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Morphing pictures into video is fun, easy and free. Just ask Georgia Clobberts.

January 1, 2009

in All Articles,Photo and Video

George Clooney and Julia Roberts, sittin’ on your screen, M-O-R-P-H-I-N-G.

George Clooney and Julia Roberts, just like you've always known them

George Clooney and Julia Roberts beginning the morphing process

The result - the morphed combination of George Clooney and Julia Roberts - Georgia Clobberts


Morphing is used so often in movies, it’s become a science-fiction special-effect cliché. The hero, monster or robot stops during the middle of a chase, fight or conversation, and faces the camera. Features start to blur, stretch and warp. In just a few seconds, the face has changed from one form into another. The movie continues.

Early morphing techniques involved the use of heavy makeup applied to talented facial contortionists, like actor Lon Chaney. Using time-lapse photography, the short transition from Chaney to a hairy, toothy werewolf took a long time to design and film.

As the Information Age dawned, special effects teams realized the advantage computers brought to morphing. Specifically, why waste time and money filming a morph effect when a computer can do the work and give a better final result?

For aspiring special effects directors who want to get into the morphing biz, there’s plenty of good morphing software for your PC.

If you couldn’t care less about movie transformations, use morphing software to do a time-lapse progression of a series of pictures. For example, scan in childhood school photos. Then morph them together, and you’ll get a movie showing the child aging years in just a few seconds.

Another fun use is to merge two pictures to see the result, as we see above with George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Sure, you can always make a goofy political statement by choosing to morph a photo of any given president with the vegetable of your choice. A potentially better use is to combine pictures to get an interesting result. For example, morph together pictures of a husband and wife. The result can take the physical attributes of both, and combine them into one person. While genetics has the final say in what children look like, morphing may provide parents with a ballpark estimate.

Morphing software isn’t difficult as long as you take the time to learn the basic rules. If you’re not careful, the “ballpark estimate” of a husband and wife may indeed end up looking like a post-makeup Lon Chaney.

To blend two pictures together and make your own morphing videos, get the free “WinMorph” software.

Find two pictures from which you’d like to create a picture-to-picture video morph. From Internet copies to digital camera images, any source will do. Run WinMorph, choose “File”, “New”, then “Morph Project”. Click the Options button, and browse to save your movie. Make sure to save it as an “AVI” file. Also click the “Compression” button and select “Microsoft Video 1”. This ensures your final video is playable with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, and is in a high-quality format in case you want to export to DVD or a video editor.

The WinMorph user’s guide gives you the rest of the detail you need to know to create pretty impressive picture to picture morphs.

If you decide you need more features from commercial software, try out Morpheus Photo Morpher. Get the free trial, and pay $30 if you want to keep it. Also see the Morpheus website for some cool sample photo morphs.

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