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The practical tasks at the end of each chapter of Digital Multimedia provide the opportunity to put your knowledge of each individual topic into practice, but real multimedia projects demand a combination of knowledge and skills in all the areas we describe. We have therefore devised some more extensive projects, which can be used as the basis of extended practical work on multimedia courses. (Instructors may choose to adapt them to suit their individual circumstances.) They have been divided into Web-based projects, where you are specifically required to produce a Web site or application, and other multimedia projects, which can be delivered in different ways and implemented using technologies other than HTML, JavaScript, and so on.

We know that very different kinds of practical facilities will be available to different readers, and that the amount of time it will be possible for you to allocate to any project will also vary considerably. Some of the projects are small, some could be very ambitious indeed. However, for each one, a variety of approaches is possible, and you should tailor your response to fit your personal situation. What you cannot execute in practice, you might still be able to plan fully on paper; where only some of the necessary media tools are available to you, you can try to improvise an alternative implementation of the brief with the facilities that you have got. However, some of the briefs have been limited with certain restrictions for a good reason, which will be clearly indicated – to ignore the restrictions in these projects would be to miss the point. Even if you cannot do any practical work at all, much can be achieved simply by reading, thinking, and planning.

Never be afraid to seek whatever help you can get from specialists – whether from fully-trained professionals or from people studying in appropriate areas. This is a fundamental part of good professional practice, and your work can only be the richer for adding other expertise to your own. However, if no such help is available, clear thinking, common sense, and a keen awareness of other people’s work and your audience’s needs or desires, can take you a long way. By studying both traditional and new media, and using the World Wide Web, you can gain unprecedented access to other people’s work and ideas; if you analyze contemporary practice in individual media and multimedia, and examine design precedents carefully, you can build up a sound and informed basis for your own work. Much time and effort – not to mention disappointment – can be saved simply by learning from other people’s successes and mistakes.

One important final note: some of these projects require you to use existing material from the Web, while others will benefit from the use of images and sounds which may be copyright material. Never use such material without obtaining the copyright owner’s permission; where you are creating a Web site that is not intended for public access, permission should not be difficult to obtain. If you wish the public to be able to see the results of your work, be very careful about obtaining permission to reproduce other people’s work. It is safest, and honest, to use only material for which you or your institution holds either the original copyright or explicit permission from third-party copyright owners.