Because most people are quite visual, graphics, 2D and 3D images, are crucial to multimedia development. In fact, multimedia applications are predominantly graphic. Because they play such a critical role, balancing graphics is essential. When designing a multimedia application, it is important not to get carried away with graphics. Adding just the right graphic and just the right number of graphics may help the user learn and retain more information in less time and with less effort. Adding inappropriate graphics or bombarding the user with too many graphics will most likely be counterproductive. Graphics that fit most any need are quite easy to find. Commercially prepared drawings called clip art come packaged with many application programs. Clip art is also sold on disk and CD-ROM, or you can download it from the Internet. In addition, you can create your own graphics by using a draw or paint program. Charts, another type of graphic, can convey a great deal of information in a very limited space. It might take pages of text to describe an idea that can be better illustrated through the use of a single pie chart or bar graph. Photographs can also be used to enhance multimedia applications. Photographs can be digitized through a color scanner or taken directly with a digital camera. Collections of digital photographs called stock photography are also available on CD-ROM or can be downloaded from the Internet. Sometimes these photographs are free, but many times a fee is charged to use the photo or purchase the rights to the photo. When a graphic or other multimedia object serves as a link to additional information about a topic, the link is called hypermedia.
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