Those who find art intriguing always have a reason to go back to artwork dating back to eras long gone. Back then, visual arts was the only form of art in existence. The charm of multimedia art was nonexistent. Humans primarily focused on painting, sculpture, and architecture to communicate their art. Symbols were commonly used to show aesthetic value. They were also a form of communication. As man advanced technologically, so did art mediums. Soon, photography became a reality. The first photograph ever was developed using a paper negative in 1839. Almost 50 years later, folks discovered they could pull sequential photographs through a projector, essentially exhibiting them as a “film.”
Multimedia art formally gained traction with the development of film technology. Although initially, in the late 19th century, what was screened were “silent movies” – motion pictures without sound – the breakthrough in combining sound and motion came in 1927 when Warner’s released the first feature film, complete with sound and singing. The movies of the season were referred to as talkies, no kidding!
Multimedia art was on a roll. But it didn’t hit the ground at speed until the invention of the computer. In 1927 still, the first demonstration of TV was done. In black and white, all right, but at least there were moving pictures and sound. Disney was so inspired by the promising progression of things that it developed the first animation, Steamboat Willie, in 1928, with a complete synchronized soundtrack.
By this time, sound discs were in existence, as was optical sound recording. The magnetic tape recording was introduced in 1932, quickly followed by the voice coder in 1933. In 1937, the first full-length cartoon was released. It was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The color TV was developed in 1940, with the first network broadcast using videotape launched in 1956 by CBS.
1979 saw the introduction of the first commercial video game, PONG. At this point, the Fourth Generation Computer, developed by IBM, was in place. Hoff developed the Intel 40004 chip in 1971 and people could now own computers. Lots of good things happened in the multimedia world between 1981 and 1990. First was the development of MS-DOS. Then Lotus 1-2-3 software that could directly write directly in the video system of the computer. The first computer-generated graphics were introduced by Disney in “Tron” in 1981. Then came 3D graphics in 1988. This was also the year when a computer-animated film, “Tin Toy” from Pixar, won an Academy Award for the first time.
Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML in 1991, and from there the World Wide Web was born. When the Internet was opened up in 1993, it opened the gates for an explosion in the multimedia art to levels not imagined before. Today, multimedia art uses the latest technologies to combine animation, still images, audio, video, text, interactivity, and traditional art forms like sculpture and painting. It’s projected to keep growing in the foreseeable future, with multimedia artists now a standard part of the workforce in media, advertising, architectural, tech and web design companies.
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