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§ 27.18.9 - Transition Morphing - In Motion

§ - Overview

To perform a motion morph, Morph requires that you...

  1. Completely specify the two streams of images which are to be contained in that morph...
  2. Set up the points for two (or more) key frames, and ...
  3. Specify how the Objects will be applied to the sequence of frames.

When you begin, there are two options;

  1. Load a project file, created from a previous session with the motion morph operations, or...
  2. Select the Motion Morph option in the Generate menu.

If this is a new project:

  1. Specify the number of frames in the project
  2. Choose the Motion start frames, and the Motion end frames using the option provided for that in the Generate menu.
  3. Set the current frame value in the Sequence Controls dialog to 1, and select Done. (You may get a message about the Points or Objects not being defined for this frame; that is correct, you have not yet done that — the software is simply warning you that you have work to do for this frame.)

Now, set up the control Objects for the first frame. When you have these Objects set up to your satisfaction, select the Save Objects option from the Objects menu.

Now, set the current frame value to the last frame in the sequence, and press Done. This will load the images for the final frame in the sequence. Modify the existing control Objects to the new positions without adding or deleting any control Objects, and save these Objects under another name.


Once you have set up the initial control Objects, you'll want to be careful not to add any new Objects or points to the motion morph, or delete any that already exist. All tween frame control sets should be created by adjusting the existing control Object set.

This means that when you design a motion morph, you should plan out what control Objects you will need for all the frames when you define the Objects for the very first frame.

If you decide change the number of Objects in a control set by either adding or deleting Objects, you will then have to replace every other control set in the motion morph as well, so that all control sets have the same number of Objects. This is turn means that you'll be re-adjusting every Object in the new set. Basically, you'll almost be starting over. So try to place all the control Objects you'll need in the first frame.

If things change so much that you are sure to need different types of control Objects over the duration of the motion morph, then you should build it as two (or more) separate motion morphs instead of a single one. In the end, all the resulting frames can be combined into a single coherent output stream.

The two sets of control Objects you initially create (for the first and last frames) may be enough to completely run your motion morph, if the images are moving in a very straight line. Morph will produce automatic "tweens" for frames where you don't specify control Objects. If the motion in the subject matter is non-linear, you'll also need to set up one or more intermediate key frames. If you need to add one or more key frames, you can do so now, or you can add more control Objects later.

Creating intermediate control sets, "key frames":

  1. Go to the Sequence Controls dialog and enter the current frame number for the frame you want to set the controls for. Click OK.
  2. Go to the Objects menu and select Load Objects. Load the Object set that is closest to the frame you're working on.
  3. Adjust the Objects to match the current subject matter.
  4. Save the Objects under a new name (typically, one would want to put the frame number in the file name so it is easy to identify when control Object file goes with which frame.)

This process can now be carried out for any or all of the intermediate frames (think: more key frames = more accurate control). You must have at least the first and last frame Object set before you can generate a motion morph.

Now that you have the point sets for the frames, you need to tell Morph how to use the Objects.

This is done by selecting the Generate menu's Specify Motion Point Files option. This will present you with a dialog that is similar to the start image dialog. The difference is that you will be specifying Object files instead of images, and you have the option to tween or skip a frame.

On the right hand side of the dialog you will see a text line that reads (if this is a 30-frame motion morph): At 1 have 0 need 30.

This status line tells you the current position of the frame value, how frames you have specified, and how many frames need to be specified. In the example above the highlight bar is at the frame one position, no object files have been specified, and there are a total of 30 frames to specify. You should also notice that there are buttons to specify a new entry, remove an entry, skip a frame value or tween a frame value.

You need to select control Object files for the start and end, and all other frames are a tween or skip frame.

If a frame specifies a control Object file, then that frame will use the control Objects exactly as specified.

If a frame contains a tween listing, then the software will tween the previous set of Objects to a new position based on the next set of Objects and how many frames are between them. For example, in the "bounce" project the first frame is specified by an Object file, and then frame 2, 3, and 4 are tweened to frame five which contains its own control Object set. This sequence of instructions tells morph to use the first set of Objects for frame one, and then interpolate for frames 2,3, and 4 from the original position in frame on to the new object position in frame 5. In this manner you can get a wide range of motion with a few sets of Objects.

A Skip frame tells the software to use the last set of Objects specified. This means that a Skip frame will use the previous frames Object information regardless if it is an object file or a tween frame. This can be used to show a slight pause in animation, or at the end of an animation to add an extra frame that uses the previous Objects (as in the bounce example).

After you have completed the task of choosing control Object sets, or selecting tween or skip for each

frame in the sequence, select the OK button, and then save the project from the file menu.

§ - Going back and changing frame specifications

You use the the list in the Specify Motion Point Files dialog to do this. First you delete the current specification for the frame, then you add back the new specification which replaces the one you deleted.

The list in the dialog works as follows:

To delete a tween or other previously existing item, click on the item and click Remove Entry. The list will now be "one short" of the specifications it needs to run the motion morph.

To add back the new frame control, click on the frame previous to the one you want to add. For example, if you deleted frame four, and you want to put new control Objects in for frame four, you would now click on frame three and click on Specify File. This will add the new control file after frame three, making the new controls frame four.

§ - How motion morphs work:

Motion morphs are controlled by a special project file. This file contains the names of all the images that are involved in the morph; as well as the names of any sets of Objects that are defined (by you) for any of the frames. The minimum information in one of these files would be the names of all the frames, and the point file names for the starting and ending frames. Using this information, Morph can determine the likely positions for all frames for which you did not specify the control points in an exact manner (these are called "tweens.")

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