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Making it digital

Differences

At Vivid, we are often asked what are the differences between digital media and paper-based media production. There is no simple answer to this because actually the differences span most of the development processes involved. To try and get some insight into this it is useful to divide the differences into two main categories:

1. Processes and tasks that are involved in the production of digital media, but not in the production of print-based media (e.g. computer programming) – these are fundamental differences and are easily recognised.

2. Processes and tasks involved in both printed media and digital media but requiring specialist skill sets relating to each media (e.g. graphic design) – these are fundamental differences but can be more complex to describe and can involve more subtleties.

At each stage of the development process, one or other or both of these apply. In broad terms the development processes for digital media production can be divided into the three main categories of:

1. Specification, which can be further broken down into:

i. The idea – everything starts from the idea for the resource which itself may have been gleaned from a need or desire. It may fit into a pre-formed development plan or it may fall out of market research involving focus groups and other methods.

ii. The initial specification – outlining all or some of the aims and objectives, media mix, content, technical issues, platforms (incl. whiteboards, VLS/MLS requirements), development environment, schedule parameters, budget, accessibility issues, testing requirements.

iii. The detailed specification - fleshes out the initial specification with more detail of graphics, animations, video and audio, interactive activities, functionality, schedule and budgets, development and delivery environments.

2. Design and production which includes:

i. Design

1. Educational/pedagogic design

2. Content design

3. Interactive design

4. Graphics design

5. Navigation design

6. Video and audio design

7. Programming design

ii. Programming – could include a range of languages depending on the development and delivery environment of the programme e.g C++, VB, Javascript, HTML, XHTML, XML, ActionScript, PHP, SQL etc.

iii. Production – the making of all the elements including all graphics, animations, video and audio, integration of all elements

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