The term morph has different meanings depending on the context (important term in the field 3D configurators). In the computer field it is used to refer to an image transformation by computer animation. In general, the word is used to refer to any transformation or change from one form to another.

What are Morphs?

The word morph comes from the Greek term “metamorphosis”, which means to transform. Today it is most commonly used to describe the animation techniques that allow animators to transform one form into another. Morphing refers to the gentle transformation of images on the screen. For example, a rabbit can be transformed into a dragon or simulations of machines can be rendered fluidly. It can also be used to merge two or more images into a new image.

Morphing is essentially used to add special effects to movies and animations. It is also commonly used in games and interactive user interface design.

Morphing is usually done by coupling image warping with color interpolation. The transition from a source image to the target image is seamless and the transition appears smooth during viewing. Morphing techniques are usually divided into two types, depending on how the features are specified in the images:

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  • Mesh-based methods – Features are specified using a non-uniform mesh.
  • Feature-based methods – Features are specified as line segments or as a set of points. Feature-based techniques are usually more popular.
  • Morph Target Animation is a special technique that uses skeletal animation to perform pervertex animation, shape interpolation, and shape blending.

Some of the early morphing systems are Gryphon Morph from the Macintosh, ImageMaster, MorphPlus and CineMorph.

Morphing effects have greatly improved since their early application and are more focused on creating less obvious effects that appear more realistic

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