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Like text, a good picture conveys its message automatically and continually, without requiring the user to do anything to it. In Chapter 7, we'll look at some additional reasons why, and cases when, pictures are really the right choice for the message you want to convey.
But if you're not careful, the way you use pictures can make your Web site frustrating, difficult to use, and annoying--in short, an experience that people won't want to repeat. And the factors that determine the success or failure of your images start from the moment you begin laying out your image, continue through the process of capturing it, and finally come home to roost when you choose how you store it to transfer to your Web site.
This chapter explores the following important questions related to your interaction with graphics over the Web:
If you really want your Web site to get the attention of readers under 18-20 years old, you'd better prepare to include lots of three-dimensional imagery. That's the single most-requested topic by everyone that I've talked to or taught about the Web, between the ages of roughly 10 and 18 or so.
But what is involved in getting a 3D image to play over the Web? What are some of the techniques you can use to add the illusion of depth to your Web site? When is it worth the extra effort to make this happen? And how can you learn about it without spending a pile of money on software or programming?
In this chapter, I'll walk you through what's involved in adding your own 3D "virtual world" to your Web site--without spending a cent (apart from dialup time). We'll start with a site where you can download a free, save-disabled demo version of a 3D image editor--but one that lets you output code in the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the HTML of the third dimension. And I'll show you how to create, save, and apply your own texture maps to the images you create. (I'll also explain what a "texture map" is, in case you haven't worked that phrase out for yourself yet.)
I'll also give you a brief tour of some QuickTime VR sites. QuickTime VR is really not 3D, but rather a way of creating 360-degree panoramas, yet crucially, all non-Webmasters who see this think of it as being a kind of 3D. They certainly see it as a killer tool for 3D virtual environments, for example. So we'll look at the sites currently available for QTVR, as it's known, and discuss a few of the issues involved in this not-yet-mature technology.
Video is to multimedia what elephants are to the circus: without either one, all you've got is a tent full of clowns. But like the elephants, video takes up an enormous amount of space, requires meticulous care and feeding, and can turn on its trainer if not carefully watched.
Shooting good-looking video is an art form in itself. But within that art form, there are additional concerns regarding shooting video for digital playback, especially at the comparatively low frame rates required by the technical constraints of the Web. These concerns include lighting, the nature of the motion you choose to capture, the colors of objects in the foreground and background, the speed of pans and zooms used in the video clip, and several other concerns that greatly affect how good a piece of digital video looks when played back on the average computer. We''ll look at how you can tame these particular wild elephants later in this chapter.
In addition to the "normal" digitizing issues, making video for the Web introduces a powerful new concern about file size, download time, and its effect on playback and performance. Digital video meant for playback over the Web may also mean making multiple versions of the video source available, or at least pointing your users to public-domain video playback software, to compensate for the different kinds of players, platforms, and Web browsers that your users will be expected to have.
Furthermore, you can use video in your Web pages in two ways: as files to be downloaded explicitly to play later, or (for Netscape users) as embedded images that automatically load when someone clicks on your URL. In this chapter, we''ll help you decide which approach works best for you, and what factors you need to consider when adding video to HTML.
If digital video is to multimedia what the elephants are to the circus, then animation has to be the trapeze act: flashy, entertaining, and seemingly something that ordinary mortals could never attempt. Yet with digital tools, animation can be tremendously simple. And with the advent of the Shockwave technology rising out of Macromedia''s popular Director program, your animation can provide game-quality response, interactivity, and speed in a Web-based application.
In this chapter, we'll look at:
Furthermore, the Web site associated with this book includes several Java applets and Shockwave files that you can use in testing your own integration of animation and interactivity with your traditional Web documents and structure. It also includes step-by-step tutorials showing you how to use these resources--which you can download for your practice--in your own Web pages. And fortunately, because Director is fully cross--platform compatible between Windows and Macintosh, the Shockwave files here run equally well whether you display them on an Apple product or a PC. And as Netscape introduces the Shockwave plug-in for other platforms, this group of users will grow rapidly.
Most important, both Shockwave and Java really point to a new model of computer use, in which the programs as well as the information are distributed across the Web itself, rather than being loaded into each user's workstation. This distributed model of the Web--putting the complex stuff on your user's workstations, where it can run quickly and efficiently with the least transfer of information across the Internet--is a fundamentally new way of dealing with the Web that promises to provide faster response, more complex interaction, and less intrusion of the control structure into the user's immersive on-line experience (which is expanded on in Chapter 5).
|Ch. 1||Interacting with Graphics||1|
|Ch. 2||Three Dimensions||45|
|Ch. 3||Digital Video for the Web||71|
|Ch. 4||Interacting with Animation||127|
|Ch. 5||Interacting with Story||189|
|Ch. 6||Web Sound||233|
|Ch. 7||Interacting with Human Beings||257|
|Ch. 8||Test Cases||297|
|Appendix A||Today's Tools and Technologies||321|
|Appendix B||On-line Resources||331|