An Authoring System refers to a program which has pre-programmed elements for the development of interactive multimedia software titles. It generally takes about 1/8th of the time to develop an interactive multimedia project, in an authoring system as opposed to programming it in compiled codes.
Authoring systems vary widely in orientation, capabilities, and learning curve. There is no such thing as a completely point-and-click automated authoring system; some knowledge of heuristic thinking and algorithm design is necessary. Whether you realize it or not, authoring is actually just a speeded-up form of programming; you don’t need to know the intricacies of a programming language, or worse, an API, but you do need to understand how programs work.
Authoring can be described as creating highly interactive applications in which the information can flow in both directions i.e., from application to user and from user to application. Multimedia authoring tools has helped in creating higher-quality audio and video applications with very little expertise.
Multimedia authoring tools can be evaluated by performing certain tests, which include the creation of non-interactive multimedia, computer-based training (CBT) applications, catalog creation and even authoring for the World Wide Web. The advantage of using object-oriented programming has been inculcated in the authoring products for example Everest Authoring System offers object instancing, while Media Verse and Oracle Media Objects allows one to add new methods and events to existing objects.
In order to create effective multimedia, one need tools that can handle a wide range of authoring tasks, including interactive title development, CBT, interactive catalogs /kiosks and web authoring. Authoring software provides an integrated environment for binding together the content and functions of your project. Authoring systems typically include the ability to create, edit, and import specific types of data; assemble raw data into a playback sequence or cue sheet; and provide a structured method or language for responding to user input. With multi-media authoring software, you can make.
- Video productions Animations
- Demo disks and interactive guided tours Presentations
- Interactive kiosk applications Interactive training
- Simulations, prototypes, and technical visualizations.
Multimedia authoring tools provide the important framework you need for organizing and editing the elements of your multimedia project, including graphics, sounds, animations, and video clips. Authoring tools are used for designing inter activity and user interface, for presenting your project on screen, and for assembling multimedia elements into a single, cohesive project.
Here are some authoring tools:
3.1.1 ICON –BASED AUTHORING TOOL
Icon Author is an authoring tool which requires the use of an icon-based flowchart for building an application. It maintains a strict separation between an application’s structure and the actual content and still ships with a number of ancillary programs that helps to edit and manage content.
Icon-based Authoring tools are event-driven tools that provide a visual programming approach to organizing and presenting multimedia. First you build a structure or flow-chart of events, tasks, and decisions, by dragging appropriate icons from a library. These icons can include menu choices, graphics images, sounds, and computations. The flowchart graphically depicts the project’s logic. When the structure is built, you can add your content: text, graphics, animation, sounds, and video movies. Then, to refine your project, you edit your logical structure by rearranging and fine-tuning the icons and their properties. This component is called Smart Object Editor.
The role of Smart Object editor has become central to the creation of Icon Author applications. Smart Object Editor assembles individual object such as imported pictures, sound files, video clips, animations, database links, text push buttons, tables and list boxes into coherent pages layouts. The appearance and behaviour of these objects can be controlled by changing the properties associated with each one.
3.1.2 CARD-AND PAGE-BASED AUTHORING TOOLS
Card-and page-based authoring tools` provide a simple and easily understood metaphor for organizing multimedia elements. Because graphic images typically form the backbone of a project, both as navigation menus and as content, many developers first arrange their images
into logical sequences or grouping similar to the chapters and pages of a book, or cards in a card catalog. Navigation routines become, then, simply directives to go to a page or card that contains appropriate images and text, and associated sounds, animations, and video clips.
Page-based authoring systems contain media objects: the objects are the buttons, text fields, graphic objects, backgrounds, pages or cards, and even the project itself. The characteristics of objects are defined by properties (highlighted, bold, red, hidden, active, locked, and so forth). Each object may contain programming script, usually a property of that object, that is activated when an event (such as a mouse click) related to that object occurs. Events cause messages to pass along the hierarchy of objects in your project; for example, a mouse-click message can be sent from a button to the background, to the page, and then to the project itself. As the message travels, it looks for handlers in the script of each object; if it finds a matching handler, the authoring system then executes the task specified by that handler.
Most page-based authoring systems provide a facility for linking objects to pages or cards (by automatically programming branching go-to statements for navigating by mouse clicks), but learning to write your own scripts and understanding the message-passing nature of these authoring tools is essential to making them perform well.
3.1.3 AUTHORWARE (Macintosh/Windows)
With Authorware from Macromedia, nontechnical multimedia authors can build sophisticated applications without scripting. Authorware is useful as a design tool for story boarding; because it lets you change sequences, add options, and restructure interactions by simply dragging and dropping icons. You can print out your navigation map or flowchart, an annotated project index with or without associated icons, design and presentation windows, and a cross-reference table of variables. Developers who use both Macintoshes and PCs can work with almost identical interfaces, authoring functions, media-editing capabilities, and data management on both platforms.
Authorware offers more than 200 system variables and functions for capturing, manipulating, and displaying data, and for controlling the operation of your project. Variables include interaction, decision, time, video, graphics, general, file, and user; functions include math, string time jump, video, graphics, general, file, and user. You can post variables and functions into calculation windows, option slots, or presentation windows, and you can control the format of variables embedded in selected display text.
3.1.4 TIME-BASED AUTHORING TOOLS
Time-based systems are popular multimedia authoring tools. Each uses its own distinctive approach and user interface for managing events over time. Many use a visual timeline for sequencing the events of a multimedia presentation, often displaying layers of various media elements or events alongside the scale in increments as precise as one second. Others arrange long sequences of graphic frames and add the time component by adjusting each frame’s duration of play.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE
Discuss the uses of Multimedia Authoring tools?
An Authoring System refers to a program which has pre-programmed elements for the development of interactive multimedia software titles. Multimedia authoring tools provide the important framework you need for organizing and editing the elements of your multimedia project, including graphics, sounds, animations, and video clips. Authoring tools are used for designing inter activity and user interface, for presenting your project on screen, and for assembling multimedia elements into a single, cohesive project.
This unit provided an overview of the authoring system; we also considered the types of authoring tools and their unique features. Hope you have found this unit enlightening.T
6.0 TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1). Describe the concept of Authoring System?
2).Identify 4 main types of an Authoring tool?
3).Explain the differences between these tools?