Why don't computers save us time? Because we spend the extra time fiddling and tweaking what we've just done, rarely getting past the temptation to do more of the same and create something new and important. This is a book that raises questions about basic, crucial concepts that matter everywhere in life--not just on screen.
Recounting the culture and history of early computers and multimedia systems--including clockwork theatres and interactive art installations as well as computer pioneers like Alan Turing and Doug Englebart, inventor of the mouse--Dust or Magic isn't just interesting and well-told. It's a salutary lesson in what works, what proves popular and what disappoints. The early multimedia titles certainly seem crude compared to the brightly-coloured, anti-aliased Web but their interface tricks and richness of content stand up well to the average Web site of flat words and a graphical navbar. What makes multimedia--or any other medium--worthwhile is the works produced in it: not just the interface or the technological specifications but the content and the integration of information with computers' capabilities.
Using cautionary tales, Bob Hughes demonstrates how badly planned, badly managed projects rarely produce good results. He goes on to cover creativity and design, thinking about your audience and developing an inspirational title. Dust or Magic explores how we think and learn--not the specifics of programming or editing images. Don't look here for a tutorial or even a catalogue of software tools: This book is about much more fundamental issues. If you have even the slightest interest in creating content on computers you'll find it impossible to putdown. --Penny Jannifer
From the Back Cover
Will your idea turn into Dust or Magic? It's in your hands!
Many creative careers and financial fortunes rest on potentially "breakthrough" digital media projects - which can end in tears, or turn to magic. This innovative book examines, in depth, how to create that magic.
In Dust or Magic, Bob Hughes delves deep beneath the gloss and the hype surrounding multimedia, to reveal the human beings who make the magic, and to show how it happens. The book draws together a wealth of knowledge and experience, with insights from recent science and older creative industries, and reveals the key to designing accomplished interactive computer-based media. It presents a simple, consistent and convincing paradigm for satisfying and successful creative work, and gives practical advice that will save designers from falling into old traps and re-inventing perfectly good wheels.
Dust or Magic is for programmers, writers, artists, animators and interface designers, for the people who teach, lead and hire them, and also for people who simply want to know how human creativity fares in the new, digital age.
If you are embarking on an adventure in multimedia, this great new source book will help you achieve your goals, avoid the pitfalls and meet the challenges you will face.
It will show you how to:
* Ask the crucial questions at the start of your project, making the difference between success and failure
* Harness your time and energy to increase the productivity, effectiveness and enjoyment of your work
* Create and manage small teams with a shared vision founded on trust, respect and self-discipline
* Understand the history of the medium and realize the importance of your place within it