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Dust or Magic: Secrets of Successful Multimedia Design [Paperback]

Bob Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Nov 1999 0201360713 978-0201360714 1

Dust or Magic provides a simple, consistent and convincing paradigm for satisfying and successful creative work. Drawing together a wealth of knowledge and experience Dust or Magic reveals the key to designing accomplished interactive computer-based media. It will show you how to:

  • ask the crucial questions at the start of a project
  • increase the productivity, effectiveness and enjoyment of your work
  • create and manage small teams
  • understand the history of the medium and your place within it.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (9 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201360713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201360714
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 17 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,600,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
> very readable and clearly knowledgeable
> provides relevant background to the present multimedia phenomenon
> gives clear advice about how to improve your chances of successful multimedia development
> concentrating on creativity rather than the technology

ben hyde (multimedia researcher)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that truly lives up to its title! 25 Jan 2002
By A Customer
It is difficult to describe this book, in relation to other design books, as it offers a unique perspective on designing and building multimedia applications. It is not a technical "how to do it" type book. It offers insite into why various approaches do, or do not work. It also offers a fascinating look at the history of multimedia and the pioneers in the field.
I wish I had read it before I started work in the new-media industry.
I rate the book so highly that I have made it recommended reading on two units that I run as a university lecturer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my life 30 Nov 1999
By Glenn Thomas Davis - Published on Amazon.com
I am an art director for an ad agency, and I design web sites. I discovered this brilliant book at the perfect time. It has made me a better designer and re-awakened my passion for what I do. This small volume is not simply a great design resource: it delves remarkably deeply into the philosophical, spiritual and even political dimensions of design, showing how and why we must infuse the work we do with heart and soul. And lest I make it sound airy-fairy, it's not; It's rigorous, practical and muscular, with not a wasted sentence. And fun to read, too. Bravo.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it in the bath. 30 Jan 2000
By damien cola - Published on Amazon.com
I know a bit of the history of interactive media, but the more I learn the more I see I don't know nothing. Well this book is helpful on the historical side, because it is talking about the people who do the things. It is helpful also when the third part of the book talk about the creative process, and how to defend yourself against people like bad managers, annoying customers and other supicious bosses.. By giving you some hints on what to replay, when somebody tells you "what ? you're doing nothing but thinking for about an hour and you still have no idea ! hurry up!" And finally, I liked reading the book, because you don't have to be in front of a computer to test examples or whatever, this book is CD-free and is proper to go on vacation, or to offer a friend or to read in the bath... I forgot, but there are also lots of internet links to deeper informations on every topics discussed in the book, well if you like reading a book in front of your computer, you also can. Like the bible, it is a book that you can read more than once..
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just multimedia 20 Oct 2004
By Will - Published on Amazon.com
An exceptional book on the creative process in the IT sector, and how to make the process productive.

Despite the title and the editorial here on Amazon, it's much more than design or history of multimedia; it gives an excellent view of the priorities of human/artifact interactions (software or doorknobs), and highlights many ways of getting much more out of IT than most systems achieve.

The 'stuffed dog' analogy is one of the most serious criticisms of the current attitude toward human-computer interactions that I've heard.
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