Software has replaced a diverse array of physical, mechanical, and electronic technologies used before 21st century to create, store, distribute and interact with cultural artifacts. It has become our interface to the world, to others, to our memory and our imagination - a universal language through which the world speaks, and a universal engine on which the world runs. What electricity and combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. Offering the the first theoretical and historical account of software for media authoring and its effects on the practice and the very concept of 'media,' the author of The Language of New Media (2001) develops his own theory for this rapidly-growing, always-changing field.
What was the thinking and motivations of people who in the 1960 and 1970s created concepts and practical techniques that underlie contemporary media software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Final Cut and After Effects? How do their interfaces and tools shape the visual aesthetics of contemporary media and design? What happens to the idea of a 'medium' after previously media-specific tools have been simulated and extended in software? Is it still meaningful to talk about different mediums at all? Lev Manovich answers these questions and supports his theoretical arguments by detailed analysis of key media applications such as Photoshop and After Effects, popular web services such as Google Earth, and the projects in motion graphics, interactive environments, graphic design and architecture. Software Takes Command is a must for all practicing designers and media artists and scholars concerned with contemporary media.
Lev Manovich is the author of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (2005), and The Language of New Media (2001) which was described as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." Manovich is a Professor at CUNY Graduate Center, a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and a Visiting Professor at European Graduate School.
Introduction PART 1: Inventing Media Software Chapter 1. Alan Kay's Universal Media Machine Chapter 2. Understanding Metamedia PART 2: Hybridization and Evolution Chapter 3: Hybridization Chapter 4. Soft Evolution PART 3: Software in Action Chapter 5. Media Design Conclusion Index