VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Multimodal Assignments

Choosing a Medium

What kind of project will you make? Choose a medium that best conveys the information that you want to share. Your medium, or the type of project, will include all of your modes. Some possible options are presentations, websites, essays, videos, comic strips, collages, and art installations. 

 

 

The Workshop, located on the lower level of Cabell Library, has a variety of resources to help create creative projects. Students can borrow equipment to create their own content and access all of the paid software listed below on the computer workstations. The Workshop also has helpful staff on hand to assist.

Images

Image or photo-based projects can take many forms. Some projects might need to be a photo-essay while others are made into an infographic. You might use these image resources as part of your project but ultimately choose a different medium, like presentation or web-project.

 

Image Resources

 

Image Software

 
 
Video Tutorial
Text Tutorial
GIMP (Free -  ): Free, open-source graphics editor used for image editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats and more.
Adobe Photoshop ( -  ): Pixel (raster) graphics creator and editor from Adobe. Photoshop is used more for photo projects, as well as video graphics, banner ads and webpages. You should not make logos or set type in Photoshop. Available on computers in The Workshop.
Adobe Illustrator ( -  ): Vector graphics creator and editor from Adobe. Illustrator is used more for creating logos, graphics, cartoons and fonts. Vector graphics are scalable images that can be sized as small or as large as you need, and still maintain their resolution and clarity. Available on computers in The Workshop.
Canva (Free -  ): Free graphic-design tool website
PowerPoint ( -  ): Many people use PowerPoint as a way to create large posters like infographics or academic posters. Just change the slide size to the desired print size (maximum 56" x 56").

Presentation

Presentation software can be used for many different types of projects. Create a visual presentation that will accompany a talk or create a more robust presentation that functions similar to a video. Presentation software can even be used to make photo essays. For help creating a record presentation, refer also to the video section of this guide.
 

Presentation Resources

Presentation Software

 
 
Video Tutorial
Text Tutorial
Google Slides (Free -  ): Popular cloud-based presentation software. Good option for collaborating with others on a project.
Powerpoint ( -  ): Still the most-used presentation builder, though popularity has decreased. More complex and robust than Slides, which leads to a larger learning curve. Allows you to export as a video.
Prezi (Free -  ): Create highly visual and interactive presentations that can be displayed non-linearly.

Video

There are many video editing programs, some free and some that cost money. Our favorite free video editing program is VideoPad, which is what we recommend for most class projects and people new to video editing. Our favorite professional software is Adobe Premiere Pro, which is available on all of the computers in The Workshop.
 

Video Resources

Video Software

 
 
Video Tutorial
Text Tutorial
VideoPad (Free -  ) - a video editing application developed by NCH Software for the home and professional market. Our favorite free video editor. Download the PC version / Mac version
Quicktime (Free - ) - Quicktime comes free on Mac computers and can be used to record video or sound easily.  
iMovie (Free - ) - a video editing software application included on most Apple computers (often must be purchased separately for tablet devices). iMovie can only include two layers of audio and video but is still very powerful and can support green screen editing. 
Windows Movie Maker (Free - ) - a video editing application included on most Windows machines and devices. It was officially discontinued in January 2017, however, can still be found on most computers running Windows 7 or 10. It is extremely limited and can only support one video and audio track at a time. 
Adobe Premiere Pro ( -   ) - This is a professional editing software that has a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning but is extremely powerful. It can be accessed on the Video Editing machines in The Workshop or purchased through a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Our favorite video editing program.
Final Cut Pro X ( - ) - This is a professional editing software that is a little more accessible than Adobe Premiere, but only available on Apple machines. It can be accessed in The Workshop or purchased through the Apple App Store.

Audio

There are many sound editing software available, most of which fall under the label of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Basic sound editing is possible in most video editing programs. Reaper is our favorite free sound editing software.
 

Audio Resources

Audio Software

 
 
Video Tutorial
Text Tutorial
Reaper (Free -  ): All the editing and power of a very expensive editing program (i.e. Pro Tools) but at a much more affordable price. Free to try, with no limitations or time-limit on the length of the trial.
Audacity (Free -  ): Buggy audio program, widely used but tends to crash often    
Anchor (Free -  ): Broadcasting app that makes recording and sharing audio podcasts extremely easy    
Adobe Audition ( -   ): Adobe Creative Suite’s sound editing program, which is simple to use for beginners but is still very sophisticated with lots of great features. Audition has an excellent and powerful noise reduction plug-in that does wonders for noisy recordings.

Website

Composing for the web and making websites can be a rewarding way to explore multimodality. There are many tools available for you to build a webpage at any skill level. You might already be familiar with Ram Pages, VCU's blog system run by WordPress. 
 

Web Resources

Web Software

 
 
Video Tutorial
Text Tutorial
Ram Pages (Free -  ): Ram Pages runs on WordPress, which is began as blogging software but has expanded to supporting website creation.
Google Sites (Free -  ): Simple, easy-to-use webpage builder. Good for collaborative projects between multiple editors. Good option for photo essays.
Wix (Free -  ): Free, easy-to-use website builder with great designs and support
Weebly (Free -  ): Free, easy-to-use website builder with good e-Commerce tools