Digital cameras, desktop video and sound Web pages Image scanning and printing Class handouts and instructions Slides and presentations Multimedia and authoring

Table of Links

Multimedia What is it, anyway?


The Digital Chisel

discontinued by Apple, see SuperCard for upgrade





Adobe Acrobat

Web animations and interactiviy:


is part of Photoshop


Almost everything is Multimedia these days; Anything that incorporates more than one type of technology to convey information is multimedia.

When we speak of multimedia, it can mean many things to different people. It can mean anything from creating a slide presentation on your desktop computer to creating an interactive game for a CD-ROM. Multimedia can be all of those things. The type of software you choose to create your presentation will determine how interactive it can be.

Interactive is the key word. How much interaction between the user and your presentation do you want to have? We are going to look at the different levels of programs and their interactive abilities to help you choose the right software for your multimedia needs.

First Level - Desktop Presentations and Slides
Keynote, PowerPoint, Astound, Adobe Acrobat Pro and some of the other desktop presentation software packages allow for some minimal interaction on the part of the presenter or user.

These programs allow you to add video, sound, transitions, and jump-to commands to your presentations. Many of these programs will also jump out of the program and into another, then back again, with very little effort.
And, these programs often have an option for converting the presentation to a Web page. Some of your transitions and effects may not translate over the Web well. Be sure to become familiar with your program's out put options before creating your presentation.

For more information on creating presentations, see the Presentations pages and the How to Use the LFR pages for making slides.

Second Level - Entry to Mid Level With Some Authoring
Programs like HyperStudio and The Digital Chisel offer more power than the desktop slide presentation packages above. They offer sophisticated effects, transitions, hotspots, and the ability to control AV devices attached to your computer. Most of the entry-level packages are fairly easy to learn. Some of the packages support scrolling text fields, hypertext, and the incorporation of testing what a student has learned.
The drawbacks to some entry and mid-level products are that some can not produce a stand-alone document, and may not be cross- platform compatible.

iShell, iShell is a tool, based the old Apple Media Tool. It's biggest feature is its QuickTime support. IShell is freeware, licensing is available for commercial applications.

I would also include Hypercard in the mid-level range. HyperCard 2.4.1 is an card authoring package. It runs on both 68K and Power Macintosh machines. Its largest drawback, in addition to be discontinued, is the lack of integrated color; color is availible via the ColorTools XCMD set (included) or via third-party XCMDs. There are still hardcore Hypercard users and stacks out there, it seems to be the product that never really dies. At the time of this writing, SuperCard is offering Hypercard users upgrades to their product.

Third Level-Advanced Authoring
SuperCard, Authorware, Director, are all high-end authoring packages. These programs are best suited for interactive CD-ROMS, games, kiosks, or a very flashy presentation of corporate materials. They also include testing features.
Authorware (originally designed for educators) allow you to create projects without scripting. Scripting is available if you want to use it.
Director and SuperCard rely heavily on scripting.

All these programs give detailed control over the objects in the project, create and support animations in various ways, and create stand-alone, cross-platform applications.

New Web Interactive Options
Adobe LiveMotion and Flash are interactive web products. They will allow you to import image, sound and movie files in to a document and then creates the html coded page. Adobe has recently discontinue LiveMotion. I keep it listed because there are lots of copies still out there availible and being used.

One last product for web animations is Adobe ImageReady which comes with Photoshop will also make animated images that can be saved in the .swf format. These animations can be very complex.

The Graphics Technology Cookbook text links
Digital cameras
desktop video
and sound
Web pages Class handouts and
PDF instructions
and printing
Slides and
and Authoring
User Web Site