Thursday, June 16, 2005


About two or three months ago, I scoured the web for freeware/shareware morphing programs. I found three: Morphbuster, Morpheus and SqirlzMorph. I remember each having distinct advantages and disadvantages but Morphbuster and Morpheus are crippled shareware (e.g. they limit the number of morphs, or they place a title over the morph until you register, etc.). SqirlzMorph had a frustrating interface but was free so I went with it (note that this was the third morphing program I had used so some of the interface issues were solved simply by applying things I had learned from past experience).

Steps I used in SqirlzMorph:

1. Resize images in Adobe Photoshop taking careful note to line up the morphable object between all images -- this is essential. You can resize the images in SqirlzMorph too I think but it doesn't give you as much control to crop images so that the objects are in the same place across multiple images.
2. Open SqirlzMorph, drag your first two morph images into the interface. Maximize the SqirlzMorph interface.
3. Click the icon that shows six blue tiles in the toolbox on the left side of the SqirlzMorph interface. This will arrange your images to fill up the SqirlzMorph window.
4. OK, now we're ready to begin setting morph points. Morph points tell the software algorithm where one set of pixels in the first image translates to one set of pixels in the second image. The more morph points you place and the more accurate you place them, the better the morph will look. All morphing software that I found, used this same basic concept. Go back to that toolbox on the left side of the SqirlzMorph window, and select the icon with the black arrow AND the green plus. This will allow you to both lay down a morph point on the first picture and move its corresponding point on the second picture. Note that the red minus sign removes dots.
5. Set your first morph point on the first picture. Note that the corresponding morph point shows up on the second picture, move that second point to where it should be.
6. Do step 5 as many times as you would like -- usually the more, the better -- though this has some exceptions, particularly when your morph points don't follow some simple linear pattern for translation.
7. After your morph points are set. Go to the Morph menu in the File Menu. Select the type of Morph you want. I used One Way morph with the Mix - 1 morph algorithm.
8. Also in the Morph menu, set the Period. I used 500 frames per cycle (the more frames, the more fluid the morph).
9 . Now click on the avi icon in the toolbar on the top of the SqirlzMorph interface. Select a filename for your morph and your avi frame rate (i used 30 fps because that's what speed my video was using).
10. You've done it!

Other morphing software that I used had a much better interaction mechanism for placing, moving, and removing morph points. This is my one major criticism of SqirlzMorph.

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