Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers

1C: How Media Work

So you have an assignment to complete, and your instructor is open and encourages you to chose any genre or format you like to get your work done.  Should you make a magazine, a film, a poster, a podcast, a website, or a mobile application?  How can you pick the best genre, format, and media approach when it’s up to you to choose?

You might decide to look for inspiration in examples of other work that seem like they might be ideal for the assignment.  Or you might approach this choice more strategically and ask:

Which genre or media format seems like a tight fit for this situation?

To figure out if a particular media is a good fit, you might browse the menu of choices at the beginning of this introductory chapter (Section 1A).  Each one of those choices is linked to a specific chapter that follows.  Each chapter explains how an individual genre/format/media “works” in greater detail, which can help you make the right choices.

In general, each media format has its own advantages and disadvantages that emerge from its fundamental nature -- it’s “DNA,” so to speak.  For example, the “DNA” of film/video is the relationship of an audio track linked with a visual track and structured along a timeline.  This linear, chronological dimension of film/video means that it is a good way to tell a story, but it might not be such a good way to convey dense, complicated information.

By comparison, the “DNA” of a book or magazine is made of printed text and still images, which can contain lots of information that is much easier than a film to browse-through forward and backward. But a conventional book or magazine is silent in its DNA, whereas a film/video allows voices and music to create a greater sense of human presence and personality, in most cases.

The “DNA” of a website allows for the collection and composition of lots of “chunks” or “nodes” of information and media.  Thus, it’s a good way to connect an array of ideas, images, and media, but it’s not as effective as a video/film for telling a coherent story in a consistent voice.

Each of the following chapters defines and explores each major media/genre/format in a way that can help you not only select the right approach in the first place, but also make wise choices for working within whatever media you chose.  Adobe Creative Cloud is designed to help you make such choices wisely and easily.  In fact, the interface (see Chapter 2) for each Adobe application is based upon the nature and the “DNA” of each media format, which means that as you are creating and producing your work in Creative Cloud, you are also developing media awareness and digital literacy.

When you create media, you come to better understand how media work.

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