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The term morph carries different meanings depending upon the context. In computer terms, it is used to refer to an image transformation done by computer animation. Generally, the word is used to denote any transformation or change from one shape to another.
The word morph comes from the Greek word "metamorphosis," which means to transform. Now it is most commonly used to denote the animation techniques that allow animators to change one shape into another. Morphing refers to the smooth transformation of images on screen. For instance, a rabbit can be transformed to a dragon, or simulations of machines can be shown in a smooth manner. It can also be used to blend two or more images into a new image.
Morphing is essentially used in adding special effects in motion pictures and animation. It is also widely used in games and in interactive UI designing.
Morphing is usually done by coupling image warping with color interpolation. The transition from a source image to the target image is carried out in a seamless way and the transition appears smooth while viewing. Morphing techniques are usually classified into two types based on the way the features in the images are specified:
Morph target animation is one particular technique that uses skeletal animation to perform per vertex animation, shape interpolation and blending of shapes.
Some of the early morphing systems include Gryphon Software Morph on the Macintosh, ImageMaster, MorphPlus and CineMorph.
Morphing effects have improved a lot since their early use and are more driven towards creating less obvious effects that appear more realistic.