Introduction :

Multimedia means that computer information can be represented through audio, video, and animation in addition to traditional media (i.e., text, graphics drawings, images).

Multimedia is the field concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings and moving images (Video), audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored digitally.

Multimedia is now common place. Nearly all PCs are capable of displaying video, though the resolution available depends on the power of the computer's video adapter and CPU.

Types of Multimedia:

There are mainly two types of Multimedia. These are:

  1. Linear 
  2. Non- Linear  
Linear active content progresses often without any navigational control for the viewer such as a cinema presentation.

Non- Linear:
Non-Linear uses interactivity to control progress as with a video game or self-paced computer based training.

Hypermedia is an example of non-linear content.

Characteristics of Multimedia:

  • Multimedia presentations may be viewed by person on stage, projected, transmitted, or played locally with a media player. A broadcast may be a live or recorded multimedia presentation.

  • Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video content to the audience via any electronic mass communications medium. 

  • Broadcasts and recordings can be either analog or digital electronic Media Technology.

  • Multimedia games and simulations may be used in a physical environment with special effects, with multiple users in an online network, or locally with an offline computer, game system, or simulator.

Elements of Multimedia:

The basic elements of multimedia on a computer are:Text, Images, Audio, Video, Animation

Text is the basic element of multimedia. It involves the use of text types, sizes, colours and background colour.

In a multimedia application, other media or screen can be linked through the use of text. This is what you call Hypertext.

To produce an effective multimedia program there are three things that need to be considered. They are:

The position of the text on the screen.

Length of the message

And legibility of the text.

Graphics make the multimedia application attractive. They help to illustrate ideas through still pictures.

There are two types of graphics used: Bitmaps (paint graphics) and Vector (draw graphics).

A multimedia application may require the use of speech, music and sound effects.

These are called audio or the sound element.

There are two basic types of audio or sound: Analog and digital audio.

Video provides a powerful impact in a multimedia program.

In multimedia applications, the digital video is gaining popularity because of the following reasons:

Video clips can be edited easily.

The digital video files can be stored like any other files in the computer and the quality of the video can still be maintained.

The video files can be transferred within a computer network.

However, these digital video files are large in size. Transferring these files can take a long time especially when using the Internet.

Animation :
Animation is a process of making a static image look like it is moving.

In multimedia, digital animation is used. Digital animation can be categorised into two broad area: 2D (2 Dimension) and 3D (3 Dimension) animations.

Major Uses of Multimedia:

  • Education and Training
  • Entertainment
  • Information provision
  • Simulations and Virtual Reality
Education and Training:

  • In an educational multimedia system, the participants are the students and the teachers.
  • The use of multimedia in this context is to inform and educate.
  • Two major requirements of educational multimedia packages are good navigational options.
  • The keyboard and the mouse are usually used for navigation.
  • Almost all the data types (text, hypertext, numbers, audio, images, animations and video) are used for giving information.
  • Text is the most common data type.


  • The most common form of Entertainment Multimedia is the interactive computer game.
  • The games are typically stored on CD-ROM or DVD. 
  • The average gamer (player) is only keen in audio, hypermedia, video and animated data types.
  • User interaction with the system will most likely be through a mouse, trackball, or joystick.

Information provision:

  • This type of multimedia are usually aimed at quickly providing very basic information.
  • The participants for this system are similar to entertainment systems.
  • Their information technology skills are frequently low as well as in entertainment.
  • The users in this system only has an objective of locating and displaying information for a specified topic.
Examples would include information kiosks in tourist centres, interactive directories in retail stores and shopping centres, and catalogue systems in libraries.

  • The navigation options will often be simple with little depth.
  • With an information kiosk, the interactive devices will usually be touch-sensitive screens or a trackball built into the system case.
  • The publicity in the context of this system means that the use of keyboard or mouse is unlikely, due to no supervision. 
  • Because they are likely to be in the noisy environment of a shopping centre or near a busy street, audio may not be part of the presentation.

Simulations and Virtual Reality:

  • Simulation and VR systems are designed to duplicate real situations.
  • These systems are used among the most sophisticated and expensive of computer-based systems. 
  • The purpose of a simulation is usually to create a situation with sufficient authenticity and realism that user can gain valuable training and experience from using the system.
  • The making of these systems are expensive because of the degree of realism they require. A flight simulator for a modern commercial passenger jet will cost millions of dollars.

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