Universities of Aberdeen, Leeds & St Andrews
Selective use of animations and video sequences can enhance CAL material and aid the understanding of difficult topics. Incorporation of high quality animated graphics has become relatively easy using readily available software and hardware on both Windows based IBM PCs and Macintosh computers. The presentation of animations and video clips within CAL packages can be elegantly controlled by either Asymetrix Toolbook or Hypercard Stacks and the application of conversion programs confers cross platform compatibility.
Simple animations can be made up from a series of graphic images, prepared with the aid of a drawing package, and streamed together, controlling both frame rate and file compression using either Video for Windows or Quicktime for Macintosh. Quicktime animations can be readily converted into Video for Windows format using the conversion utility provided with the program. Alternatively PC based bitmaps can be converted into Mac file format and Quicktime used to generate the Mac compatible animation. Video sequences can be captured using proprietary video cards such as Video Spigot or Videoblaster and converted into digitised video clips in the same way as the simple animations. Short simple animations, without sound, typically compress to less than 1Mbyte, whereas complex video sequences of ca 2 minutes duration, with sound, give file sizes of about 4Mb. Animations and video clips prepared in this way do not require any special hardware to run on the host microcomputer.
Examples of the incorporation into CAL material of these types of animations and video sequences can be seen in the MacCycle Menstrual Cycle Database. The Macintosh version has been written using Hypercard Stacks and the Windows PC version written with Asymetrix Toolbook. In both cases the programs allow simultaneous operation of up to three "movies", which run synchronously, and illustrate the principal hormonal and histological changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. Other types of animation are illustrated in the BioNet BMS Toolbook Tutorial. The rotating molecular model of capsaicin ("the orifice burner") was produced from a series of "snapshot" bitmaps obtained from a molecular modelling program. The bitmaps were then loaded into Video for Windows to produce the animation of the molecules rotating . The animation is presented and controlled from within Toolbook.
Image and Animation Gallery
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