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Chapter: Graphics and Multimedia : Hypermedia

Multimedia authoring and User Interface Multimedia Authoring Systems

Multimedia authoring systems are designed with two primary target users: They are (i) Professionals who prepare documents, audio or sound tracks, and full motion video clips for wide distribution. (il) Average business users preparing documents, audio recordings, or full motion video clips for stored messages' or presentations.

Multimedia authoring and User Interface Multimedia Authoring Systems


Multimedia authoring systems are designed with two primary target users: They are


(i) Professionals who prepare documents, audio or sound tracks, and full motion video clips for wide distribution.


(il) Average business users preparing documents, audio recordings, or full motion video clips for stored messages' or presentations.


The authoring system covers user interface. The authoring system spans issues such as data access, storage structures for individual components embedded in a document, the user's ability to browse through stored objects, and so on.


Most authoring systems are managed by a control application.


Design Issues for Multimedia Authoring


Enterprise wide standards should be set up to ensure that the user requirements are fulfilled with good quality and made the objects transferable from one system to another.


So standards must be set for a number of design issues

1.     Display resolution

2.     Data formula for capturing data

3.     Compression algorithms

4.     Network interfaces

5.     Storage formats.


Display resolution

A number of design issues must be considered for handling different display outputs. They are:

(a) Level of standardization on display resolutions.

(b) Display protocol standardization.

(c)  Corporate norms for service degradations


(d)  Corporate norms for network traffic degradations as they relate to resolution issuesSetting norms will be easy if the number of different work station types, window managers, and monitor resolutions are limited in number.But if they are more in number, setting norms will be difficult.Another consideration is selecting protocols to use. Because a number of protocols have emerged, including AVI, Indeo, Quick Time and so on.So, there should be some level of convergence that allows these three display protocols to exchange data and allow viewing files in other formats.


File Format and Data Compression Issues

There are variety of data formats available for image, audio, and full motion video objects.


Since the varieties are so large, controlling them becomes difficult. So we should not standardize on a single format. Instead, we should select a set for which reliable conversion application tools are available.


Another key design Issue is to standardize on one or two compression formula for each type of data object. For example for facsimile machines, CCITT Group 3 and 4 should be included in the selected standard. Similarly, for full motion video, the selected standard should include MPEG and its derivatives such as MPEG 2.


While doing storage, it is useful to have some information (attribute information) about the object itself available outside the object to allow a user to decide if they need to access the object data. one of such attribute information are:


(i) Compression type (ii) Size of the object

(iii) Object orientation (iv)Data and time of creation

(v) Source file name (vi)Version number (if any)

(vii) Required software application to display or playback the object.

Service degradation policies: Setting up Corporate norms for network traffic degradation is difficult as they relate to resolution Issues:


To address these design issues, several policies are possible. They are:

1.     Decline further requests with a message to try later.

2.     Provide the playback server but at a lower resolution.


3.     Provide the playback service at full resolution but, in the case of sound and full motion video, drop intermediate frames.


Design Approach to Authoring

Designing an authoring system spans a number of design issues. They include:


Hypermedia application design specifics, User Interface aspects, Embedding/Linking streams of objects to a main document or presentation, Storage of and access to multimedia objects. Playing back combined streams in a synchronized manner.


A good user interface design is more important to the success of hypermedia applications.


Types of Multimedia Authoring Systems


There are varying degrees of complexity among the authoring systems. For example, dedicated authoring systems that handle only one kind of an object for a single user is simple, where as programmable systems are most complex.


Dedicated Authority Systems

Dedicated authoring systems are designed for a single user and generally for single streams.


Designing this type of authoring system is simple, but if it should be capable of combining even two object streams, it becomes complex. The authoring is performed on objects captured by the local video camera and image scanner or an objects stored in some form of multimedia object library. In the case of dedicated authoring system, users need not to be experts in multimedia or a professional artist. But the dedicated systems should be designed in such a way that. It has to provide user interfaces that are extremely intuitive and follow real-world metaphors.


A structured design approach will be useful in isolating the visual and procedural design components.


TimeLine –based authoring


In a timeline based authoring system, objects are placed along a timeline. The timeline can be drawn on the screen in a window in a graphic manner, or it created using a script in a mann.er similar to a project plan. But, the user must specify a resource object and position it in the timeline.


On playback, the object starts playing at that point in the time Scale. Fig:TimeLinebased authoring


In most timeline based approaches, once the multimedia object has been captured in a timeline,.it is fixed in location and cannot be manipulated easily, So, a single timeline causes loss of information about the relative time lines for each individual object.


Structured Multimedia Authoring


A structured multimedia authoring approach was presented by Hardman. It is an evolutionary approach based on structured object-level construction of complex presentations. This approach consists of two stages:


(i)  The construction of the structure of a presentation.

(ii) Assignment of detailed timing constraints.


A successful structured authoring system must provide the following capabilities for navigating through the structure of presentation.


1.Ability to view the complete structure.

2.Maintain a hierarchy of objects.


3.Capability to zoom down to any specific component. 4.View specific components in part or from start to finish.


5.Provide a running status of percentage full of the designated length of the presentation. 6.Clearly show the timing relations between the various components.


7.Ability to address all multimedia types including text, image, audio, video and frame based digital images.


The author must ensure that there is a good fit within each object hierarchy level. The navigation design of authoring system should allow the author to view the overall structure while examining a specific object segment more closely.

Programmable Authoring Systems :Ea rly structured authoring tools were not able to allow the authors to express automatic function for handling certain routine tasks. But,

programmable authoring system bas improved in providing powerful


functions based on image processing and analysis and embedding program interpreters to use image-processing functious.


The capability of this authoring system is enhanced by Building user programmability in the authoring tool to perform the analysis and to manipulate the stream based on the analysis results and also manipulate the stream based on the analysis results. The programmability allows the following tasks through the program interpreter rather than manually. Return the time stamp of the next frame. Delete a specified movie segment. Copy or cut a specified movie segment to the clip board . Replace the current segment with clip board contents.


Multisource Multi-user Authoring Systems


We can have an object hierarchy in a geographic plane; that is, some objects may be linked to other objects by position, while others may be independent and fixed in position".


We need object data, and information on composing it. Composing means locating it in reference to other objects in time as Well as space.


Once the object is rendered (display of multimedia object on the screen) the author can manipulate it and change its rendering information must be available at the same time for display.If there are no limits on network bandwidth and server performance, it would be possible to assemble required components on cue at the right time to be rendered.


In addition to the multi-user compositing function A multi user authoring system must provide resource allocation and scheduling of multimedia objects.


Telephone Authoring systems

There is an application where the phone is linking into multimedia electronic mail application


1.Tele phone can be used as a reading device by providing fill text to-speech synthesis capability so that a user on the road can have electronic mail messages read out on the telephone.


2. The phone can be used for voice command input for setting up and managing voice mail messages. Digitized voice clips are captured via the phone and embedded in electronic mail messages.


3.  As the capability to recognize continuous speech is deploy phones can be used to create electronic mail messages where the voice is converted to ASCII text on the fly by high-performance voice recognition engines.


Phones provide a means of using voice where the alternative of text on a screen is not available. A phone can be used to provide interactive access to electronic mail, calendar information databases, public information databass and news reports, electronic news papers and a variety of other applications. !ntegrating of all these applications in a common authoring tool requires great skill in planning.


The telephone authoring systems support different kinds of applications. Some of them are: 1.Workstation controls for phone mail.


2.Voice command controls for phone mail.

3.Embedding of phone mail in electric mail.


Hypermedia Application Design Consideration


The user interface must be highly intuitive to allow the user to learn the tools quickly and be able to use them effectively. In addition, the user interface should be designed to cater to the needs of both experienced and inexperienced user.


In addition to control of their desktop environments, user also need control of their system environment. This controlThe abilityshould toincludespec fysomeaprimaryofthefollowing:serverfor each object class within a domain specified by the system  administrative.  A  domain  can  be  viewed  as  a  list  of  servers  to  which  they  have

unrestricted access.


The ability to specify whether all multimedia -objects or only references should be replicated.


The ability to specify that the multimedia object should be retrieved immediately for display versus waiting for a signal to "play" the object. This is more significant if the object must be retrieved from a remote server.


Display resolution defaults for each type of graphics or video object.


Essential for good hypermedia design:

1.Determining the type of hypermedia application.

2.Structuring the information.

3.Determining the navigation throughout the application.


4.Methodologies for accessing the information.

5.Designing the user interface.


Integration of Applications


The computer may be called upon to run a diverse set of applications, including some combination of the following:


1.Electronic mail.

2.Word processing or technical publishing.


3.Graphics and formal presentation preparation software. . 4.. Spreadsheet or some other decision support software. 5.Access to a relational on object-oriented database. 6.Customized applications directly related to job function:

* Billing * Portfolio management            * Others.


Integration of these applications consists of two major themes: the appearance of the applications and the ability of the applications to exchange of data.


Common UI and Application Integration


Microsoft Windows has standardized the user interface for a large number of applications by providing standardization at the following levels: Overall visual look and feel of the application windows


This standardization level makes it easier for the user to interact with applications designed for the Microsoft Windows operational environment. Standardization is being provided for Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), Dynamic Data Exchange (DOE), and the Remote Procedure Call (RPC).


Data Exchange


The Microsoft Windows Clipboard allows exchanging data in any format. It can be used to exchange multimedia objects also. We can cut and copy a multimedia objects in one document and pasting in another. These documents can be opened under different applications.The windows clipboard allows the following formats to be stored:


.:. Text Bitrnap

.:. Image Sound

.:. Video (AVI format).


Distributed Data Access


If all applications required for a compound object can access the subobjects that they manipulate, then only application integration succeeds.


Fully distributed data access implies that any application at any client workstation in the enterprise-wide WAN must be able to access any data object as if it were local. The underlying data management software should provide transport mechanisms to achieve transparence for the application.


Hypermedia Application Design


Hypermedia applicati'ons are applications consisting of compound objects that include the multimedia objects. An authoring applicationn may use existing multimedIa objects or call upon a media editor to CD create new object.


Structuring the Information

A good information structure should consist the following modeling primitives:


.:. Object types and object hierarchies.

.:. Object representations.

.:. Object connections.

.:. Derived connections and representations.


The goal of information Structuring is to identify the information objects and to develop an information model to define the relationships among these objects.


Types and Object Hierarchies


Object types are related with various attributes and representations of the objects. The nature of the information structure determines the functions that can be performed on that information set. The object hierarchy defines a contained-in relationship between objects. The manner in which this hierarchy is approached depends on whether the document is being created or played back.

Users need the ability to search for an object knowing very little about the object. Hypermedia application design should allow for such searches.


The user interface with the application depends on the design of the application, particularly the navigation options provided for the user.


Object representations


Multimedia objects have a variety of different object representations. A hypermedia object is a compound object, consists of s~ information elements, including data, text, image, and video


Since each of these multimedia objects may have its own sub objects, the design must consider the representation of objects.


An object representation may require controls that allow the user to alter the rendering of the object dynamically. The controls required for each object representation must be specified with the object.


Object connection


In the relational model, the connections are achieved through joins, and in the object oriented models, through pointers hidden inside objects. Some means of describing explicit connections is required for hypermedia design to define the relationships among objects more clearly and to help in establishing the navigation.


Derived Connections and Representations


Modeling of a hypermedia system should attempt to take derived objects into consideration for establishing connection guidelines.


User Interface Design Multi media applications contain user interface design. There are four kinds of user interface development tools. They are


1.     Media editors

2.     An authoring application

3.     Hypermedia object creation

4.     Multimedia object locator and browser


A media editor is an application responsible of the creation and editing of a specific multimedia object such as an image, voice, or Video object. Any application that allows the user to edit a multimedia object contains a media editor. Whether the object is text, ~voice, or full-motion video, the basic functions provided by the editor are the same: create, delete, cut, copy, paste, move, and merge.


Navigation through the application


Navigation refers to the sequence in which the application progresses and objects are created, searched and used.


Naviation can be of three modes:


(i) Direct: It is completely predefined. In this case, the user needs to know what to expect with successive navigation actions.


Free-form mode: In this mode~ the user determines the next sequence of actions.


Browse mode: In this mode, the user does not know the precise question and wnats to get general information about a particular topic. It is a very common mode in application based on large volumes of non-symbolic data. This mode allows a user to explore the databases to support the hypothesis.


Designing user Interfaces


User Interface should be designed by structured following design guidelines as follows:

1.Planning the overall structure of the application

2.Planning the content of the application

3.Planning the interactive behavior

4.Planning the look and feel of the application


A good user interface must be efficient and intuitive by most users.


The interactive behaviour of the application determines how the User interacts with the application. A number of issues are determined at this level.


They are Data entry dialog boxes


Application designed sequence of operation depicted by graying or enabling specific menu items Context-Sensitive operation of buttons. Active icons that perform ad hoc tasks (adhoc means created for particular purpose only)

A look and feel of the application depends on a combination of the metaphor being used to simulate real-life interfaces, Windows guidelines, ease of use, and aesthetic appeal.


Special Metaphors for Multimedia Applications


In this section let us look at a few key multimedia user interface metaphors.


The organizer metaphor


One must begin to associate the concept of embedding multimedia object in the appointment diary or notepad to get obvious view of the multimedia aspe.cts of the organizer.

Other use of multimedia object in an organizer is to associate maps or voice mail directions with addresses in address books.


The lotus organizer was the first to use a screen representation of the office diary type organizer 'Telephone Metaphor: The role of the telephone was changed b the advent of voice mail system. Voice mail servers convert the analog voice and store it in digital form. With the standards for voice ~ail file formats and digital storage of sound for computer. Now, computer system is used to manage the phone system. The two essential components of a phone system are speakers and microphones. They are included in most personal computers.


Figure 5.5 shows how a telephone can be created on a screen to make it a good user interface


The telephone keypad on the screen allows using the interface just as a telephone keypad is used. Push buttons in dialog boxes and function selections in memos duplicate the function provided by the keypad. Push buttons, radio buttons, list boxes, and data entry fields and menu selections allow a range of functionality than can be achieved by the telephone.


Aural User Interface: A Aural user interface allows computer systems to accept speech as direct input and provide an oral response to the user actions. Speech enabling is an important feature in this UI. To design AUI system first, we have to create an aural desk top which substitutes voice and ear for the keyboard and display and be able to mix and match them Aural cues should be able to represent icons, voice, menus and the windows of graphical user interface.


AUl design involves human perception, cagnitive science and psycho-acoutic theory. AUI systems learn systems to perform routine functions without user's feedback. An AUI must be temporal and use time based metaphors.


AUI has to address the following issues

1.     Recent user memory

2.     Attention span

3.     Rhythms

4.     Quick return to missed oral cues


The VCR metaphor: The User interface metaphor for VCR is to draw a TV on screen and provide live buttons on it for selecting channels, increasing sound volume and changing channel.

User interface for functions suchas video capture, channel play, and stored video playback is to emulate the camera, television and VCR on screen Fi5.6 shows all functions of typical video camera when it is in a video capture mode.


Audio/Video Indexing Functions


Index marking allowed users to mark the location on tape in the case of both audio and video to which they may wish to fast forward are rewind.


Other form of index marking is time based. In his form the tape counter shows playtime in hours, minutes, and secondsfrom the time the counter was reset.


Three paradigms for indexing audio and video tapes are


Counter identify tape locations, and the user maintains index listingSpecial events are used as index markersUsers can specify locations for index markings and the system maintains the index.Indexing is useful only if the video is stored. Unless live video is stored, indexing information is lost since the video cannot be repeated.In most systems where video is stored, the sound and video streams are decompressed and managed separately, so synchronization for playback is important. The indexing information n\must be stored on apermanent basis.


Information Access:


Access structure defines the way objects can be accessed and how navigation takes place through the information objects.


The common forms of navigations for information access are:


Direct: Direct information accessis completely predefined. User must have knowledge about the object that need to be accessed. That information includes object representations in a compound object. Indexed: Index access abstracts the real object from the access to the object. If the object ID of the object is an index entry that resolves to a filename on a specific server and disk partition, then the information access mechanism is an indexed mechanism. \


Random Selection: In this fonn, the user can pick one of several possible items. The items need not arranged in any logical sequence; and they need not to be displayed sequentially. The user need not have much knowledge about the infonnation. They must browse through the infornlation.


Path selection or Guided tour: In guided tour, the application guides the user through a predefined path acrosS a number of objects and operations. The user may pause to examine the objects at any stage, but the overall access is controlled by the application. Guided tours can also be used for operations such as controlling the timing for discrete media, such as slide show. It can be used for control a sound track or a video clip.


Browsing: It is useful when the user does not have much knowledge about the object to access it directly.


Object Display Playback Issues: User expects some common features apart from basic functions for authoring systems. And to provide users with same special control on the display/ playback of these objects, designer have to address some of these issues for image, audio and video objects.


Image Display Issues Scaling: Image scaling is performed on the fly after decompressio The image is scaled to fit in an application defined window at t:' full pixel rate for the window.The image may be scaled by using factors. For eg: for the window 3600 x 4400 pixels can be scaled by a factor of 6 x 10 ie.60 x 440 (60 times).


Zooming: Zooming allows the user to see more detail for a specific area of the image. Users can zoom by defining a zoom factor (eg: 2: 1,5: 1 or 10: 1). These are setup as preselected zoom values.


Rubber banding: This is another form of zooming. In this case, the user uses a mouse to define two comers of the rectangle. The selected area can be copied to the clipboard, cut, moved or zoomed. Panning: If the image window is unable to display the full image at the ·selected resolution for display. The image can be panned left to right or right to left as wellas top to bottom or bottom to top. Panning is useful for finding detail that is not visible in the full image.


Audio Quality: Audio files are stored in one of a number of formats, including WAVE and A VI. Playing back audio requires that the audio file server be capable of playing back data at the rate of 480 kbytes/min uncompressed or 48 kbytes/min for compressed 8 bit sound or 96 kbytes/min for 16 bit sound.


The calculation is based on an 8 MHz sampling rate and ADCPM compression with an estimated compression ratio. 32 bit audio will need to be supported to get concert hall quality in stored audio. Audio files can be very long. A 20 minute audio clip is over 1 MB long. When played back from the server, it must be transferred completely in one burst or in a controlled manner.

Special features for video playback: Before seeing the features of video playback let us learn what is isochronous playback. The playback at a constant rate to ensure proper cadence (the rise and fall in pitch of a person's voice) is known as isochronous playback. But isochronous playback is more complex With video than It is for sound. .


If video consists of multiple clips of video and multiple soundtracks being retrieved from different servers and combined for playback by accurately synchronizing them, the problem becomes more complex.To achieve isochronous playback, most video storage systems


use frame interleaving concepts. Video Frame Interleaving: Frame interleaving defines the structure o;the video file in terms of the layout of sound and video components.


Programmed Degradation: When the client workstation is unable to keep up with the incoming data, programmed degradation occurs. Most video servers are designed to transfer data from storage to the client at constant rates. The video server reads the file from storage, separate the sound and video components, and feeds them as a seperate streams over the network to the client workstations. Unless specified by the user, the video server defaults to favoring sound and degrades video playback by dropping frames. So, sound can be heard on a constant basis. But the video loses its smooth motion and starts looking shaky. Because intermediate frames are not seen.


The user can force the ratio of sound to video degradation by changing the interleaving factor for playback; ie the video server holds back sound until the required video frames are transferred. This problem becomes more complex when multiple streams of video and audio are being played back from multiple source servers. .


Scene change Frame Detection: The scene we see changes every few seconds or minutes and it replaced by a new image.Even within the same scene, there may be a constant motion of some objects in a scene.


Reason for scene change detection: Automating scence change detection is very useful for browsing through very large video clips to find the exact frame sequence of interest. Spontaneous scene change detection provides an automatic indexing mechanism that can be very useful in browsing. A user can scan a complete video clip very rapidly if the key frame for each new scene is displayed in an iconic (poster frame) form in a slide sorter type display. The user can then click on a specific icon to see a particular scene. This saves the user a significant amount of time and effort and reduces resource load by decompressing and displaying only the specific scene of interest rather than the entire video.


Scene change detection is of real advantage if it can be performed without decompressing the video object. Let us take a closer-look at potential techniques that can be employed for this purpose. Techniques:


(i) Histogram Generation: Within a scene, the histogram changes as the subject of the scene mover. For example, if a person is running and the camera pans the scene, a large part of the scene is duplicated with a little shift. But if the scene changes from a field to a room, the histogram changes quite substantially. That is, when a scene cuts over to a new scene, the histogram changes rapidly. Normal histograms require decompressing the video for the successive scenes to allow the optical flow of pixels to be plotted on a histogram. The foot that the video has tobe decompressed does help in that the user can jump from one scene to the nect. However, to show a slide sorter view requires the entire video to be decompressed. So this solution does not really of the job.


Since MPEG and JPEG encoded video uses DCT coefficients, DCT quantization analysis on uncompressed video or Audio provides the best alternatives for scene change detection without decompressing video


The efficiency can be managed by determining the frame interval for checks and by deciding on the regions within the frame that are being checked. A new cut in a scene or a scene change can be detected by concentrating on a very small portion of the frame


The scene change detection technology as is the case with video compression devices as well as devices that can process compressed video, the implementations of scene change detection can be significantly enhanced.


Video scaling, Panning and Zooming:



Scaling is a feature since users are used in changing window sizes. When the size of the video window is changed, scaling take place.


Panning: Panning allows the user to move to other parts of the window. Panning is useful incombination with zooming. Only if the video is being displayed at full resolution and the video window is not capable of displaying the entire window then panning is useful. Therfore panning is useful only for video captured using very high resolution cameras.




Zooming implies that the stored number of pixels is greater than the number that can be displayed in the video window . In that case, a video scaled to show the complete image in the video window can be paused and an area selected to be shown in a higher resolution within the same video window. The video can be played again from that point either in the zoomed mode or in scaled to fit window mode.


Three Dimensional Object Display and VR(Virtual Reality)


Number of 3D effects are used in home entertainment a advanced systems used for specialized applications to achieve find Ine results.


Let us review the approaches in use to determine the impact 0 multimedia display system design due to these advanced systems.


Planar Imaging Technique: The planar imaging technique, used in computer-aided tomography (CAT Scan) systems, displays a twodimensional [20] cut of X-ray images through multidimensional data specialized display techniques try to project a 3D image constructed from the 2D data. An important design issue is the volume of data being displayed (based on the image resolution and sampling rate) and the rate at which 3D renderings need to be constructed to ensure a proper time sequence for the changes in the data.


Computed tomography has a high range of pixel density and can be used for a variety of applications. Magnetic resonance imaging, on the other hand, is not as fast, nor does it provide as high a pixel density as CT. Ultrasound is the third technique used for 3D imaging in the medical and other fields. .


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