MetaMorf. (morphing software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Rick Broida
If you've always wanted to tinker with image morphing but couldn't justify shelling out big bucks for a professional package just to satisfy your curiosity, check out MetaMorf. At $29.95, it's inexpensive, capable, and loads of fun.
Morphing, as you probably know, is a computer-based technique that performs feats of graphical magic, smoothly changing one person or object into another. Remember Terminator 2, in which the T1000 transmogrified right before your eyes? That's morphing.
MetaMorf doesn't have that kind of power, but it can do some nifty stuff. You can generate an animation of one image morphing into another; warp two identical images to create exaggerated or distorted features; produce a singleframe morph cell which can be exported for use in, say, a desktop publishing package; or create a filmstrip of morphs with each frame of the animation saved as a separate graphics file. (The most-fun application? Morph two photos of the same person, one as a child and one as an adult. Then watch the animated aging!)
This mouse-driven DOS program is as simple to operate as it is to install. The top half of the screen is divided down the middle, with the starting image on the left and the ending one on the right. The bottom half contains all morphing controls, which are intuitively arranged and easy to operate. Creating an animated morph is a snap: Load the two images (they must be in GIF or TGA format--a conversion utility is included), generate a matrix (a set of horizontal and vertical lines used to define specific morphing areas), and click on the Go button. Variables such as the speed of your computer, the number of animation frames you've predefined, and the resolution of the images dictate how long the process will take.
The result? An FLI-format animation which may be viewed using a built-in utility. The effects can be pretty neat, save for an unfortunate limitation to the FLI format--its maximum resolution is a grainy 320 x 200. If you create a morph using, say, 640 x 480 images, you'll wind up with a filmstrip morph that can't be played as an animation.
Simple yet powerful, MetaMorf is a great entry-level package for inquiring morphing minds.
Villa Crespo (708) 433-0500 $29.95
Circle Reader Service Number 440