Skip to Content

Multimedia Foundations

Core Concepts for Digital Design

By Vic Costello, Susan Youngblood, Norman E. Youngblood

  1. ISBN: 9780240813943
  2. Publication Date: March 2012
  3. Format: Paperback
  4. Pages: 430
  5. Price:
    • $61.95 (USD)
    • £37.99 (GBP)
  6. Buy Direct
  7. or buy from


Understand the core concepts and skills of multimedia production and digital storytelling using text, graphics, photographs, sound, motion, and video. Then, put it all together using the skills that you have developed for effective project planning, collaboration, visual communication, and graphic design.

Presented in full color with hundreds of vibrant illustrations, Multimedia Foundations trains you in the principles and skill sets common to all forms of digital media production, enabling you to create successful, engaging content, no matter what tools you are using.

Companion website features a wealth of web resources, illustrations, and video tutorials demonstrating the key techniques presented in the book.

Author Bio

Dr. Vic Costello is an Associate Professor in the School of Communications at Elon University, where he has taught numerous courses in multimedia production since 2001. He has worked in broadcast management, corporate communications, and as a freelance technical director, video producer, and creative consultant for live-events, and awards shows. Dr. Costello is a long-standing member of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) and has served as both Producer and Chair of the BEA Festival of Media Arts.
Norman Youngblood has been teaching courses on web design and interactive media since 2001 and has a background in information technology. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University and the co-director and co-founder of a new university usability and communication research laboratory.
Susan A. Youngblood teaches both graduate and undergraduate web development at Auburn University's Department of English in the Master of Technical and Professional Communication (MTPC) program. Her classes emphasize research-based best practices for design, accessibility, and usability testing. She helped plan the layout of Auburn's Instruction in Design, Evaluation, and Assessment (IDEA) lab-used mostly for teaching usability testing-and consulted on the installation of Auburn's new research-oriented usability and focus-group lab. She teaches students to be advocates not only for end users but also for their colleagues and clients who have to maintain the sites that they create. Susan's research interests include competing communication needs in online environments, usability, and web accessibility. Her work has appeared in Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and in the edited collection Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant.


Section I Multimedia Foundations

Chapter 1 Understanding Multimedia

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

What It Is.Is Multimedia!

Social Media

Defining Multimedia

Great Ideas: Using Metaphors

Great Ideas: Multimedia

Tech Talk: Hypermedia

Understanding Multimedia

Flashback: Three Generations of the Web

Evolving Media Industries

Flashback: Flashback

From Old Media to New Media

The Characteristics of Old Media

Flashback: Paradigm Shift

Large Organizations

Simultaneous Delivery

Characteristics of New Media

Five Principles of New Media

Tech Talk: Algorithm

Tech Talk: Bits: The Common Denominator

Tech Talk: Batch Processing

Tech Talk: Rendering

Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 The Computer

The Digital Revolution

Great Ideas: Communication with Binary Numbers

From Bits to Bites

History of the Personal Computer

Computer Hardware and Software

Computer Hardware Basics

Processor Speed

Flashback: Moore's Law

System Memory

The Human Interface

The Mouse and the GUI

The Keyboard

Saving and Managing Digital Files and Project Assets

Tech Talk: Mastering the File System Browser

Tech Talk: File Management 101

Digital Storage Solutions

Tech Talk: Backing Up Your Data

Great Ideas: Cloud Storage

Connecting Drives and Devices

Chapter Summary

Chapter 3 Planning and Design

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

A Road Map

Great Ideas: Target Market and Target Audiences


The Three P's

Great Ideas: Intellectual Property

The Client and Producer

Great Ideas: Thinking Outside the Box

The Design Process

Chapter Summary

Section II Multimedia Design

Chapter 4 Visual Communication

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Visual Communication

Content and Form

Flashback: The Medium is the Message


Elements of Design

Tech Talk: Halftone Image

Tech Talk: Vertigo and 3-D

The Principles of Design



Perceptual Forces

Tech Talk: Rule of Thirds

Chapter Summary

Chapter 5 Multimedia Page Design

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Organizing Content on a Page

The Gutenberg Diagram

Breaking Out of the Box



Great Ideas: Visual Hierarchy

Chunking Body Copy


Great Ideas: The Golden Ratio

Bringing Order to Chaos

The Grid System

Tech Talk: The Anatomy of a Grid

Tech Talk: Inline and Floating Graphics


Tech Talk: The CSS Box Model

Page Templates

Static and Dynamic Pages

Fixed Layouts

Television Screen Layouts

Fluid Layouts

Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 Interface Design and Usability

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

User Interfaces


Types of User Interfaces

Tech Talk: Motion Tracking Interfaces

User-Centered Design (UCD)

Designing User Interfaces

Components and Features


Great Ideas: Above the Fold Layout









Error Management


Will Usability Kill Creativity

Usability Testing

Making Interfaces Accessible

Great Ideas: Accessibility and the Law

Great Ideas: Accessibility and Usability

Chapter Summary

Chapter 7 Web Design

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

How the Web Works

Flashback: A Brief History of the Internet and World Wide Web


Tech Talk: Sections of an HTML Document

Tech Talk: HTML Head Content

Tech Talk: Special Characters


Planning Site Structure and Navigation

Defining a Site and the "Root Folder”

Great Ideas: File Naming Conventions

Establishing a Hierarchy

Page Design and Layout

Ensuring Site Usability

Beginning Your Page: Structure and Title

Marking Up Your Content


Paragraphs and Blockquotes


Creating and Managing Hyperlinks

Tech Talk: Creating an Email Link

Linking Images and Adding Image Information

Creating Tables

Tech Talk: Controlling a Table's Appearance

Controlling Appearance: Cascading Style Sheets

Characteristics of Appearance


Background and Text Colors

Tech Talk: Background Images

Font Type and Style

Font Sizes

Link Characteristics

Tech Talk: Buttons and Javascript

Interactive and Multimedia Web Content

Checking Your Code and Compatibility

Uploading the Site to the Server

Chapter Summary

Section III Static Media

Chapter 8 Graphics

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Graphics and Images



Digital Imaging

Raster Images

Tech Talk: Color Space

Tech Talk: Compression

Vector Graphics

Display Screen Standards

Aspect Ratio

Image Rendering

Great Ideas: The Illusion of Apparent Movement

Television Standards

Flashback: The Legacy of Analog Television

Digital Television

Chapter Summary

Chapter 9 Text

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

An Introduction to Typography

Legibility and Readability

Characteristics that Define Typefaces

Stroke, Contrast, and Stress

Weight: Regular, Boldface, and Light

Posture: Roman, Oblique, and Italic

Proportions and Letterform Parts

Categorizing Typefaces

Serif Typefaces

Sans-Serif Typefaces

Decorative Typefaces

Script Typefaces

Symbol Typefaces and Special Characters

Tech Talk: Category Characteristics

Computers and Typefaces

Great Ideas: Adding to Your Typeface Collection

Additional Text Attributes

Font Styles: True and Faux

Italics and Boldface for Emphasis

Condensed or Expanded Type

All Caps and Small Caps

Underline and Strikethrough

Font Size

Font Color

Baseline Shift



Tech Talk: Font Management

Character and Line Spacing

Kerning and Tracking


Alignment, Justification, and Distribution

Font Transformations

Some Final Tips

Limit the Number of Typefaces

Text First, Type Second

Tech Talk: Designing Text for Screen Display

Designing the Text for Screen Display

Less is More

Chapter Summary

Chapter 10 Photography

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights


Consumer Cameras

Prosumer and Professional Cameras

Video Cameras

The Imaging Chain

The Lens

Tech Talk: Focal Length and Angle of View

Tech Talk: Optical Versus Digital Zoom

The Iris

The Shutter

Great Ideas: The Image Sensor

Flashback: The Decisive Moment - by Chris Walker


Measuring Light Intensity

Great Ideas: Flash Control

White Balance


Autofocus (AF)

Manual Focus (MF)

Great Ideas: Selective Focus

Depth of Field

Aperture Size

Focal Length

Subject/Camera Distance

Exposure Modes

Automatic Modes

Tech Talk: Stitching Mode

Semi-Automatic Modes

Manual Mode

Image Stabilization

Great Ideas: Memory Cards

Downloading Images

Digital Image Management

Tech Talk: Metadata

Chapter Summary

Section IV Time-Based Media

Chapter 11 Audio Production

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Sound and Audio

What is Sound?

Great Ideas: Characteristics of a Sound Wave

Tech Talk: Dynamic Range

Great Ideas: Equalization

Digital Audio Sampling

Pulse-Code Modulation

Flashback: Industry Standards

Codecs and Container Formats


Sound Recording


Tech Talk: The Proximity Effect

Great Ideas: Four Reasons for Using a Professional Grade External Microphone

Balanced Audio Connectors

XLR Connectors

Unbalanced Audio Connectors

TS and TRS Connectors

RCA Connectors


Cable Management 101

Great Ideas: The Over-Under Wrap

Audio Monitoring

Audio Metering (objective monitoring)

Listening (subjective monitoring)

Chapter Summary

Chapter 12 Sound and Video Recording

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Motion Picture Film Recording

Magnetic Recording

Great Ideas: Helical Scanning

Tech Talk: Tape Recording Basics: Track Pitch and Speed

Professional Videotape Formats

Analog Tape Formats

Tech Talk: Composite Versus Component Color Processing

Digital Tape Formats

High-Definition Tape Formats

Flashback: DV: The Blue Book Standard

DV Formats

Two Types of Video Compression

Tech Talk: Color Sampling

Consumer Formats

Betamax and VHS


Tech Talk: Optical Disc Formats

File-Base Recording Formats

Tech Talk: Container Formats

Open Standards for File-Base Recording Formats

Tech Talk: Intermediate Formats

Proprietary Standards for File-Base Recording

Tech Talk: Recording Variables in AVCHD

Chapter Summary

Chapter 13 Time-Based Editing

Key Terms

Chapter Highlights

Nonlinear Editing

The Building Blocks of an Edited Sequence

Great Ideas: The Stand-Up

Great Ideas: Designing Graphics for Television

Continuity Editing


Tech Talk: Cutting-on-Action

The Project Folder

The Project File

Media Files and Media Clips

Flashback: NLE Pioneers

Components of an NLE Interface

Project Window

The Timeline

The Preview and Program Monitors

Great Ideas: NLE Keyboard Shortcuts

Adding Clips to the Timeline

A Simple Editing Scenario


Chapter Summary