Morphing

From Academic Kids

Morphing is a special effect used in motion pictures and animations. It involves creating a transition that is as seamless as possible from one image to another. Most often it is used to depict one person turning into another through some magical or technological means or as part of a fantasy or surreal sequence. Traditionally such a depiction would be achieved through cross-fading techniques on film. Since the early 1990s this has been replaced by computer software to create more realistic transitions.

In early feature films a morph would be achieved by cross-fading from the motion picture of one actor or object to another. Because of the limitations of this technique the actors or objects would have to stay virtually motionless in front of a background that did not change or move in the frame between the before and after shots.

Later more sophisticated cross-fading techniques were employed that faded different parts of one image to the other gradually instead of fading the entire image at once. This style of morphing was perhaps most famously employed in the video former 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (performing as Godley & Creme) produced in 1985 for their song Cry. It consisted of a series of black and white close-up shots of faces of many different people that gradually faded from one to the next.

In the early-1990s computer techniques that often produced more convincing results began to be widely used. These involved distorting one image at the same time that it faded into another through marking corresponding points and vectors on the "before" and "after" images used in the morph. For example, one would morph one face into another by marking key points on the first face, such as the countour of the nose or location of an eye, and mark where these same points existed on the second face. The computer would then distort the first face to have the shape of the second face at the same time that it faded the two faces.

This technique appeared notably in 1991 in the Michael Jackson music video Black Or White and in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The first application for personal computers to offer morphing was ImageMaster for the Amiga (which was later renamed WinImages when it was ported to Windows) in 1992. Other programs became widely available within a year, and for a time the effect became common to the point of clich.

Morphing software continues to advance today and many programs can automatically morph images that correspond closely enough with relatively little instruction from the user. This has led to the use of morphing techniques to create convincing slow-motion effects where none existed in the original film or video footage by morphing between each individual frame. Morphing has also appeared as a transition technique between one scene and another in television shows, even if the contents of the two images are entirely unrelated. The software in this case attempts to find corresponding points between the images and distort one into the other as they crossfade. In effect morphing has replaced the use of crossfading as a transition in some television shows, though crossfading was originally used to produce morphing effects.

See also

nl:Morphing ja:モーフィング

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