Chapter 10. Add Pictures, Video, Sound, and Special Effects to Your Website
IN THIS CHAPTER:
57 Add a Picture to Your Page
58 Add Pictures to Tables
59 Align Images Without Tables
60 Add a Flash Animation to Your Page
61 Add a Video to Your Page
62 Add Sounds to Your Page
63 Add an Animated GIF to Your Page
You have the tools to create basic web pages in Netscape . In this chapter, you are going to learn how to insert sounds, moving images (including Flash animations), and video into your pages. For the most part, your content should stand by itself and not need all the bells and whistles; but if the bells and whistles are the content you are trying to show off on your page (such as videos or songs) you'll need to know how to use them.
There are a lot of media file choices you can make for your site, but we won't cover all of them here because they change every month. The basic media types, though, are GIF and JPEG images; animated GIF files; Flash animations; QuickTime and Windows Media Player movies; and MP3, Real Audio , and WAV sound files.
GIF and JPEG (or JPG ) files account, for all intents and purposes, for all the still pictures on the Web. GIF files are mainly used for images that need hard edges and have few colors (such as buttons and cartoons), whereas JPEG files are generally used for photographs and images without hard edges. In general, both image formats will work for most things, and most applications you use for graphics will produce either format. Try both sorts of images and stick with the format you like until you find a reason to use the other.
Animated GIF files are simply sets of GIF images that are played in sequence one after another like frames in a film. Animated GIFs are generally very short and small in area in the browser, because each frame of the animation adds download time. GIF animations don't have any sound.
Flash files are very slick animations that use a number of components , like sound and pictures. These animations can be programmed to have complex behaviors such as being able to link to other programs like a database. In other words, with Flash files, you have more than dancing penguins ; you have a full-featured language that can make your website visually impressive and completely responsive to customer needs for information. Flash animations are created in Macromedia Flash or are generated at online services. To view a Flash animation, your viewers must have the Flash plug-in in their browsers. This is rarely a problem, though, because about 98% of browsers have the plug-in installed.
Apple QuickTime and Microsoft Windows Media Player are plug-ins that enable your viewers to view full-motion video on your page. Creating QuickTime or Windows Media Player video requires using one of many authoring tools, or bringing in video from a digital video or camera that can create QuickTime or Windows Media Player files. Your viewers will need to have either the QuickTime or Windows Media Player applications installed on their machines to view the videos.
MP3, RealAudio , and WAV sound files can be embedded into your pages or you can link to them. Sound files such as video clips can be very large, so you want to use them sparingly or have links to them so that you can let people choose to listen or not.
Whatever you do to add media to your pages, be judicious. The more you add to the page, the larger it gets, the longer it takes to download the page, and the more distracting it can become to the viewer. When you design, try to remember that you have to balance the cool stuff with your viewers' ability to wait for it to download and to tolerate your taste.