Morphing technique is defined as “A special effect utilized in animations and motion pictures in order to change one 2D image or a 3D shape into another with a unified transition”. The technology has become advanced in animation as it is now providing an easy and quick way of animating models and objects for 3D realistic movies.
The modifier of “Morphing” is a most powerful tool available in 3D Studio Max. It is a way of creating animation in a quicker way. It allows digital designers to alter the shape of 3D models the way they want. The basic purpose of this modifier is to produce an animated object that changes its overall shape between two or more than two objects/forms. To the human eye, it seems that the single object is changing its form but in actual morphing process transforms the position of vertices from one object to another. The transformation is in relation to the object’s local coordinate system.
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Note: It must be noted that the objects that are to be morphed must have the same number of vertices in them. This can be done by cloning/copying the object and then alter its geometry. But while editing the copied object, its vertices should remain the same.
As discussed earlier, to morph an object you need two objects with the same number of vertices but varied geometry. One object is original whereas the other is copied. The original object is called “seed or base object”. The copied object or the object into which the original object morphs is called “target object”. It is noticeable here that you can morph the original object into more than one targets.
The important features of seed and target objects are as follows:
- They must be mesh, patch, or poly objects.
- They must have an equal number of vertices.
Morphing animation is applicable to the above two conditions, If these conditions do not match, you cannot apply Morph modifier.
Creating a morph involves the following steps:
- The first step in Morphing is to model the seed/base object as well as the target object to be morphed.
- Select the seed/base object.
- Set the position in the timeline where you want to morph the seed/object i-e the keyframe is selected. For this, you need to “On” the animation mode.
- Go to the Create panel –> Geometry –> Compound Objects –> Morph.
- After applying morph modifier, you need to add the target object. In Morph sub-level, add the target objects by clicking on the copied object.
- Then play the animation from the seed object till the target object, you will see the morphed animation as shown in Fig. 1.
Fig. 1: Morphing technique
There are multiple uses of Morpher modifiers.
- You can it on the character while making its facial expressions.
- The character’s talking sexes can be formed as the seed and target objects have the same number of vertices.
- The objects can also be morphed when creating abstract and graphical effects in any animation.
- Fighting sequences can also be made using Morph modifier.
Fig. 3: Morphed mushroom