Monday, 28 March 2016

HDip in Creative Multimedia Programming

The year in some detail....

Creative Multimedia Programming is made of many parts. The Hdip in Creative Multimedia Programming offered in LIT is broken up into three parts. The first two semesters revolve around learning new technologies, applying them in the lab and producing projects that incorporate the different learning modules. The third and final part is spent on work placement to gain experience in mostly the front end development side of web development. Semester one of the Creative Multimedia Programming course was spent learning evolving web technologies including Java Script, HTML 5 and CSS3. Using MySQL and data base creation and management was another module that introduced us to the fundamentals of this subject for application in project work for semester two.

Other modules veered more on the creative side of multimedia including, 3ds Max. For this module we produced some art work and a small animation at the end. 3ds Max was taught in detail and we explored how to make and manipulate objects, apply materials to objects, adjust lighting and how the lighting is generated (ie raytracing). At the end of the module my understanding of 3ds Max is solid. However, to maintain this understanding I need to practice.

Fruit Bowl drawn in 3ds Max 
Another creative and design oriented module offered was Interaction Design which included exploring design elements and principles and where to apply them. Interaction Design made me realise how important this subject is regarding user face design and designing for users of multimedia products. This module also introduced drawing tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The software we used in this module was IntuiFace, useful for putting together interactive mock-ups and presentations. IntuiFace also for designing for touch screens so this was another facet to think of whilst designing the project in this module. Interestingly enough when I went to purchase a new pc I was shocked that touch screens are now so prevalent. Only a year ago it would have been unusual to see one in an average electronics shop.

 Semester Two 

The second part of the course in Creative Multimedia programming includes modules to expand understanding of web based applications. In one module we have explored evolving web technologies. It starts to get exciting when any knowledge from semester one is carried over and layered on top of new methods for producing web based media products. One developed project was a responsive web site. It was exciting to see the results of different approaches including bootstrap, media queries and flexbox. The knowledge from this module is helping in the production of the final year project which has to include all elements of creative multimedia programming.

Another module we are having a lot of fun with is advanced web programming. In this we are learning how to use php, the Codeignitor framework and to apply our understanding of the MVC framework in our final year projects. So far it is trying! The purpose for this module is to get our websites to read and update databases and take the development side of programming a web site a step further.

The design and creative aspect of the course is further expanded in the modules Interaction Interface Design whereby we had to produce a design for a mobile app. Our goal was to explore a set of use cases to understand the intricacies of the creative design step by step so in-turn, it helps the production of a project by showing in written and sketched form a detailed account for the programmers when it gets to that stage in the project. The use cases also included error handling functionality in the design. This project was great as it dealt only with mobile usability and got me thinking about programming the mobile part of the final year project. 

A low-fi sketch for a mobile app, part of project Interaction Interface Design 

A low-fi sketch for the mobile part of final year project 

Finally Interaction Interface Design includes producing an interactive portfolio pieces as a way to show potential employers what is produced after learning and applying principles of creative multimedia programming.

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