Graphic Images, Sounds & Animation
Computer graphics are anything that can be displayed on the screen except the text and sometimes even text falls into the graphics category if it is save in a graphics format.
There are basically two types of computer graphic, bitmapped and vector/structured.
Bitmapped graphics are images that are mapped to the monitor or screen. The screen is made up of tiny dots called pixels. These dots can display various colors depending on the type of computer hardware and software you have. Using shades of red, green and blue (RGB) an image can be displayed on the screen by mapping different colors to the screen in different sequences.
Each type of graphic has it's own advantages and disadvantages. HTML only recognizes bitmapped graphics so anything created for the Internet, using standard HTML, must be created or converted to a bitmap format.
Within each of the two main types there are dozens of different formats.
Graphics formats are distinguished by their filename extensions.
Some of the structured formats are .ai, .cmx, .eps, .wpg, .cgm and a host of others.
Bitmapped graphics can be created and modified in a paint program and vector or structured graphics can be created and modified in a draw program.
The main tools in a graphics program allow you to select a section of a picture, erase part of a picture, fill a defined area, select a colour, magnify a section, draw free hand, draw with various tools such as a straight line; a curved line; a rectangle; an oval; and a polygon. You can also modify a drawing by changing the size, colour, placement, and, depending on the program, hundreds of other modification.
Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) or .mpg is multimedia format that is an attempt to create a standardization among the various formats available. MPEG has made it possible to place audio content on your website without having it sound tiny and hollow or taking an extreme amount of time to download. There are many different formats for sound including; Microsoft's .wav, Sun's .au & .snd, RealNetwork's RealAudio , .ra(*), and various others.
You may have heard .mid files play when visiting various websites. Musical Instruments Digital Interface (MIDI) files are basically sound tracks which use a collection of sounds contained in the .mid file to play a tune.
To create a sound file you will need an audio program. You can then record with a microphone or off of a prerecorded medium. Your computer will need to have a sound card properly installed and a speaker to hear your recording. You can save the sound file to play back later.
With the advent of faster computers comes animation. Though it has been around for years the modern computer has made it possible to include animation in programs without causing them to slow down (much). As with every multimedia format there are a number of types.
You have probably seen .gif animation on website (the link to the Lakefield Virtual Village below is an example). A GIF animation is a series of separate images or frames that display one after the other to give the impression of movement. Other formats are Audio Visual Interleave's .avi, the aforementioned Mpg, Apple's Quick Time .qt, .aif(*) & .mov, RealNetwork's RealVideo .rm(*), Macromedia's Flash & Shockwave .swf, Vivo's .viv(*) as well as various others.
There are various animation or multimedia players available and many offer a free trial period if you download them off the Internet (try typing the www.companyname.com). To create and record animation you will need a graphics program that has animation capability. Visit the various graphic company websites to read up on their product to see if they can do what you want.
You should also be aware that most content placed on the Internet is considered published material and therefore copyright unless explicitly stated otherwise.