This contrasts with media that use only rudimentary computer displays such as text-only or traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material.
Multimedia is usually recorded and played, displayed, or accessed by information content processing devices, such as computerized and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia devices are electronic media devices used to store and experience multimedia content.
Multimedia is distinguished from mixed media in fine art; by including audio, for example, it has a broader scope. The term "rich media" is synonymous for interactive multimedia. Hypermedia can be considered one particular multimedia application.
Multimedia may be broadly divided into Linear and Non-linear Categories
Linear Active content progresses often without any navigational control for the viewer such as a cinema presentation.
Non Linear uses interactivity to control progress as with a video game or self-paced computer based training. Hypermedia is an example of non-linear content.
Multimedia presentations can be live or recorded. A recorded presentation may allow interactivity via a navigation system. A live multimedia presentation may allow interactivity via an interaction with the presenter or performer.
Multimedia Presentations may be viewed by person on stage, projected, transmitted, or played locally with a media player. A broadcast may be a live or recorded multimedia presentation. Broadcasts and recordings can be either analog or digital electronic media technology.
Digital Online Multimedia may be downloaded or streamed. Streaming multimedia may be live or on-demand.
Multimedia Games and simulations may be used in a physical environment with special effects, with multiple users in an online network, or locally with an offline computer, game system, or simulator.
The various formats of technological or digital multimedia may be intended to enhance the users' experience, for example to make it easier and faster to convey information. Or in entertainment or art, to transcend everyday experience.
A laser show is a live multimedia performance.
Enhanced levels of interactivity are made possible by combining multiple forms of media content. Online multimedia is increasingly becoming object-oriented and data-driven, enabling applications with collaborative end-user innovation and personalization on multiple forms of content over time. Examples of these range from multiple forms of content on Web sites like photo galleries with both images (pictures) and title (text) user-updated, to simulations whose co-efficients, events, illustrations, animations or videos are modifiable, allowing the multimedia "experience" to be altered without reprogramming. In addition to seeing and hearing, Haptic technology enables virtual objects to be felt. Emerging technology involving illusions of taste and smell may also enhance the multimedia experience.
Multimedia finds its application in various areas including, but not limited to, advertisements, art, education, entertainment, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, scientific research and spatial temporal applications. Several examples are as follows:
Creative industries use multimedia for a variety of purposes ranging from fine arts, to entertainment, to commercial art, to journalism, to media and software services provided for any of the industries listed below. An individual multimedia designer may cover the spectrum throughout their career. Request for their skills range from technical, to analytical, to creative.
Much of the electronic old and new media used by commercial artists is multimedia. Exciting presentations are used to grab and keep attention in advertising. Business to business, and interoffice communications are often developed by creative services firms for advanced multimedia presentations beyond simple slide shows to sell ideas or liven-up training. Commercial multimedia developers may be hired to design for governmental services and nonprofit services applications as well.
In addition, multimedia is heavily used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animations(VFX, 3D animation, etc.). Multimedia games are a popular pastime and are software programs available either as CD-ROMs or online. Some video games also use multimedia features. Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of just sitting by as passive recipients of information are called Interactive Multimedia.
In the Arts there are multimedia artists, whose minds are able to blend techniques using different media that in some way incorporates interaction with the viewer. One of the most relevant could be Peter Greenaway who is melding Cinema with Opera and all sorts of digital media. Another approach entails the creation of multimedia that can be displayed in a traditional fine arts arena, such as an art gallery.
Although multimedia display material may be volatile, the survivability of the content is as strong as any traditional media. Digital recording material may be just as durable and infinitely reproducible with perfect copies every time.
In Education, multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations, text about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is the combination of education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.
Learning theory in the past decade has expanded dramatically because of the introduction of multimedia. Several lines of research have evolved (e.g. Cognitive load, Multimedia learning, and the list goes on). The possibilities for learning and instruction are nearly endless.
The idea of media convergence is also becoming a major factor in education, particularly higher education. Defined as separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video that now share resources and interact with each other, synergistically creating new efficiencies, media convergence is rapidly changing the curriculum in universities all over the world. Likewise, it is changing the availability, or lack thereof, of jobs requiring this savvy technological skill.
The English education in middle school in China is well invested and assisted with various equipments. In contrast, the original objective has not been achieved at the desired effect. The government, schools, families, and students spend a lot of time working on improving scores, but hardly gain practical skills. English education today has gone into the vicious circle. Educators need to consider how to perfect the education system to improve students’ practical ability of English. Therefore an efficient way should be used to make the class vivid. Multimedia teaching will bring students into a class where they can interact with the teacher and the subject. Multimedia teaching is more intuitive than old ways; teachers can simulate situations in real life. In many circumstances teachers don’t have to be there, students will learn by themselves in the class. More importantly, teachers will have more approaches to stimulating students’ passion of learning
Newspaper companies all over are also trying to embrace the new phenomenon by implementing its practices in their work. While some have been slow to come around, other major newspapers like The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post are setting the precedent for the positioning of the newspaper industry in a globalized world.
News reporting is not limited to traditional media outlets. Freelance journalists can make use of different new media to produce multimedia pieces for their news stories. It engages global audiences and tells stories with technology, which develops new communication techniques for both media producers and consumers. Common Language Project is an example of this type of multimedia journalism production.
Multimedia reporters who are mobile (usually driving around a community with cameras, audio and video recorders, and wifi-equipped laptop computers) are often referred to as Mojos, from mobile journalist.
Software engineers may use multimedia in Computer Simulations for anything from entertainment to training such as military or industrial training. Multimedia for software interfaces are often done as a collaboration between creative professionals and software engineers.
In the Industrial sector, multimedia is used as a way to help present information to shareholders, superiors and coworkers. Multimedia is also helpful for providing employee training, advertising and selling products all over the world via virtually unlimited web-based technology
In mathematical and scientific research, multimedia is mainly used for modeling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance. Representative research can be found in journals such as the Journal of Multimedia.
In Medicine, doctors can get trained by looking at a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria and then develop techniques to prevent it.
Document imaging is a technique that takes hard copy of an image/document and converts it into a digital format (for example, scanners).
Ability Media allows those with disabilities to gain qualifications in the multimedia field so they can pursue careers that give them access to a wide array of powerful communication forms.
In Europe, the reference organisation for Multimedia industry is the European Multimedia Associations Convention (EMMAC).