Introduction to Multimedia
Lab Class Week 1
This week’s lab class will introduce you to the lab environment which we will be using this year, including the basic computer operations which you will need to be familiar with to complete this course. It will also provide advice on organising your work effectively and to make maximum use of the time you spend working on this course.
If you are already familiar with the SITE lab environment then this exercise should not take very long. In future weeks, lab classes will build on the material covered in the accompanying lectures, and in turn will be more involved than this introductory lab.
1 Getting Started
Log in to one of the lab computers. If you don’t know your account name and password, or if it doesn’t work, please notify your tutor.
2 Files and Folders
Multimedia development involves the creation and manipulation of a very large number of digital media files – a single project may contain thousands of different media assets. In addition for each asset there are likely to be multiple versions of the file, representing different stages of the development of that asset.
Without careful management of these files, you can easily waste time searching for the correct version of a file, inadvertently submit the wrong version, or in the worst case be completely unable to locate a file which you spent several hours developing.
Therefore it is vital for this course that you develop a disciplined, structured approach to managing your files!
2.1 Folder structures
One of the best ways to organise your work is to use a hierarchical (or nested) structure of folders. Start by choosing one of the file server accounts assigned to you (available through Start – My Computer) – use this same server for all of the files that you create for this course.
Right click within the file-server window, and select New – Folder from the pop-up menu. Edit this folder’s name to Introduction to Multimedia. Double-click on the folder to open it. Create two new folders within your course folder, and label them Lab Classes, and Assignments. Within the Assignments folder create folders for Assignments 1 and 2. Within the Lab Classes folder create a folder called Week 1. In each week’s lab class, we will create a new folder to hold all the files used and created in that class.
2.2 File versioning
As you edit multimedia files, it can be a very good idea to save multiple versions of the file. This allows you to easily go back to an earlier version if required (for example, if a complicated editing operation goes wrong and can’t easily be undone, or if you change your mind about the design of the asset being developed).
If you don’t follow a systematic pattern in naming these files it can be very difficult to locate the version which you are after. The easiest approach to construct the filename in 2 parts: • a name which clearly describes the content of the file • a version number, which indicates where in the sequence of versions of this file we are, starting at 1
For example, you might create your initial version of a digital photograph in PaintShop and save it as photo_of_me_1.psp
Later you re-open the file, and alter its size, then re-save it as photo_of_me_2.psp.
At a later stage, you decide to apply a filter to the image, so you do this and then re-save as photo_of_me_3.psp.
and so on....
An aside: Within the computing industry it is common practice to use version numbers made up of several parts – major revisions to a file/software are indicated by increasing the first part of the number, whilst minor changes are indicated by incrementing the second or third parts (e.g. Word 6.0, Word 6.1, Word 7.0). For this course, single part version numbers should be sufficient.
If you are using version numbers, that still leaves you with a problem – how do you know which version number