Application-specific constraints for multimedia presentation generation
A multimedia presentation can be viewed as a collection of multimedia items (such as image, text, video and audio), along with detailed information that describes the spatial and temporal placement of the items as part of the presentation. Manual multimedia authoring involves explicitly stating the placement of each media item in the spatial and temporal dimensions. The drawback of this approach is that resulting presentations are hard to adapt to different target platforms, network resources, and user preferences. An approach to solving this problem is to abstract from the low-level presentation details, for example by specifying the high-level semantic relations between the media items. The presentation itself can then be generated from the semantic relations along with a generic set of transformation rules, specifying how each semantic relation can be conveyed using multimedia constructs. These constructs may differ depending on the target platform, current network conditions or user preferences. We are thus able to automatically adapt the presentation to a wide variety of different circumstances while ensuring that the underlying message of the presentation remains the same. This approach requires an execution environment in which transformation rules, resulting in a set of constraints, are derived from a given semantic description. The resulting set of constraints can then be solved to create a final multimedia presentation. The paper describes the design and implementation of such a system. It explains the advantages of using constraint logic programming to realize the implementation of both the transformation rules and the constraints system. It also demonstrates the need for two different types of constraints. Quantitative constraints are needed to verify whether the final form presentation meets all the numeric constraints that are required by the environment. Qualitative constraints are needed to facilitate high-level reasoning and presentation encoding. While the quantitative constraints can be handled by off-the-shelf constraint solvers, the qualitative constraints needed are specific to the multimedia domain and need to be defined explicitly.