交通大學遠距教學課程

多媒體視覺傳達
Multimedia Visual Communication

─ 李 賢 輝 ─


﹝八十六年四月﹞

﹝第 8 週講義﹞多媒體製作流程



一:參與製作的人員

Much like the film industry, multimedia production involves numerous people, each of whom brings a unique skill into the mix yet understands enough about every other team member's task so that there is a sense of mutual respect and communication. This is a tall order because multimedia is quite a production, and knowing a little about all aspects, plus becoming an expert in one area, takes time and experience.

Today's multimedia project does not always have the focus or budget to include all of the following people, but it will include a subset that is particular to the project's needs. Depending on the focus of the project, any of the following professionals may end up playing the most important role.


Graphic Designers

Many times the graphic designer is also the art direclor and production artist rolled into one. Larger projects, however, generally require some sort of design team. In that situation, the creative director or art director spends a lot of time with the producer and reports back to the design team. In any case, it is important to include designers in the initial conceptual discussions of a multimedia project because they are the ones who know how to organize and communicate visual information.


Programmers

The programmer and the designer must get along very well because these two form the most basic team unit and are always working hand in hand to realize one vision It is imperative to find a programmer with multimedia experience. An engineer with a software application background speaks very different user interface and structural languages


Producers

Multimedia producers generally handle the day-to-day management of people and finances. They handle all the business aspects of a project, including client relations, and work with the project manager to ensure that all elements of a project come togelher on time and within budget.


Project Managers

Project managers are responsible for overseeing the project's timeline and resources. This job can be a three-ring circus because nothing ever goes as planned, and the project manager must shift resources and priorities around to keep the project under control. Because project managers supervise the daily process and allocate resources, they provide helpful insights when it comes to putting multimedia proposals together.


Writers

Creative and technical writers may be needed to develop everything from characters and stories to polished, effective text. Writing for multimedia presents its own set of problems. For example, what does it mean to create stories in which the writer does not have express control over the flow or outcome? Also, because of the limited screen space, writers for multimedia need a concise writing style.


User Interface Designers

Tradition in the computer software industry has carved out user interface design as a separate profession. However, I think the basic principles of communication design and industrial design are close cousins to the art of user interface design. Therefore, communication and industrial designers can easily transfer their skills into user interface design.


Sound Designers

Well-executed voice-overs, original compositions, and vibrant sound effects designed expressly for a multimedia environment do wonders for a title. Creating sound for such a nonlinear environment as multimedia, however, not only requires an understanding of the interworkings of digital audio but also an intimate understanding of the architecture of multimedia. For instance, user interaction sometimes requires the use of sound loops or multiple sound channels to attain virtually "continuous" sound.


Videographers

Because video, like sound, is inherently linear, the same careful planning and creative thinking goes into every "megabyte" of multimedia video. Some artists, like Greg Roach, have invented ways to create interactive video stories, while others have successfully integrated traditional techniques, such as cutaways.


3-D and 2-D Animators

Multimedia usually involves animation of some sort. It may be as simple as the creation of "highlight" states (graphics that acknowledge a user's action) or as complex as developing entire worlds andcharacters and bringing them to life.



二:製作進度管制表

Throughout the creation of a multimedia title, a timeline is an invaluable reference tool. Updated schedules should be continually circulated to team members so that everyone has an overhead view of where they are in the process. There are two kinds of timelines presented on these pages, a media production schedule (used by project managers to coordinate the various development efforts) and a timeline showing, in broad strokes, the overall multimedia design and development process.


Media Production Timeline

What does the media production schedule of multimedia look like? If you were to draw a diagram of a multimedia title's workflow, it would look quite staggered. Some media are produced simultaneously while other production overlaps. In all cases, some media will be dependent on the completion of other media. This creates a domino effect and is generally the single largest reason for a slipping schedule.

Figure 1: A sample of media production schedule used in the development of aquarterly CD-ROM. Time moves along from left to right, while projects are stacked down the left column. On the right, blocks of time are highlighted foreach project.

Project managers develop and keep track of the timeline (see example in Figure 1). They are respcvnsible for scheduling all the production efforts into a realistic time frame. Realistic means taking into account the inevitable delays and creating a timeline flexible enough to allow for changes along the way. For instance, it may be a good idea to work out worst-case and best-case scenarios and keep both on hand as your guides.


Creating Production Timelines

Before you can create a schedule you need to have a fairly detailed "paper design". From this document, you can derive a master"to do" list of all the media production necessary for the project.

By understanding the complexity involved in each production area, you can map out realistic blocks of time for every one of them. Then, point out which media are dependent on the completion of other media and start arranging these blocks of time accordingly.


Overall Production Timeline

The timeline in the following Table gives an overall picture of the entire multimedia process. I have broken it down into two areas: the design phase and the development phase. The design phase encompasses all the initial steps, from brainstorming and storyboarding to the creation and user testing of the prototype. The development stage is broken down into a few subphases: media production, alpha, beta, and finally, golden master. Each of these phases is explained later in this chapter, but they are presented here so that you can see where they fall on the timeline.

OVERALL PRODUCTION TIMELINE
Design Stage Dvelopment Stage
Brain- storming & Story- boarding Flowchart & Paper Design Prototyping & User Testing Media Production Program- ming & Media Production Program- ming & Debugging Program- ming & Final Debugging
Approx. 10% complete (begin paper design) Approx. 20% complete (begin prototype) Approx. 30% complete (begin develop- ment) Approx. 40% complete (begin program- ming) Approx. 65% complete (alpha stage) Approx. 80% complete (beta stage) Approx. 100% complete (golden master)

The above timeline tracks the development of a CD-ROM-based multimedia title. However, whether the delivery medium is a CD-ROM, a stand-alone kiosk, interactive television, or online, this timeline is a reflection of the basic multimedia design and development process. From leh to right, time marches forward. Note the deliberate avoidance of naming actual days, weeks, or months. Multimedia projects can take anywhere from four months to a year or more to produce.



三:腦力激盪

The first steps on the timeline are brainstorming and storyboarding. These initial parts of the design phase can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

The first question that should be raised when planning a multimedia project is who is the audience? Age, sex, and nationality have a big impact on all aspects of the design of a multimedia title, from user interface to graphic design and structure. The next issue to keep in mind is why multimedia? Is this yet another arbitrary use of multimedia? Or, is there some real value achieved by using multimedia for this project, a value that wouldn't be possible through other, more traditional media?

Keeping the above two issues in mind, it's time to break out the white board and start brainstorming. To me, brainstorming involves a tight group of about three to seven key people, including a designer, a programmer, and anyone else important to the particular project. More than seven people in these initial conceptual meetings can be cumbersome, because managing each other's thoughts and criticisms takes time away from the free flow of ideas. This is a time to present all ideas, good and bad alike, without judgment. Sometimes what are thought of at first as the worst ideas evolve into a unique contribution down the line.


Marketing and Distribution

If you are designing a commercial product, now is the time to begin your marketing and distribution plans. lt may seem early, but it can take months to resolve these issues. Most often, the difference between a hit title and a dud is not content, but actually getting shelf space in the stores!



四:分鏡腳本

  多媒體的製作和電影的製作很像,有演員、作家、導演、製作人、節目策劃
者、美術人員等,他們各有自己專業工作領域。但有時候他們必須集合在一起工
作,互相配合、協調。這個合作所使用的一個媒介就是分鏡腳本。

  美術人員必須草擬出電影的每一個場景,導演、服裝設計師、舞台﹝背景﹞
設計師和電影攝影技師,便使用這個分鏡腳本去設定攝影的角度、決定服裝造
型、場景內容、燈光和音﹝響﹞效,但是在多媒體製作和電影製作之間還是有所
差異的。電影是直線進行的,一個場景接著一個場景。而多媒體光碟書卻非直線
進行,使用者可能選擇任何途徑,然後繼續發展故事,因此還須要製作內容導覽
流程圖。

Initial storyboards for a title do not have to be anything fancy, or even accurate, for that matter. They simply serve the purpose of roughly illustrating a concept and inspiring people to think of the possibilities. It is nice to create what I call "one-pagers" for each title concept. They are one- to two-page write-ups consisting of three sketches per page. This way, It can generate a large repertoire of ideas in a relatively short amount of time.

Storyboards should showcase all the key screens, or "places", that comprise the proposed title. Each screen is accompanied by brief text describing the scene and the user interaction, as well as any dynamics, including sound.

Brainstorming and storyboarding are critical phases of a title's development. It is at this point that a title's creators have the first thoughts about how to structure content and how users will interact with it. Therefore, it is crucial to have a designer involved at this stage. All too often, designers are called on at production time for "cosmetics." However, multimedia designers are more like architects -- able to design sound structures as well as make them aesthetically pleasing.



五:內容導覽流程圖

Next in the design phase is the development of a flowchart. A flowchart complements the storyboards by giving a sense of organization and navigation to a multimedia design concept. While a storyboard paints the initial picture of a multimedia concept, a flowchart gives a sense of its structure and user interaction. The flowchart begins to "wire" together all the places mentioned in the storyboards. There are a number of strategies you can use to organize multimedia content. Of the possibilities, a hierarchical system is perhaps one of the simplest organizational strategies.   以下介紹福茂資訊所出版的多媒體光碟軟體「快樂的瓜瓜族」主選單的導覽 流程。打開光碟後,首先進入的畫面是一個主選單﹝畫面一﹞。

﹝畫面一﹞

  主選單的中央是一個「選項小島」,其中有四個選項:書本圖像﹝icon﹞的
是「主要的故事」,面具圖像的是「幕後製作大公開」,燈怪圖像的是「燈怪的
四季生活」,手卷圖像的是「尋找燈怪的遊戲」;每個選項都是一個獨立的操作
單元。在選項小島的下方有兩個向左及向右的弧狀箭頭,其作用就是用來轉動小
島,作為四個選項的切換。而整個螢幕上,凡是具有按鈕功能的位置,當游標移
動到其所在時,原本箭頭樣式的得游標都會變成手指狀,做為操作時的識別記
號。

  主要圖形下方是一排圖像化的按鈕,由右而左分別是:「回到主選單」、
「瓜瓜族海洋小常識」、「索引目錄」及「調整因量大小」。當滑鼠的手指狀游
標移動到功能鈕的位置上時,功能鈕會出現簡單的動畫,以吸引讀者的注意力。
這圖像畫功能按鈕在任何一個畫面皆會出現,隨時都可操作其功能。

  當按下「選項小島」上書本圖像的「主要故事」,就會進入令一個畫面。
﹝畫面二﹞這是一個瓜瓜島的海灘,向陸地的一側有著瓜瓜族人的部落及青瓜
樹,威魯和羅林正坐在沙灘上。

﹝畫面二﹞

  畫面上所有的物件,在滑鼠的指狀游標按下後,幾乎都能產生令人賞心悅目
的動畫效果,如房屋、青瓜樹、落地的青瓜、瓜瓜族的人等•••,是用來說明
青瓜樹的七種功能。

  在「主要的故事」這個單元堙A只要將滑鼠移到最右側的條狀花紋區域,即
可進入﹝畫面三﹞。

﹝畫面三﹞

  這個畫面是說明瓜瓜族人每天要抓五隻燈怪﹝而且只能抓五隻﹞。在操作
時,只要把滑鼠向燈怪方向移動,瓜瓜族人就會朝滑鼠的方向由去,一旦抓滿五
隻,即可進入下一個畫面﹝畫面四﹞;若未滿五隻,則不能進入下一個畫面。

﹝畫面四﹞

  晚上以前,瓜瓜族人必須把燈怪掛再島上,否則瓜瓜島會陷入一片漆黑。每
一隻船都會運回燈怪,而讀者必須把燈怪一一掛到島上的房子堙C掛完以後,把
滑鼠按在月亮上會出現滿天的星星;把滑鼠按在船上的瓜瓜族人會出現瓜瓜族人
的所夢想的食物等。

When organizing multimedia, think of the environments, or "places," you will need in order to communicate your message. Chances are that you will have multiple places, so you need to think about how each place relates to the others. For instance, imagine that you create a 3-D virtual ocean to swim in, but you would like to examine the things you encounter in a separate lablike place. How do you connect those two very different places? What structural and user interface conventions make the most sense? A flowchart helps you sketch out the answers.



六:紙上設計

Once you have created a series of storyboards and preliminary flowcharts, it is time to work through, on paper and in fine detail, the logistics of a title. The "paper design," is the "blueprint" for a multimedia title. It covers the structural design and the software strategy, as well as the media production requirements and the user interface design.

Paper designs generally consist of the following documents: the original storyboards, a flowchart indicating the architectural structure and general navigation through the title, and a detailed "functional spec."


Functional Spec

The functional spec walks through each scenario of the title, frame by frame, detailing the action on the screen and illustrating how the user interacts with it. For example, when a character walks across the screen, the user interaction specs may state "when mouse rolls within character's shape, then character reacts to user in such-and-such a way" and "if user clicks on character, then character does such-and-such. The same holds true for describing "buttons (buttons are "hot areas on the screen that the user may click in order to trigger an action). For example, "if mouse rolls over button, then button displays its 'highlight' state. If user clicks on button, then button displays its 'clicked' state." The functional spec also names the various media (sound, video, animation, graphics, etc.) used for each screen.

Graphics used to map out each frame for a functional spec do not need to be specific. In fact, the more abstract the better, because that allows you to concentrate on the actual function being illustrated.



七:製作雛形

The final part of the design phase is dedicated to prototyping and testing a multimedia concept to get real-world feedback.

Once a functional spec is complete and the creative ideas are well established, it is time to start prototyping. A prototype will confirm whether or not your storyboards and paper design are sound. There is nothing like seeing all of your thoughts, ideas, and solutions in action to point out both their brilliance and their flaws.

There are a number of ways to approach creating a prototype. One way is to use a friendly authoring tool, such as Macromedia Director, for the sole purpose of mocking up the user interaction and the graphic style (authoring tools are software packages used to "wire" media together in order to create a multimedia title). This tool does not necessarily need to be the one you use for the final product; it simply serves to put together a quick prototype for initial user testing (see sidebar at right). The drawback is that you may spend a week or more creating something that will eventually be thrown away. In addition, each authoring tool performs differently, so you must take those differences into account, both when testing and when creating the final product.

Another approach is to pick a small cross section of the title and use your intended authoring tool to put together a prototype. This gives you the opportunity to see if your authoring tool is well suited for what you want to accomplish. For example, some authoring tools are better at handling animation, while others are better at database functions (see Chapter 3, "A Look at Authoring Tools"). The benefit of this way of prototyping is that much of the effort expended on the prototype can carry over to the final production stage.

The prototype is, essentially, considered part of the design phase. This means that any last-minute changes in user interface, graphic design, or structure need to be made now, because after this we move into the development phase.



八:使用者測試

User testing is an extremely important exercise that should occur throughout the design and development process. A few hours spent testing your prototype with a focus group (a group of randomly selected people who represent your target market) can save hundreds of production hours later on.

Structural and user interface decisions are made by people who really understand multimedia, how it works, and how to navigate through it. Once a design team becomes intimate with a project, it is easy for them to take its structure and user interface for granted. A fresh look at the project, especially by someone who is less familiar with multimedia, will quickly tell you what makes sense and what doesn't. This person helps you gauge if the product is understandable to a mass audience.

It is a good idea to videotape a user test because you may not remember everything said or every reaction. Also, and perhaps most importantly, video captures the context of a user s reaction. One pitfall to videotaping, however, is that some users are intimidated by the camera and will be more reserved with their feedback.



九:製作產品

The development stage begins with the production of final media; when a good portion of it is completed, initial programming may begin. From then on, three milestones mark the final production efforts: alpha, beta, and golden master.


Producing Final Media

The development phase begins with final media production. Graphics, animation, sound, video, etc., must be developed, at least to some extent, so that programmers may begin to integrate them into a framework. An alternative to waiting for final media is to use "stand-in" media. Sometimes, however, it takes longer than expected to create effective stand-ins, so time is often better spent creating final media. In any event, the various media need to be prepared in multimedia -- specific ways. There are standard formats and limitations for every medium, from video to graphics.

The development phase is the home stretch-all media production is coordinated for optimal efficiency. At this point, even the simplest re-design has a tendency to ripple back, adversely affecting other production areas.


Programming

Using an authoring tool, a programmer can begin to assemble all the media into the structure that's been determined by the paper design. Programming continues until the entire initial framework is put together. When all the 'places to go and things to do" are up and running, a multimedia title is what is called "feature complete" and is ready to enter the alpha stage.


Alpha

Being feature complete is a requirement before multimedia can be considered "in alpha." Alpha is testing time, so it is important that everything that will be incorporated into the title is readily accessible by the testers. There should not be any "bugs" (malfunctions) that block access to the major features or places of the title.

Quality assurance, or "Q.A.," testers go through the alpha version of the title with a fine-tooth comb and keep track of any bugs they encounter-where they happen and what causes them. All the while, programming and media production are still charging forward. Updated versions of the project go back and forth from the programmers to the testers until all the major "crashing bugs" have been weeded out. (Crashing bugs are the ones so severe that they literally freeze up, or crash, the computer.) With no more crashing bugs, a multimedia title is ready to enter "beta."


Beta

The beta stage is the last round of final media production, programming, and testing before a title is declared finished and ready for duplication. At this point, there should be only minor bugs left in the title. These stragglers need to be prioritized and handled accordingly, otherwise this fine-tuning process can drag on indefinitely.


Golden Master

At last, after months of planning, producing, and testing, the project is nearly perfect. Any minute bugs will be removed in the next release (if at all), and it is time to cut the master CD-ROM -- the golden master. From this disc all the rest are pressed, then packaged and distributed.



十:找尋缺點

Thc complexity of an interactive multimedia endeavor ahnost ensures that there will be "bugs." Authoring tools are being pushed to their limits, multiple media elements need to be coordinated, and all of it needs to perform on today's lowest-common-denominator computers.

Bugs are everything from ma jor malfunctions that crash the cmputcr to minor problems like having the wrong font size appear in a text window. Bugs are generally so numerous that they need to be methodically categorized according to their severity and importance so that priorities can be assigned to them.

Quality assurance, or Q A ," testers are the professionals who track down bugs and categorize them. Throughout the alpha and beta stages, Q A. testers go through the title clicking on every button, testing every feature, and keeping a record of every bug they find. They creatc a master list of fixes that are needed.

Testing is not limited to software alone. The process includes running the title on ali of its anticipated platforms (Macintosh, Windows, etc )' because each computer has a different effect on a title's performance. Also, just before golden master stage, test CD-ROMs are pressed to ensure that the title runs properly as a CD-ROM.


﹝聲明:以上內容為交通大學遠距教學「多媒體視覺傳達」課程之教材,歡迎參
考使用,不過其版權屬於著作人李賢輝。﹞