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§ 27.18.1 - The User Interface

We'll begin with a concise description of what we mean by morphing in a technical sense, followed by an overview of the controls in Morph, and then go immediately into a pair of tutorials designed to get you going quickly.

Once you've been through the tutorials and have a basic understanding of how the morphing works, you can begin exploring all of the extra-special morphing techniques and tools available!

§ - What Morphing Means:

The concept of "morphing images" has two meanings in Morph:

  1. Distorting a single image into a new image using positional control information supplied by the user. This is commonly known as warping an image, or warp morphing.
  2. Combining distortions of two images to form a new image, using color information from both source images, along with positional control information supplied by the user. This is known as transition morphing.

Morphing can also be taken generally to mean the generation of a sequence of images using either method 1 or 2 as just discussed, instead of just a single image. Such a sequence provides a continuous (or as nearly so as possible) change from one image to the other when these images are played back in real time as in a video or a movie. If a sequence of images is desired as morph output, then the user can supply a second control element, timing, in addition to the positional controls.

One further extension of these ideas is that of Motion Morphing. The idea here is to create a series of morphs from a varying sequence of input images. An example of this would be two sets of 30 frames of two different people walking down a street, where the desired effect is to have one person change into the other during the (moving) 30 frames.

This requires that you provide the two complete sets of images to be used as input to the morphing tools and then specify the control information that is needed to control the morph in a realistic manner. This is perhaps the type of morph with the greatest complexity. It requires the most from the user in terms of setting up the input images for the best results, and then specifying the proper control information to the software.

Motion morphing is not suggested for new users of Morph.

The morphing capability implemented in Morph provides the tools to generate individual frames as needed, or a sequence of frames to your specifications using either of the two basic methods. Series of frames may be generated from either static (non-moving) images, or from sequences of pairs of images as motion morphs.

When using Morph to generate morphs from static images, you have excellent control over the three most important factors in the process:

  • Geometry - Localized positional changes of the image surface
  • Velocity - Rate of change of each localized positional change
  • Colorimetry - Transparency changes between two images

When using Morph to generate motion morphs, in addition to the above three elements of the morph, you also have control over the following additional issue:

  • Tweening - Automatic generation of control information for frames in which you have not specifically defined controls.

As mentioned previously, there are two kinds of morphing available in Morph - single image (warp) morphing and dual image morphing. It is suggested that you begin with the Warp Morphing Tutorial, and look at the Transistion Morphing Tutorial after that.

§ - The Tools:

There are four separate groups of tools and controls in Morph. Each of these groups contributes to creating morphed images and sequences. These groups are: The Pull Down Menus, The Icon Tool Bar, The Toolbox, and The FilmStrip. Each of the four tools are described below.

§ - The Pull Down Menus:

The Pull Down Menus contain many settings and controls used for file manipulation, point control, morphed animation creation, the FilmStrip, and the display. Clicking on any of the menu titles will access the contents of that menu. Each of these menus, and their contents, are discussed in further detail in the sections on pull down menus. The Pull Down Menus are:

§ - File:

The File menu is used for all loading and saving of single images. This panel also contains controls for specifying the Output Color Reduction (image output palette), and project loading and saving. All output sequences are controlled through the Sequence Controls panel in the Generate menu. Points: The Objects menu allows you to load, save, and delete the current point set. It is important to remember that selecting the Delete points... option from the Objects menu will delete all of the current points. These points can be retrieved unless the point set is saved prior to being deleted.

§ - Generate:

The Generate menu contains options for generating the output of a sequence of morphed frames. The Sequence Controls option allows you to specify the output file type, name, resolution, and the total number of frames. This menu also offers two methods of generating morphed output - As a sequence of frames or as a single output image. The Generate menu also contains all of the controls for setting up and creating Motion Morphs. Display: This menu contains options for setting the display characteristics for the program, images, and objects. Morph will automatically detect the best display mode for your system. It is possible to change this to another display mode, but this is generally not necessary. You can also alter the display color of selected and unselected objects in the display panel. Once you have selected the object color to modify, Morph will automatically present you with the Color Selection Dialog. You can then select the desired color using the provided color selection tools. (Press Here to view more information on the color selection dialog.)

§ - Settings:

The Settings menu allows you to specify the type of morph, and any special Transparency or Velocity Curves for your morphing sequence. The morph type refers to the Warp Morph and Transition Morph options in this menu. These two selections will set the default transparency curve that is used. If Transition Morph is selected, then a default ramped transparency curve will be used. If Warp Morph is selected, then no transparency curve will be applied. The Velocity and Transparency options allow you to edit existing curves, or create new curves for the transparency and velocity of a morph. These curves can then be applied to various objects (lines, points, and links). You can even assign a specific velocity or transparency curve for an entire level in the morph.

§ - Filmstrip:

The Filmstrip menu contains several option related to sizing, loading, and saving FilmStrip. Each of these options is discussed in greater detail in the FilmStrip documentation section. It is important to remember that morph sequences should generally be saved in the desired animation format using the Sequence Controls' Save Result option. Saving a FilmStrip as an animation format requires more memory and time than simply saving the frames as they are generated.

§ - Help:

The Help menu will access the Morph help documentation. There are several options for accessing different manual section and tutorials. You can access specific help for the icon tool bar and dialogs by placing the cursor over the item you wish to view help on, and then press the F1 key. This will automatically open the manual to the correct section. In some cases it will be necessary to scroll down the page to find the desired information.

See Also: Pull Down Menus

§ - The Icon Tool Bar:

The Icon Tool Bar contains many of the tools needed to manipulate points, lines, and links. The icons available are:

§ - Delete:

The Delete icon allows you to delete the currently selected point, line, or object. The current object will appear as a different color from all other objects. This color can be set using the Set Selected Color... option in the Display menu. You can change the current object by pressing the left or right cursor keys. Once the object to be deleted is selected, press this button or Del to delete the object. It is important to remember that once an object has been deleted it cannot be retrieved. If you accidentally delete an object from a saved points file, simply reload the points file, and replace the current point set.

§ - Link:

A Link is used to connect control objects in a morph. Links differ from Lines and Points in that the Link is not a "hard" control element. This menus that a line or a Point will not allow image information to move beyond the point or line. Links, on the other hand, will allow image information to move beyond their position. Thus, Links should mainly be used to connect Lines and Points, and not to define specific control. The Links button is an On/Off state button. This means that Links can only be placed when the button is in the On position, and you can stop placing links by clicking the Links button again.

§ - Point Curve:

Sets the velocity or transparency curve assignment for the currently selected point or line. It is important to remember that this is the only way to specify a transparency or velocity curve for a control line. You cannot specify separate transparency or velocity information for the same line. For example, you cannot specify the top half of a line as an early transparency curve, and the bottom half as a late transparency curve. The entire line must be either the late or the early transparency setting.

§ - Group Curve:

After clicking this button, Morph will ask for either Velocity or Transparency to be set. Draw a rectangle on either the start or end images. The program will then present a list of velocity or transparency curves. All points that lie within the rectangle you drew will be assigned to the selected curve. All points which are assigned to this curve will be redrawn with a red outline. Note: You cannot use this option to specify a transparency or velocity curve for a control line or curve. Velocity and transparency information can be set for lines and curves through the Point Curve option.

§ - Bound Curve:

After clicking this button, Morph will ask for either Velocity or Transparency to be set. Draw an arbitrary shape on either the start or end images. The program will then present a list of velocity or transparency curves. All points that lie within the shape you drew will be assigned to the selected curve. All points which are assigned to this curve will be redrawn with a red outline. Note: You cannot use this option to specify a transparency or velocity curve for a control line or curve. Velocity and transparency information can be set for lines and curves through the Point Curve option.

§ - Set Layer:

The Layer button in the tool bar allows you to specify control objects into layers of control. You may be wondering what a layer even is, and how it can benefit your morph sequence. Layers and layering allow you to separate various objects from the rest of the morph, and morph them independent of objects not in the same layer. For example, the Bounce motion morph project uses two layers. The first layer (also known as the Base Layer) contains no control objects, and is essentially the background of the motion morph frames. The second layer contains 1 object (the circle and square outlines), which is place above the background. When the morph is generated, the base layer is created first, and then any subsequent layers that have been specified. In this case there is only one other layer, so it is created and placed on top of the base layer. The overall effect is the ball morphing into the square without ever altering the background information. In previous releases of the software, this functionality was not available. Users had to specify more control points and lines to keep the background from moving. Layering eliminates the need for these "holding points."

§ - Animate:

This displays the FilmStrip if it is not already displayed and starts it animating. Clicking on the button again will stop the animation.

§ - Zoom/Negative Zoom:

The Zoom/Negative Zoom button is broken into two sections. The top right section of the icon allows you to access the zoom tool, and the bottom left side of the icon allows you to access the negative zoom tool. After pressing the Zoom button, morph will alter the cursor to look like a magnifying glass. You can then draw a rectangle on either the Start, End, or Result images. The area inside the rectangle will be zoomed to fill the entire window. If you simply click in the view window, morph will do a 2X zoom with the center of the zoom being where you initially clicked.

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