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How do I Choose the Best Digital Media Program?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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Digital media is electronic multimedia that can be stored on a computer. It includes digital images, digital audio, digital video, and animation, for example. A digital media program can create digital media, edit digital media, or play digital media and may have other functions as well. It is usually designed for specific operating systems.

For each type of digital media, there is a wide range of software choices for each stage of working with the media, from capture through publication. Choosing the best digital media program involves identifying the type of digital media you want to work with, the operating system you want to work with it on, and what you want to do with the digital media. In addition, the quality you need will determine whether you need a consumer product or a professional product. Only when these four elements are specified can you choose the best digital media program for your purposes. It is worth investing time in assessing the field and trying out demo software, when possible, in order to get the best digital media program for you.

For example, an image from a digital camera could edited in a high-end software program like Adobe® PhotoShop® or its lighter version PhotoShop® Elements. In PhotoShop®, you can do professional editing and use the accompanying module Bridge to organize photographs or view a slideshow. PhotoShop® Elements has fewer editing features, but more possibilities for sharing. Alternatively, you could use options provided with one’s operating system, like Apple® iPhoto — part of iLife® and supplied with many of its computers — or Windows Live™ Photo Gallery a feature of Windows 7® and Windows Vista®. Each of these two latter programs allows you to do simple image editing, as well as organize your photos, create a slide show, email photos, etc.

A digital image does not need to be from a camera. It could be created in Comic Life Magiq® or another drawing program, and in that case the range of programs for creating, editing, and displaying it would be different. It might be headed for page layout software to be combined with digital text and made into an ebook. Or it might be placed into a web design program to become the header of a website.

For an example in another area, digital audio can be created completely on a computer in a program like GarageBand® or created from acoustic audio, recorded directly onto the computer or by other means. Whatever the origins of the sound file, it can be edited in a program like Audacity®, and played or converted to a different format in a program like iTunes®. Alternatively, the digital audio could be created with a professional music notation program like Sibelius®.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth , Writer
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for WiseGeek, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.

Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Oct 22, 2014

I want to make my own digital story book with the option of having it printed later. A friend mentioned that there are media programs for this sort of thing. Apparently, some people use it to make family albums and the such. They prepare it digitally and then print it and give it out to relatives as gifts.

Since I specifically want to make story book though, I'm not sure if any generic media program will work. Does anyone here know about this topic? Do you have any suggestions for me?

By serenesurface — On Oct 22, 2014

@literally45-- Putting text on a photo is fairly easy. I believe you can do that with Paint, which is available on all Windows operating systems.

Cutting and combining images is a little more tricky and you do need an image editing software or program for that. I don't use Photoshop but it's probably possible to do it on Photoshop. When I had a blog, I used GIMP, another image manipulation software.

Also keep in mind that it takes a little while to get a hang of these various software programs. It's important to have directions and if the software is available for free, it might not come with a manual.

So if you want something with a manual and easy to use, you might want to invest in a professional software rather than a free one.

By literally45 — On Oct 21, 2014

What is the best way to put text on a photo? And how can I cut and combine multiple images? Which digital media program can do both?

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth


Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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