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§ 27.18.8 - Transition Morphing - Frames, Points and Links

§ - Transition Morphing and Frames

When we speak of frames with regard to dual-image or transition morphing, we are referring to the concept that many morphs are intended to be animated. Because of this, the morphs would be performed over a series of intermediate frames where the effect is slightly more complete in each of the frames. For instance, when someone says they are creating a 15-frame dual-image morph, the idea they are conveying is that in frame 15, the morph has fully converted from the starting image to the ending image. In frame 8, the middle frame, the effect would be a 50% mix of both frames, and so on for each intermediate frame. When a sequence of frames are rendered, the "flow" of the surfaces of the images under control of the points and links is apparent as the frames are viewed in series.

When the object of a dual-image morph is a single final image and not a sequence of images, the convention is to assume that the desired image is the middle image of a sequence (of any length). As an example, if Morph has been set for a 15-frame sequence, rendering frame 8 will provide a result with the mix of the two images most obvious.

Morph allows you to choose a frame from anywhere within the currently set sequence length when you render a single frame instead of a sequence of frames. Simply remember that when you are creating a single frame result of a dual-image morph you should set the frame to be rendered to be the middle of the length of the sequence. This is done in the Sequence Controls dialog.

§ - Points

Control Points are used to define the flow of the image surface over the frames of a morph; when the object is one single image instead of a sequence, you should still think of the control points this way - it's just that you're only interested in the middle frame of the sequence. The start point defines the portion of the image that will be moved, and the end point defines the location for that portion of the image for the final frame of the morph. Control Points can be thought of in two ways. First, and most conveniently, as a series of pairs of Control Points, just as you see them in the main dual-window interface. Secondly, you can consider the two Control Points as the endpoints of a path, over which the images must flow to accomplish the changes you are specifying with the Control Points. You can actually see these paths in the Onionskin View window.

Placement of Control Points should be done such that they are deposited at all key corresponding locations on the two image's surfaces. If we take the case of a face as an example, the corners of the eyes and mouth are obvious candidates. In addition, placement of Control Points regularly along the edge of the profile will help control the images more exactly.

Control Points are never discarded by Morph's procedures, even if they are defined in a conflicting manner. For this reason, you need to be careful that you do not place your Control Points in such a way as to cause a conflict — one example of this is when the paths of two Control Points cross each other during the course of a morph. This, and similar situations, will create folding and/or tearing in the image. Often you will find it easy to determine if such a condition exists by observing the paths defined by the endpoints in the Onionskin interface.

Control Points cannot completely restrain an image, because they only exactly control the portion of the images directly underneath where they are placed. Areas of the images which are not directly underneath a Control Point (or an edge) are adjusted according to the motions of the Control Points which are nearest. Even Control Points which are quite far away may add motion to an otherwise uncontrolled region. When a portion of an image needs more exact control, you should use Control Points in conjunction with links or lines/curves, described next.

§ - Links

Links are similar to Points in that they specify movement for the surface of the image. They differ in that they control a much larger region, the entire area exactly under the line. Links also differ in that Morph's morphing procedures may discard a Link under certain circumstances, such as when two Links are defined that cross each other. When creating Links, you should take care to ensure that you do not create a situation like this, as the results are undefined and will result in the images tearing or folding.

Placement of Links should generally be done along lines in the images such as the Links of eyes or a profile. They will restrict the motion of the image's surface such that image data will not be transferred across the line, retaining colors precisely within the regions which are bounded by Links. Most high-quality morphs will use almost as many Links as they do Control Points.

§ - Lines and Curves

Lines and curves, generally referred to as "Objects", are used to specify continuous regions of control and movement. These can be thought of as a nearly infinite amount of Control Points along the specified line. The number of points that actually make up a line can be altered through the Onionskin View interface. Lines/Curves are a quick and easy method of specifying control and movement in a morph, and in many cases, are easier to use than Control Points and Links. However, this does not mean that lines will always produce superior quality over Points and Links. As with Links, you will want to avoid crossing lines and curves. Such crossings will cause image folds or tearing.

§ - Morphing Time

The time it takes Morph to generate output frames is based almost entirely upon the size of the output images in the sequence. Anti-aliasing also adds a certain amount of time to the generation of each frame, again directly proportional to the size of the output image. A small amount of additional time is needed to compute frames that contain custom point-velocity computations. The size of the input images has no effect (and they may even be different resolutions, also with no effect on time); Morph always scales images as needed during operations.

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