics or sound. Multimedia makes exciting because users can choose their own path through the presentation.

Multimedia Hardware and Applications

What is Multimedia? The standard definition of multimedia is any presentation that involves by two or more media, such as texts, graphics or sound.

What makes multimedia exciting? Interactivity! In interactive multimedia, users can choose their own path through the presentation. The interactive dimension makes computer-based multimedia a non-couch-potato technology.

Interactivity has helped make the World Wide Web so popular; the web could be viewed as a gigantic multimedia presentation. Most web pages include graphics along with the text, and many also offer animations, videos and sounds. The Web's navigation method called hypertext - enables users to browse as they please. In a hypertext world, you can choose where you want to go by clicking a link to another document. By blending multimedia with the Web, hypermedia becomes possible; in many Web pages, for instance you can click parts of a graphic to access a different page. In hypermedia, media other than text becomes the vehicle for navigating to new material.

Most personal computers needed additional equipment to run multimedia presentations. Today, this equipment - a sound card, a CD-ROM drive and speakers - is a standard issue. If you want to go into serious multimedia production, you may need additional equipment, such as a pen-based graphics tablet, stereo microphones, a digital camera, and a video adapter. If you enjoy playing games, you'll want a 3-D video accelerator, which is an add-on video adapter that works with your current video card. For 3-D sound, you'll need a sound card capable of reproducing sounds. And while you're at it, pick up a few extra speakers and a sub-woofer.

Multimedia Applications

Multimedia is used for any computer application in which text alone won't do. Arguably, this category includes just about every computer application, because graphics, sounds, animations and video can often do a more effective job of involving the user (and conveying information) than text alone.

Multimedia is a prerequisite for computer games of all kinds, but it's also finding growing use in computer-based education (CBE) and computer-based training (CBT). Hot sellers in the CD-ROM market include multimedia versions of reference works, such as dictionaries which included recordings that tell you how to pronounce difficult words, encyclopedia (replete with sound and video clips from famous moments in history), and how to guides, which use multimedia to show you how to do just about anything around the home.

A multimedia presentation may involve some or all of the following: bit-mapped graphics, vector graphics, edited photographs, rendered three-dimensional images, edited videos and synthesized sound.

These introduce you some of the software used to create the cast of a multimedia production:

Compression and Decompression(Codecs)

Computers can work with art, photographs, videos, and sounds, but they can do so only when these multimedia resources are stored in digitized files. These files, however, require huge amounts of storage space. For example, an average-sized hard disk could store only a dozen audio CDs, and there wouldn't be much room left for system software or applications. To reduce the size of multimedia files, most software uses compression or decompression algorithms called Codecs.

Codecs use two different approaches to compression, called loss-less compression and loss compression. In loss-less compression, the original file is compressed so that it can be completely restored, without flaw, when decompression occurs. In loss compression, the original file is processed so that some information is permanently removed. However, you probably won't notice the loss. Loss compression techniques eliminate information that isn't perceived when people see pictures or hear sounds.

Paint Programs

Paint programs are used to create bit-mapped graphics (also called raster graphics) which are composed of tiny dots, each corresponding to one pixel on the computer's display. Although paint programs enable artists to create pictures easily, the resulting bit-mapped image is difficult to edit. To do so, you must zoom the picture so that you can edit the individual pixels, and enlargement may produce an unattractive distortion called the jaggies. Professional paint programs such as Fractal Design Painter enable users to create beautiful painterly effects, even if they're not good at art.

Although most monitors can't display more than 72 dots per inch (dpi), paint programs can create and store bit-mapped graphics at higher resolutions, which comes in handy for printing.

Just how many colors you can display depends on the amount of video RAM in your system. The more colors shown on-screen, the more memory is required to store them. A file that stores 8 bits of color information per pixel can display a color depth of only 256 colors. For realistic color photographs, a color depth of 16.7 million colors is needed (24 bits per pixel).

These are the following standard formats of Paint programs:

1. Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) - a 256-color file format that uses lossless compression to reduce file size. It's best for simple images with large areas of solid colors. Because this file format is a Web standard, it's often used for Web pages.

2. Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) - can store up to 16.7 million colors and is best for complex images, such as photographs. This image format is also a Web standard. The JPEG file format uses lossy compression to reduce file size.

3. Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - A new alternative to GIF that doesn't require companies to pay a royalty for the lossless compression technique used.

4. Windows Bitmap (BMP) - A standard bit-mapped graphics format developed for Microsoft Windows. Compression is optional, so BMP files tend to be very large.



Image Editors

Image editors are sophisticated versions of paint programs designed for editing and transforming- but not creating-complex bit-mapped images, such as photographs. These programs make use of automated image processing algorithms to add a variety of special effects to photographic images. They also enable skilled users to combine photographs in a way that leaves few traces behind.

Leading image editors such as Adobe Photoshop have been used by professional design studios for years, but image editors may soon capture a wider market due to the booming market for digital cameras. Programs such as Adobe's PhotoDeluxe are designed for beginners who want to perform the most common image enhancement tasks quickly and easily and then print their pictures on a color printer. Among the image processing tasks that PhotoDeluxe can perform are removing red-eye from flash snapshots and adjusting the pictures' overall color cast.

Drawing Programs

Drawing programs are used to create vector graphics, in which each on screen object is stored as a complex mathematical description. What this means, in practice, is that every object in a vector graphic can be independently edited and resized without introducing edge distortions, the bane of bit-mapped graphics. To compose an image with a drawing program, you create independent lines and shapes; you can then add colors and textures to these shapes. Because the resulting image has no inherent resolution, you can choose any size you want. The picture will print using the output devices' highest resolution.

Professional drawing programs, such as Macromedia Freehand and Adobe Illustrator, save files by outputting instructions in the PostScript language, which is an automated page description language (PDL). A page description language is a programming language capable of precisely describing the appearance of a printed page, including fonts and graphics. PostScript is an established PDL standard widely used in desktop publishing. To print PostScript files, you need a printer equipped with its own microprocessor and an interpreter capable of decoding PostScript instructions. PostScript graphic files are saved to the Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format, which encapsulates the PostScript in a file that also contains a bit-mapped thumbnail image of the enclosed graphic. (The thumbnail image enables you to see the graphic on-screen).

One drawback of drawing programs lies in the lack of Web support for vectors graphics. Several proposals have been made for adopting a standard.

Animation Programs

When you see a movie at the theater, you're actually looking at still images shown at a sufficiently high frame rate (images per second) that the eye is tricked into seeing continuous motion. Like a movie, an animation consists of a series of still images displayed at a frame rate high enough to create the illusion of movement. Animators crate each of the still images separately. In computer animation, the computer provides tools for crating the animation as well as running it.

It's easy to crate a simple animation using the GIF graphics file formats, which enables programs to store more than one image in a GIF file. Also stored in the files is a brief script that tells the application to play the images in a certain sequence and to display each for a set period of time. Because Web browsers can read GIF files and play the animations, GIF animations are common on the Web.

3-D Rendering Program - a program that adds three-dimensional effects to computer graphic objects.

Video Editors - enable you to modify digitized videos, such as videos imported from a video camera by means of a video capture board. With a video editor, you can cut segments, resequence the video, add transitions, compress the file, and determine the video's frame rate (the number of still images displayed per second).

Some of the Video File Formats:

Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) - a family video file formats and lossy compression standards for full-motion video. The most recent version, MPEG-2, offers resolutions high enough to fill a monitor's screen at speeds of up to 60 frames per second (fps). MPEG-2 is the video format used by DVD-ROM discs.

QuickTime - A video file format developed by Apple Computer.

Video for Windows - the native video file format for Microsoft Windows (often called AVI because these files use the .avi file name extension. This format isn't adequate for full-screen, broadcast quality video.

Tags

Bmp File Format, Compact Disc, Graphics, Graphics Interchange Format, Jpeg, Raster Graphics, World Wide Web

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author avatar denz
A student of CNU <a href="http://expertscolumn.com/users/denz"> ExpertsColumn </a>

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Comments

author avatar D in The Darling
10th Apr 2012 (#)

Loaded with a lot of great stuff. Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar vpaulose
10th Apr 2012 (#)

Nice. Thank you. Hope to avail your friendship.

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