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What Does Morph Mean?

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.


Techopedia Explains Morph

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:

  • Mesh-based methods – Features are specified with the help of a non-uniform mesh.
  • Feature-based methods – Features are specified as line segments or as a set of points. Feature-based techniques tend to be more popular.

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.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.