A path taken by a Multimedia Specialist

A path taken by a Multimedia Specialist

In 1999 I was faced with an important decision: “What to do with my life?” It is a question at which the most thoughtful of us eventually settle. Back then, combined with the fact that I came from a third-world country, the internet was considered almost a myth – like dry land in the film “Waterworld.” As a result, I didn’t really see computers as being anything more than just a tool to create digital art or to play games. It wasn’t until I saw the movie “The Matrix” that I began to look at computers a little more seriously. 

Inevitably, I arrived at another question: “At what should one specialise on a computer?” Using broad strokes, my then younger mind made a “business decision” when it came to digital output. This is because persons in my country are still more appreciative of what they can see versus things that require theoretical underpinnings (such as computer programming). As a result, I gravitated towards graphic design. 

Unless you are attempting to develop an item not requiring visual appreciation, it is indeed important to have at least a passing fancy for the presentation of your productions. With this in mind, I graduated to using Adobe products –namely Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The key difference between the two is that Photoshop is largely the manipulator of rasterised or bitmapped images (where an image is constructed via a matrix of pixels), while Illustrator uses vector graphics (ultimately the expression of underlying mathematics to construct lines or graphs which can be used to further create more complex images).  

While bitmapped images have their use(s), vector graphics became especially useful for 2000s website development –as vector graphics typically required much less internet bandwidth than their bitmapped counterpart. Particularly impressive was the eventual large-scale usage of a particular software by the final designation of “Adobe Flash”. With Flash, primarily a vector-targeted software, one was able to create highly detailed and complex digital animations as output for the internet.  

The earlier versions of Flash were geared at regular designers (like me), where animation and graphic design were the main focus. At some point, there was a paradigm shift – an object-oriented programming language (Actionscript 3.0) was coupled with the platform and thus new levels of capabilities were introduced. As a result, I eventually became a computer programmer, theorist, software engineer, and multimedia specialist – a title I have officially held since 2010 at the University of the West Indies. 

Despite the popularity of Adobe Flash ultimately dying, and Adobe no longer supporting the product in 2020, its decline was originally heralded from 2007 by then Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs’ open displeasure with the proprietary nature of the platform, its many security holes, and the power-hungriness of its many individual manifestations on mobile devices. 

Why bother mentioning Flash then in this year (2020)? Well, it should be considered strange that Flash (which allowed persons to create websites, video games, standalone digital advertisements and offline software or applications) was simply no longer viable. This is akin to parking a nuclear weapon in a junkyard because it “fell out of fashion”. Instead, Adobe retooled Flash’s integrated design environment and rebranded the tool as “Adobe Animate.” With Adobe Animate, all the special skills and tricks that Flash developers employed are still very much viable. All that is needed is the migration to the Javascript programming language for output to HTML5. While knowledge of Javascript itself is good, it is recommended that the Javascript libraries “EaselJS”, “TweenJS”, “SoundJS”, and “PreloadJS” are used in tandem with Adobe Animate to create highly sophisticated graphical user interactive experiences. 

Adobe Captivate is a useful tool in the arsenal of any online multimedia specialist. With it, one is able to output interactive multimedia resources and templates including interactive virtual tours, multipath scenarios, quizzes, crossword puzzles, diagrams, small standalone games, even mobile-ready courses by compositing digital artwork created from graphic-outputting software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Animate, Maxon Cinema4D, and many others!  

Additionally, the use of Adobe Animate allows for the publishing of .OAM files. These unique packages allow for cross-integration and further compositing with Adobe Captivate – which can both simplify or enhance Adobe Captivate’s digital output where regular Captivate productions may offer limitations. 

Combined with my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Computer Science, I have considered that my dual ability of computer graphic artistry and computer programming has somewhat made me a capable soldier in the trenches of online multimedia production for education.

In my many adventures as a web application developer, graphic designer, and programmer, I have learned that being adaptable or malleable and on the lookout for current trends is crucial for survivability. It does no good to behave superior or to operate in a bubble or silo with the knowledge you currently have because it is impermanent. 

Published By
Robert Tucker
I am a creative person with over 10 years of experience in building complex, interactive applications.... Show more
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