Motion Graphics And Multimedia Production

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This web design lesson presents motion graphics and provides simple web design lessons on creating text animation using Macromedia Flash. I will provide background information on digital audio editing and optimizing using Adobe Audition. We will cover how to make loops using Adobe Audition and export them for use in Flash.

Also included in this web design lesson, the reader gets specific instructions on how to make an interactive sound on/off switch in Flash. What I have mentioned earlier may scare you if you are not experienced using multimedia and motion graphics. You have a choice to include or not include sound and motion in the Web portfolio. The Web portfolio can simply be static pages with text and graphics or just text documents. Depending on your discipline you may think this is best for you. However, if you embrace multimedia, you may be able to find a whole new way to present your content in an engaging manner. One example would be to add music to a poem or photographic presentation.

Using multimedia and motion on small scales at first will help you build confidence to continue to explore new applications and build your digital skill set. I recommend that you use this web design lesson as a resource for developing flash objects for your portfolio. This web design lesson is bare-bones in relationship to the plethora of materials available on using Macromedia flash. The goal here was to narrow down some nice multimedia techniques that can be explored by people of all levels and in all disciplines.

Do not expect to tackle this web design lesson in an hour. Do expect to use these techniques piecemeal as you need or want them to be part of your Web portfolio presentation. Taking small steps and experimenting with some of the technical tutorials in this web design lesson you may find that you want to begin to explore multimedia and motion further. Again, this is part of the lifelong learning process fostered by making a commitment to develop a Web portfolio.

Overview of Web Multimedia Applications and Design Processes

Multimedia delivers content through multiple media. For something to be multimedia, it would contain any combination of text, static graphics, audio, video, and animation.

We see multimedia in many communication channels, the most prominent being the internet, film, and television. Taking advantage of the multimedia capabilities of the internet is important in developing an engaging and effective Web portfolio. Embarking on multimedia design projects r equires the designer and developer to call on several different applications to create the final multimedia product. We can get caught up the frenzy of new applications and toolkits, eventually completely confused, or worse, using the wrong tools and never getting the project finished.

You will need plenty of time exploring multimedia applications in order to build a strong, varied skill set. To give you some insight into multimedia application choices, I have provided a matrix with a view of multimedia applications and what they can help you create. There are many more software packages to list with regards to multimedia applications. But, I wanted to list the ones most useful to Web portfolio development and the most accessible in cost and learning curves.

The Multimedia Process

We have addressed the multimedia design process in this web design tutorial. The Web portfolio contains text, graphics, animation, and sound. That qualifies the Web portfolio as a multimedia project. The multimedia development process is basically the same process. The only exceptions are that we are not editing and preparing video. Otherwise, we created a concept, a content list, a content outline, storyboards, collected the assets, and designed screens in Fireworks.

We then started development of the Web site using a Web authoring tool, Dreamweaver. Next, we will be adding animation and audio. To do this, we will use Adobe Audition and Flash. So, to create the Web portfolio, we need to use at least four to five applications. That is why teams typically handle multimedia projects. Each team may have an audio person, and animation person, a video editor, a programmer, a graphic artist, a digital imaging specialist, and a project manager who acts like a producer.

Unfortunately, we do not have a team to work on our Web portfolio, but we will be empowering ourselves and building our skills while working towards completing an important career project. Motion Graphics Defined Motion graphics guru Hillman Curtis (Curtis, 2000, p. 01:04) describes motion as a universal language and he states his own communication theory in parallel with that of Marshall McLuhan.

Curtis describes the notion that the motion is the message. He describes how moving a text object, slowing, and fading in and out of black will imbue that text element with a sense of drama, focus, and perhaps, stability. Or moving an object by spinning it around the screen might imply playfulness, or in most cases, annoyance (Curtis, 2000). Curtis has done a strong job of deciphering the art of motion graphics and with it he implicitly focuses his design strategies on using motion for communication.

His strategies are important to understand and exercise as you develop motion graphics for your Web portfolio pages. Motion is a universal language. It’s understood by everyone in varying degrees. Look at it this way: If something whizzes across the screen, it communicates “fast” or “urgent.” And the slow move can communicate “calm.” It’s really about rhythm, and we all understand that language. (Hillman Curtis, 2000, p. 4) What you must take away from Curtis and his theories are that motion should communicate.

Rhythm is a crucial component in successfully communicating with motion graphics. Moving objects should have intelligent function other than to simply experiment or show off. Keep a practice page on your Web site to post things that you are trying out. Get the opinion of others on the value of the communication. As with all design, the design of motion graphics needs to be consistent and persuasive. Motion graphics spans across many four dimensional mediums.

You will see motion graphics in television, film, video games, marketing & training CD ROMs, and of course Web sites. The use of motion graphics varies from simple text animation to full scale animations with music tracks and character voice- overs. There are many computer applications designed to author and output motion graphics. Macromedia Flash is the premier tool for creating motion graphics on the Web. It is not a simple application to master, but if you focus on a few small foundations, you can build up a very functional skill set that will help you add impressive motion graphics to your Web portfolio.

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